Labyrinthitis

General Illness Information

Medical Term:
Labyrinthitis

Common Name: None Specified

Causes: Inflammation of the semicircular canals in the inner ear. These are fluid-filled chambers that sense and help maintain balance. May be caused by viruses, bacteria or by trauma to the region.

Prevention: Obtain prompt medical treatment for ear infections.

Signs & Symptoms

  • Extreme dizziness especially with head movement that begins gradually and peaks in 48 hours
  • Involuntary eye movement (Nystagmus).
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Loss of balance, especially falling toward the affected side.
  • Temporary hearing loss
  • Ringing in the ear (tinnitus).

Risk Factors

  • Recent viral illness, especially respiratory infection.
  • Spread of a chronic middle-ear infection.
  • Ingestion of toxic drugs.

Diagnosis & Treatment

Diagnostic tests may include hearing studies, culture of any purulent drainage; other studies as needed to determine any underlying disorder.

General Measures:

  • Treatment of any underlying disorder.
  • Treatment of symptoms (rest, medication).
  • If indicated, surgical removal of cholesteatoma (an infected collection of debris in the middle ear) and drainage of infected areas may be necessary if conservative measures fail.

Medications:

  • Anti-nausea medications may be prescribed (oral or suppositories).
  • Tranquilizers to reduce dizziness (rare).
  • Diuretics to decrease fluid accumulation in the inner ear.
  • Antibiotics if bacterial infection present.
  • Antihistamines to relieve symptoms.

Activity:

Keep the head as still as possible. Rest in bed until dizziness subsides. Then resume your normal activities gradually. Avoid hazardous activities, such as driving, climbing or working around dangerous machinery, until a few days to one week after symptoms disappear.

Diet:

No special diet.

Possible Complications :

  • For viral labyrinthitis, none known. This is a self-limiting condition.
  • For labyrinthitis caused by bacterial infection, spread to meninges can occur, causing meningitis.

Prognosis

If there are no complications, recovery either spontaneous or with treatment in 1 to 6 weeks.

Other

‘Nothing Specified’.

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