Burning Ears and Infections In Psoriatics Are Caused by Leaking Stomach Acid

That’s right all those common health issues that go along with psoriasis like burning ears, recurrent sinus infections and mostly strep throat infections are often caused by stomach acid leaking from the stomach to the upper respiratory tract.

Stomach lining can handle the stomach acid but if the acid leaks into the esophagus, throat and Eustachian tube the irritation or disease may develop.

Think about the stomach acid as the dishwashing soap that dries the skin.

If the skin on the hand is not protected then we usually develop various rashes which are usually fungal in origin.

Soaps dissolve the oily layer on the skin and leave our skin vulnerable to pathogens. We won’t damage the skin by using the soap a few times a day but those who work with soaps or detergents all day long without the gloves will develop some rash eventually. It is always just the question how fast the skin can regenerate to be able to fight off the fungal or bacterial attack.

The same goes with stomach acid; if it gets outside the stomach – to esophagus, Eustachian tube; reach the tonsils or sinuses – it damages the protective layer of those organs and leaves them vulnerable to pathogens.

Another fact is that bacteria are much more vulnerable to pH changes than the fungi do. So if the pH on the surface of tonsils or in the sinuses is permanently changing it will greatly suppress the symbiotic bacteria colonies so fungi will spread more easily.[1]

Laryngopharyngeal reflux (Silent reflux)

In case of GERD/heartburn (Gastroesophageal reflux disease) the problem is that lower esophageal sphincter does not tighten sufficiently so the stomach acid can leak into the esophagus. Usually the only symptom of this is heartburn.

However, in case of Laryngopharyngeal reflux both of the esophageal sphincters (upper and lower) are not tighten enough so the acid can travel all the way up to the upper respiratory tract.

The symptoms of Laryngopharyngeal reflux are asthma, sinus infections, burning ears, strep throat, problems with voice (due to irritation of vocal cords).

Keep in mind that less than 50% of people with Laryngopharyngeal reflux will develop heartburn as a symptom!

It is very possible that the only symptom for a long time will be burning ears, recurrent sinus infections, strep throat infections or symptoms of asthma. Some people may go downhill with their health so much that their stomach acid production almost completely shuts down so after some time in the future they will experience none of these symptoms.

Sadly, this is often interpreted by doctor or patient as a positive outcome so both will think that the health actually improved. The truth is that having no stomach acid is a fast ticket to serious systemic diseases due to protein and mineral deficiencies as well as fungal and bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine and stomach.

esophagus_sphincter

Esophageal sphincters.
Image by: Anatomy & Physiology, Connexions Web site. 19, 2013.

All those symptoms of the Laryngopharyngeal reflux official medicine knows about but the most doctors don’t think about them the way they should.

They will treat this “asthma” with steroids even though the inflammation of the lungs is caused by leaking stomach acid. They will treat strep throat with antibiotics; 3 or even 4 times per year without any hesitation. They will treat the sinus infection also with antibacterial antibiotics even though the (famous but) little known study by Mayo Clinic in 1999 proved that chronic sinus infections are caused in very most cases by fungi.[2]

Do I actually need to mention the burning ears which may drives the children crazy?

How many doctors actually know that burning ears are a very specific indicator of problems with leaking stomach acid?

And how many parents even mention the burning ears to the doctors as a symptom?

Strep throat

My view on this health issue is that stomach acid damages the protective layer on the tonsils so it is easier for the Streptococcus bacteria to invade them.

Most doctors never look for the real cause of recurrent infections of the tonsils. Sure, they say it is probably the Streptococcus pyogenes and prescribe the antibiotics for that. However, some people have sore tonsils like 3 times or more per year so taking the antibiotics every time is stupid.

It is important to look for the real cause of infected tonsils; don’t blame the bacteria rather than that what allowed the bacteria to take over the control.

strep_throat

Strep throat.
Photo by James Heilman, MD

Sinus infections

The studies as well as people report a significant reduction in symptoms of sinus infections when taking the antacids. Even in those with history of strong medical treatment resistant (including the surgery) sinusitis.[3] Of course, I am not saying that taking the drugs which suppress the stomach acid production is good, but it proves something.

Much better option is to change the diet which greatly influences the episodes of heartburn and stomach acid leaking all the way up to the esophagus and sinuses.

Sinuses. Image by CFCF on WikiPedia.org

Sinuses.
Image by CFCF on WikiPedia.org

Burning ears and ear infections

Eustachian tube in adult person is about 3,5 cm long (1.4 inches) so even just a tiny amount of evaporated stomach acid can easily get into the ear through it. The Eustachian tube is also called Auditory tube. Its function is to protect the middle ear by equalizing pressure between the middle ear and the atmosphere.

Blausen.com staff. "Blausen gallery 2014". Wikiversity Journal of Medicine. DOI:10.15347/wjm/2014.010. ISSN 20018762. Eustachian tube protects the middle ear by equalizing pressure between the middle ear and the atmosphere

Eustachian tube protects the middle ear by equalizing pressure between the middle ear and the atmosphere.
Image source: Blausen.com staff. “Blausen gallery 2014”. Wikiversity Journal of Medicine. DOI:10.15347/wjm/2014.010. ISSN 20018762.

As you can see – Eustachian tube – links the nasopharynx to middle ear and that is why your ears may burn if the stomach acid gets into the nasopharynx. If the esophageal sphincters are not tighten the stomach acid can travel as the gas way up into the Eustachian tube and ear.

Blausen.com staff. "Blausen gallery 2014". Wikiversity Journal of Medicine. DOI:10.15347/wjm/2014.010. ISSN 20018762. The auditory tube (Eustachian tube) entrance is directly connected to throat and esophagus so if you can feel the heartburn then the same acid can get into the auditory tube (Eustachian tube) if the upper esophageal sphincter is loose.

The auditory tube (Eustachian tube) entrance is directly connected to throat and esophagus so if you can feel the heartburn then the same acid can get into the auditory tube (Eustachian tube) if the upper esophageal sphincter is loose.
Image by: Blausen.com staff. “Blausen gallery 2014”. Wikiversity Journal of Medicine. DOI:10.15347/wjm/2014.010. ISSN 20018762.

Burning ears is one of the most underrated symptoms of the health problem ever.

Also recurring ear infections are in my opinion caused by leaking stomach acid.

Usually if someone says “my ears are burning” the others just reply: somebody is mentioning you or somebody talks about you.

Who would have think that burning ears are actually a major symptom of a health problem which can lead to many diseases?

Constipation Is The Cause of Acid Reflux

It does not matter if you have or don’t have psoriasis – the common cause of acid reflux and usually morning nausea – is constipation combined with bacterial fermentation in the small intestine.

I know some of you psoriatics say “I am never constipated” or “I have acid reflux without constipation”.

Technically, you may be right but I use the term constipation in a more general way. You should not consider to be constipated only when you didn’t use a toilet in 3 or more days.

You can be constipated in the morning (and this is very common yet overlooked cause of acid reflux and morning nausea) immediately after you wake-up. And this kind of constipation is not due to inability to empty your colon but due to sleep when most people don’t wake-up from the sleep in the middle of the night just to take a poop. And often they have impaired the intestinal motility (Migrating motor complex) so the food stays and ferments in the small intestine for a long time.

Now let me explain to you why you are often surprised by acid reflux and nausea in the morning.

Low bile flow and constipation

If you have bad digestion or diet or both – and the chances are you have at least one of those since you landed on this blog post – the undigested polysaccharides (starches, cellulose) and protein are left for bacterial fermentation. Sure, there is also a yeast and fungal fermentation but just to keep it easier to understand for those who blame SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth) for everything, we will be talking mostly about SIBO in this blog post.

SIBO pathophysiology and its health consequences.
Image By:
Allison Siebecker, AHS13 Allison Siebecker — Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth

When there is a low bile flow and generally weak production of digestive enzymes including the disaccharidases which are produced by cells of the small intestine then bacteria can feed and grow on undigested food you eat.

When bacteria ferment the food you eat they produce decent amounts of gasses like methane, hydrogen and carbon dioxide.

And where that gasses can go if not out of the body?

Bad breath is actually gas produced by bacterial fermentation

Even though the most of you think that fart is the only way how those gasses leave the body there are two possible ways.

The another way for the gas to leave your body is from the small intestine going up there through the stomach, esophagus and mouth.

And this way is way easier because it is about 50 cm (20 inches) from the mouth to small intestine. So, when bacteria (which should not be there in healthy person) in the beginning of the small intestine produce a lot of gas then it is easier for it to be released via mouth rather then “keep traveling” about 3 – 5 meters into colon and then another 5 feet (1,5 meters) just to leave the body as fart (flatulence).

Simple as that!

But the easier “small intestine to mouth” escape way has its consequences and will leave you with:

  • acid reflux as the gas pressing on esophageal sphincter allows the stomach acid leak into the esophagus
  • bad breath as some of the gasses produced by bacteria smell
  • you may feel nausea as the chemoreceptors in the stomach and small intestine are sensitive to toxins and it does not matter if they are in gaseous form [5]

The length of the small intestine and colon

  • Duodenum length: 25 – 35 cm (1 foot)
  • Jejunum length: 2,5 meters (8 feet)
  • Ileum length: 2-4m (6 – 13 feet)
  • Colon length: 1,5 m (5 feet)
Duodenum, Jejunum, Ileum and psoriasis

Image By: Blausen.com staff (2014). “Medical gallery of Blausen Medical 2014”. WikiJournal of Medicine 1 (2). DOI:10.15347/wjm/2014.010. ISSN 2002-4436.

Hydrogen sulfide SIBO test and bad breath

There is a lot of people suffering from SIBO but when they had a hydrogen breath test they were tested negative.

Why?

Because hydrogen is not the only gas produced by intestinal bacteria.

“Sulphur-containing gases are the major, but not the only, malodorous components of human flatus.”[7]

Yes, it is mostly the sulfur-containing gases which make the fart smell so bad.

And if those gasses leave the body through the mouth then your breath smells really bad.

Hydrogen sulfide might be the cause why you feel nauseous in the morning – if it is produced in the small intestine and escapes through your stomach you may feel it really bad.

Hydrogen sulfide breath test might be another test for SIBO as it brings positive diagnosis where hydrogen breath test failed.[4]

Here you can find a lot of case reports of hydrogen sulfide toxicity.

Even though sulfur-containing gases produced in our bodies are probably the ones which smell the worst the problems may be caused by non-smelly gasses alone like methane.


Anaerobic fermentation of the undigested polysaccharide fraction of carbohydrates produces hydrogen in the intestine which is the substrate for methane production by intestinal methanogens. Hydrogen and methane are excreted in the flatus and in breath giving the opportunity to indirectly measure their production using breath testing. Although methane is detected in 30%-50% of the healthy adult population worldwide, its production has been epidemiologically and clinically associated with constipation related diseases, like constipation predominant irritable bowel syndrome and chronic constipation. While a causative relation is not proven yet, there is strong evidence from animal studies that methane delays intestinal transit, possibly acting as a neuromuscular transmitter. This evidence is further supported by the universal finding that methane production (measured by breath test) is associated with delayed transit time in clinical studies. There is also preliminary evidence that antibiotic reduction of methanogens (as evidenced by reduced methane production) predicts the clinical response in terms of symptomatic improvement in patients with constipation predominant irritable bowel syndrome.
” [6]

SIBO is not the CAUSE it is the RESULT of the CAUSE!

Even though there may be a lot of causes of SIBO one of the most common would be emotional stress. And if you want to go the technical road just check the Autonomic Nervous System function, adrenergic system, acetylcholine and cholinergic, serotonergic and dopaminergic pathways as mentioned on my blog many times.

One of the biggest problems with stress is that it impairs the digestion (and production of stomach acid, pancreatic enzymes and mostly bile flow).

Add to this a huge negative effect on MMC (Migrating Motor Complex) and your body may end up as mess.

Here is a short description of MMC from Wikipedia:


Migrating motor complexes (or migrating myoelectric complex or migratory motor complex or migratory myoelectric complex or MMC) are waves of electrical activity that sweep through the intestines in a regular cycle during fasting. These motor complexes trigger peristaltic waves, which facilitate transportation of indigestible substances such as bone, fiber, and foreign bodies from the stomach, through the small intestine, past the ileocecal sphincter, and into the colon. The MMC occurs every 45–180 minutes during the interdigestive phase (i.e., between meals) and is responsible for the rumbling experienced when hungry. It also serves to transport bacteria from the small intestine to the large intestine and to inhibit the migration of colonic bacteria into the terminal ileum.

You have probably never thinking about what causes those rumbling sounds you can hear when hungry. Now you know they are caused by Migrating Motor Complex and many people with chronic health problems would attest that those sounds somewhat diminished over time as their health deteriorated.

You want to hear those sounds when you are hungry because that’s the way it should be!

Stress is a common cause of SIBO

Stress impairs the MMC but this is the topic that would need a dedicated blog post so I won’t tell you a lot about it here.

Here is a video of Dr. Mark Pimentel who studied IBS, digestive tract and SIBO for decades. Just don’t be discouraged by the title of that video. It does not matter if you have a diagnosis called “IBS” or not, all that matters is if you have some chronic inflammatory health problem. Most of them are related to endotoxins, inflammation and SIBO.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome with Dr. Mark Pimentel – YouTube

If you would rather read about the SIBO you can check the article by Allison Siebecker on TownsendLetter.com and her presentation on SlideShare.net.

References:

1) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20445636
2) http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/09/990910080344.htm
3) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16615600

4) Banik GD, De A, Som S, Jana S, Daschakraborty SB, Chaudhuri S, Pradhan M. Hydrogen sulphide in exhaled breath: a potential biomarker for small intestinal bacterial overgrowth in IBS. J Breath Res. 2016 May 10;10(2):026010.

5) Lang IM. Noxious stimulation of emesis. Dig Dis Sci. 1999 Aug;44(8 Suppl):58S-63S.

6) Konstantinos Triantafyllou, Christopher Chang, and Mark Pimentel. Methanogens, Methane and Gastrointestinal Motility. J Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2014 Jan; 20(1): 31–40.

7) Suarez FL, Springfield J, Levitt MD. Identification of gases responsible for the odour of human flatus and evaluation of a device purported to reduce this odour. Gut 1998;43:100-104.

2 Responses

  1. NADA says:

    Great article ! I have all that symptom. But what is the solution!!!
    How to get rid of medicine ?

    • John says:

      How to get rid of antacid drugs?

      I won’t give you any medical advice because I am not a doctor.

      But if I had acid reflux I would:
      – eat smaller portions of meals and chew the food properly.
      – did not combine starches with protein (inappropriate food combinations are EXTREMELY bad for digestive tract). Eating meat with rice or potatoes is very bad for digestion. Neither protein (meat) nor starch (rice or potatoes) will be properly digested. If you combine protein with starches then food sits in the stomach for a long time and ferments (especially when there is low stomach acid production).
      – work on supporting the bile flow especially if I had constipation which is often accompanied by acid reflux.

      Then if that wasn’t enough I would try Betaine HCL. digestive enzymes and Ox bile or Artichoke Leaf extract supplement.

      3 capsules of Betaine HCL per meal should be enough – https://www.psoriasisdietplan.com/2015/06/betaine-hcl-works-ph-meter-photo-proof/

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