All the while we have been reading about the good effects of HBOT. Now, in this article let’s go over the side effects of hyperbaric oxygen therapy that we have been noticing in our Chennai clinic and also across various clinics in the world.
Note that only 0.04% (4 in every 10,000) of people who underwent HBOT have reported adverse side effects due to the therapy. Half of them had severe ear pain and a fourth of them had claustrophobia (fear of closed rooms/enclosures).
What are the side effects of HBOT?
- Changes in vision
- Sinus Squeeze (HBOT Sinus Barotrauma)
- Claustrophobia (fear of closed rooms/enclosures)
- Ear Pain (pain in middle ear)
- Fatigue / tiredness
Changes in vision
Changes in vision during a hyperbaric session in a pressurized chamber is very common. Losing ability to see distant objects clearly or having blurred vision has been commonly reported. However, this is a very temporary stage and things become normal after the session. If you are suffering from any vision related problems, you need to let your HBOT physician know and appropriate care may be taken. Certain vision/eye related problems due to HBOT include:
- Myopia (losing ability to see distant objects clearly)
- Twitching of eyelid
- Blurry vision
- Faster developing cataracts.
With the change of pressure around you, the air passages such as nose, ears, bowels, lungs, teeth are affected. This holds good when you are going down a mountain or going uphill or while traveling in an airplane. Our body tries to adjust itself to the changing pressure and that’s the reason why we feel better or ok after sometime, unless the change in pressure comes too fast.
If you are suffering from sinus infection, congestion or have a deviated septum, you are at risk of developing sinus squeeze when the pressure around you goes up. This shows up as pain in cheeks, eyes and or forehead. If you are suffering from sinus issues, you need to let your therapist know beforehand so that you will be evaluated if you are a good to take the session or you need to wait until the infection clears up.
Some people are afraid of closed rooms or enclosures. However, many clinics now have large HBOT chambers where multiple people can be accommodated and you may have company. If you are not willing to sit inside the chamber alone or lie down in a single person glass chamber, you need to let your therapist know so that alternatives or some help can be provided for you to overcome the fear.
During a hyperbaric oxygen session, the sugar levels in the blood tend to drop. So, your therapist will advise you to have some sugar drinks before the session so that optimal sugar levels may be present in the body during the session.
If you are suffering from low blood sugar, you MUST let your therapist know or you should completely avoid undergoing HBOT sessions. Ignoring the sugar levels by you or your doctor can be life threatening. If you are not feeling comfortable inside the HBOT chamber while undergoing the therapy, you are at will to call it stop. The de-pressurizing the chamber can be done instantly or gradually to get you out depending on the situation.
Pain in middle ear
Having blocked ears when the pressure around you changes is pretty common and it can be managed by gulping/swallowing or drinking some liquid. In some people, it might not be just the block but they may feel pain inside the ear. You should let your doctor know immediately because prolonged exposure to higher pressure during the session may damage your inner ear.
Let your HBOT specialist know if:
- You have cold/sinus or recovered from cold or flu recently.
- You are suffering from ear infection
- You have ear trapped inside your ears or if you have taken head bath a while ago before undergoing the session
- You have waxy ears
Fatigue or tiredness
Some people feel highly energetic after HBOT session while others feel super tired. The fatigue is because of the fact that the mitochondria (the powerhouse of body’s cells) work harder as more oxygen is supplied. This can be expected and you should be fine after a little rest or a good sleep.
Interested in undergoing HBOT sessions in Chennai?
If you are advised to undergo HBOT sessions by your doctor and are looking for finest HBOT clinics in Chennai, you can surely call us at +91 97102 04044 for an appointment.