Ask the Doctor

Q I recently had a head cold with blocked sinuses which took a while to go away.

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Throughout this my left ear appeared blocked and I couldn't hear, but since I have become well again my left ear hasn't returned to normal, could this be an infection?

A The Eustachian tube joins the spaces at the back of the nose and upper part of throat to the middle the ear. This tube allows equalization of pressure between the ear and the atmosphere. It also allows drainage of mucus from the middle ear.

Sometimes after a cold, this tube – or the area around it – can become temporarily swollen.

This can prevent it from doing its job of draining mucus from the ear or making sure the pressure inside the ear is normal.

This can lead to a sensation of fullness in the ear with or without a reduction in hearing/feeling deaf.

The fact that you have not described pain in the left ear or an ongoing temperature makes an ear infection unlikely.

WHAT IS...

EHLERS-DANLOS SYNDROME?

Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) is a group of inherited conditions that affect collagen proteins in the body.

Typical features are stretchy skin, loose joints and fragile body tissues.

Collagen is a building block that strengthens various body tissues.

It is found in tendons, ligaments, cartilage, skin, bone, blood vessels, the gut and the spine.

EDS is caused by alterations in certain genes, which make collagen weaker. Sometimes the amount of collagen in the body is reduced.

If you have been diagnosed with EDS, you may find you need to conserve your energy and pace your activities.

Q I have sore nipples. I'm not pregnant, as I am on the implant contraceptive, so I do not have a period.

Any thoughts as to what it could be?

AYou have not said which implant you are using – however all of these implants contain the hormone progesterone.

Breast discomfort is a known side effect of this medication.

This is a very effective method of contraception and the possibility of pregnancy is extremely low.

But if the symptoms have only recently started after being on the implant for a long time then you should have a pregnancy test, just to make sure.

You have stated you are not pregnant so I suspect you have already done this but if not, its best to get one done to make sure.

It is not clear how long your current implant has been in.

If this is a new symptom and it has been in for some time without any problems then you should see your GP for an examination.

Health

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