Labyrinthitis - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment
Labyrinthitis is an inflammation of the labyrinth, the system of intercommunicating canals and cavities within the inner ear responsible for sensing balance. Labyrinthitis may be characterized by dizziness or feelings of motion sickness. Labyrinthitis may be accompanied by the sudden onset of a feeling of vertigo triggered by head or body movement together with feelings of nausea and malaise.
Associated symptoms include tinnitus and hearing loss. This disorder is rare, although viral labyrinthitis is often associated with upper respiratory tract infections. Bacterial labyrinthitis may develop after a middle ear infection or an infection of the lining of the brain and is a more serious condition.
Labyrinthitis may be caused by the inflammation of the labyrinth. Its most frequent symptom is vertigo, because the information that the semicircular canals send to the brain about the position of the head is affected. Labyrinthitis is usually caused by the spread of bacterial or viral infections from the head or respiratory tract into the inner ear. Labyrinthitis is usually caused by viral infection. It may be a primary infection; the result of trauma; or a complication of influenza, otitis media, or meningitis. Ototoxic drugs (particularly aminoglycosides) or toxic drug ingestion are other possible causes of labyrinthitis.
When a disease agent causes labyrinthitis, the disease agent usually reaches the inner ear by one of three routes:
The main symptom of labyrinthitis is a spinning or whirling sensation you feel although neither you nor your surroundings are moving. With labyrinthitis, the vertigo begins suddenly, without warning, and often occurs 1 to 2 weeks after you've had the flu or a cold or other viral or bacterial infection.
The other symptoms of the labyrinthitis may be included:
Labyrinthitis usually goes away on its own once the infection has healed, which normally requires several weeks.
Medications may also be used to control nausea and vomiting caused by the vertigo.
If a bacterial agent is found to be the cause, the individual is given antibiotics to clear up the infection. Antibiotics cannot cure viral infections
Individuals with labyrinthitis should rest in bed until the acute dizziness subsides. Some experts believe that recovery is aided by moving around once the most acute symptoms are no longer present. This can be difficult, however, because moving often makes symptoms worse.
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