Doctors Concede, Milk Can Cause Persistent Ear, Nose, and Throat Problems


Ear Nose & Throat Issues linked to dairy consumptionAlisa Fleming ~ For years I’ve heard the stories; mothers whose children magically get better on a milk-free diet, butting heads with pediatricians who say that it has nothing to do with dairy. Sadly, many old-school doctors are still convinced that milk allergies and sensitivities are “very rare.” But fortunately, medical reports continue to emerge that will hopefully continue to penetrate useful knowledge into the mainstream physician community. Last week, another bit of research on this topic was shared at the September 2011 Annual Meeting & OTO EXPO.

Held in San Francisco, this was “the world’s largest gathering of otolaryngologists,” with over 6000 medical experts in attendance. In laymen’s terms, it was an enormous conference of ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialists, from general practitioners to surgeons. And one of the biggest discoveries at this event was that yes, persistent ear, nose, and throat issues in babies and toddlers can definitely be related to food allergies, particularly cow’s milk protein … 

Dr Angela Paddack from the University Of Arkansas School Of Medicine in Little Rock reported on the study conducted by her research team. They reviewed 101 little ones who had been seen in gastroenterology and otolaryngology clinics, and who had gastrointestinal symptoms including diarrhea, vomiting, reflux, and constipation. When the children were put on a diet that eliminated all cow's milk products, 91% of them improved. But they also found that 60% of the children with ENT disease (mostly oropharyngeal dysphagia and persistent upper airway congestion) improved with an elimination diet.

Dr. Paddack explains, "Allergy to cow's milk can cause the same reaction in the upper airway as it does in the gut," she added. "These kids get a chronic inflammatory response. One of the main symptoms our patients had was chronic congestion, which often required the need for air tubes … Our main point basically is to tell ENTs that when they have a kid who has these symptoms that do not improve with traditional management, they should think of cow's milk protein allergy as a possible cause."

Thank you Dr. Paddack. To note, the research was only conducted on children. Hopefully more research will also be done on this topic for adults.

Source: Reuters, "Cows milk may cause ENT problems"


Article by Alisa Fleming, founder of and author of Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living. Alisa is also a freelance writer for several publications, with an emphasis on creating recipes for various types of special diets.


About Author

Alisa is the founder of, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.


  1. Marie Lemonier on

    Have you heard of adults experiencing clogged ears to the point of having hearing difficulty from dairy? Thank you.

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