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As an integrative pediatrician, I have seen, time and time again, ear infections that resolved without antibiotics. An integrative approach is extremely effective, especially when breaking the cycle of recurrent ear infections.

Upward of 65 percent of ear infections will heal on their own, without the aid of an c. It is safe to watch and wait in certain scenarios depending upon the age of the child, their overall health status, the structure of their ear anatomy, and their past medical history (determined during the examination).

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) calls this the “watch-and-wait approach.” Here is a link to the full AAP guidelines.

Hear Me Out

One of my sweet little patients was in for a visit recently. I have been seeing him because of behavioral issues, anxiety, meltdowns, and eczema. Together with his mom, we explored his story in the video below:


With this young boy, we made nutritional changes and added supplements to decrease his overall body inflammation, which also helps to decrease the inflammation in his brain. This decrease of inflammation in his body and brain creates the dramatic and lasting improvements for things like behavior, anxiety, meltdowns, eczema, and recurrent infections.

Specifically, we removed dairy from his diet, added a probiotic and omega-3 fats in the form of fish oil, and we also added some other vitamins and minerals needed based upon lab work. The improvements he made shifted the daily battle to go to school into a much more harmonious routine.

During  this particular visit, he also happened to have an ear infection but was not experiencing any ear pain or other symptoms.

Since he is generally healthy and is not an infant, I felt it was  safe to watch his ear infection to see if it would go away on its own. We continued to do all of the good integrative things we had already implemented, including his food and supplements but I also asked mom to take him to get craniosacral therapy (CST). This is a form of bodywork that helps to align the bones of the head, spinal column and sacrum.

I have clinically found CST to be very helpful over the years in my patients with things like recurrent ear infections, torticollis, constipation, abdominal pain, and sleep issues.

This young fella came back five days later so I could re-check his ear, and his eardrum looked perfect.

It resolved without the use of antibiotics and the rest of his issues improved significantly with the integrative approach.

I have seen countless children with recurrent ear infections that resolve with the integrative medicine principles of removing inflammatory foods,  and addressing their anatomy with craniosacral therapy.

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Healing Ear Infections Naturally At All Ages

Recently I saw a 2 ½ year old toddler whose ear infections began just before he was around 20 months old. He’s been on several rounds of antibiotics and had stagnant fluid in his ears when he came to see me. He had already been to an ENT (Ear, Nose & Throat Doctor) who confirmed the fluid had been present for at least six weeks. If this fluid did not clear up soon, it was recommended that parents have ear tubes placed in his ears in order to drain this fluid and prevent further fluid buildup.

In young children, we don’t want them to have persistent fluid in their middle ear like that because it can impact their hearing and balance.

With this young boy, we did a very similar approach to the boy in the video. We removed dairy from his diet, decreased packaged, processed foods, decreased refined sugar and added in supplements to begin healing his gut. I also sent them to see the craniosacral therapist to help with the integrity of his spinal alignment.

He came back for a re-check 3 ½ weeks later and the fluid was gone! We were able to avoid ear tube surgery in this toddler which also saves him a trip under general anesthesia!


If you would like to learn more about Dr. Kilbane’s approach for your child and family, she has an online course called 7 STEPS TO HEALTHY KIDS HAPPY MOMS™ and has created a special discount for the HoneyColony Community. Coupon Code: HONEYCOLONY

Course link: 7 Steps To Healthy Kids Happy

Sheila Kilbane, M.DSheila Kilbane, M.D. is a board certified pediatrician in the U.S. who has also trained in integrative medicine with Andrew Weil, M.D. She uses traditional and integrative medicine to help families find the root cause of their child’s illness. In addition to seeing individual patients in her unique clinic in Charlotte, North Carolina, she also gives educational lectures to parents and health care professionals. She’s the author of Healthy Kids, Happy Moms – A Step-by-Step Guide to Improving Many Common Childhood Illnesses.

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