Cholesteatomas are an accumulation of keratin; they are sometimes termed a ‘tumour’, but are not of the cancerous variety.

Cholesteatoma can occur when there has been an acute episode of otitis media resulting in perforation of the ear drum. Instead of healing normally the skin over the outer surface of the ear drum grows through the perforation and into the middle ear.

Once these membranes have become established in the middle ear they then can start to desquamate and accumulate, resulting in the accumulated skin cells that form a Cholesteatoma.  The desquamated epithelium can then continue to accumulate in ever-enlarging concentric layers and can eventually destroy the adjacent bones of hearing, causing hearing loss, dizziness and at times paralysis of the facial muscles.

Cholesteatoma can also occur congenitally or because of long-standing improper functioning of the Eustachian tube.

The medical treatment is usually surgery combined with antibiotics used both orally and externally into the ear to eliminate any further infection.

If removed surgically it is possible for them to re-grow if any tiny fragments are
left behind after the original surgery.

To help prevent Cholesteatomas occurring or re-occurring it is of the utmost importance to ensure that the Eustachian tubes are kept clear. This means watching for any intolerance to dairy proteins which can cause an excessive mucus build-up and avoiding colds, flus and allergies.
See page on ‘Glue ear’.

Dairy protein intolerance can be treated by using food enzymes with every meal as well as avoiding the excessive intake of cheeses, ice-cream etc.
See page on ‘Enzymes – facts’.

To avoid colds/flus the immune system must be kept strong and the mineral
intake adequate.
See page on ‘Throat infections’.

Allergies can be treated with use of specific herbs and also with the use of
the flavonoid Quercetin, which can have a anti-histamine type action.

In small children, rubbing Vicks or a similar mild heating balm around and below the ears can help improve drainage of the Eustachian tubes. This is very useful if you are unsure of  the condition of the Eustachian tube which can be difficult even for a GP or nurse to evaluate in tiny children.

Onion poultices can also be extremely effective.
See page on ‘Onion Poultices’.

Homeobotanical  remedies are also useful in this instance.