Inner ear infection means the inflammation of a structure in the inner ear called a labyrinth. This condition causes nausea and dizziness.
Diagnosis of inner ear infection
The responsible specialist is the ear, nose and throat specialist.
As a rule, an examination of the doctor is sufficient to diagnose the inner ear infection.
Nevertheless, the doctor may prescribe various imaging tests to rule out other diseases that can cause balance problems and dizziness:
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) – in particular to rule out a tumor in the brain or middle ear and multiple sclerosis (Cnyrim CD, Newman-Toker D, Karch C, Brandt T, Strupp M. – J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry). If multiple sclerosis manifests itself only by dizziness, it is impossible to distinguish it from labyrinthitis without instrumental examination.
- Electronystagmography (ENG) – this examination registers eye movements.
- Audiometric examination to evaluate hearing loss.
According to Michael Strupp (Department of Neurology, University of Munich, Munich, Germany), other diseases must be excluded to confirm the diagnosis, including:
Problems of the vestibular apparatus and cranial nerves
- Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, which is caused by movement and causes dizziness attacks lasting a few minutes.
- Meniere’s disease; this disorder causes dizziness that lasts for several hours (Greco A, Gallo A, Fusconi M, Marinelli C, Macri GF, de Vincentiis M.) as well as tinnitus (whistling in the ear), feeling of a full ear, hearing loss and excessive sweating.
- migraine dizziness; in this case, dizziness occurs before the migraine makes itself felt.
Problems of the blood circulation and nervous system
- Lesions of the cervical artery
- TIA (transient ischemic attack)
- Bleeding in the labyrinth
- Brain haemorrhage
- Multiple sclerosis
Problems of the musculoskeletal system
- Cervical dizziness
- Psychosomatic dizziness
Treatment of inner ear infection
A patient with acute labyrinthitis often cannot stand upright and visits the on-call doctor to learn the cause of the problem.
If dizziness, pseudodizziness and loss of balance are pronounced, the doctor may prescribe medications such as:
(diazepam) decrease activity within the central nervous system. This means that the brain perceives fewer abnormal signals coming from the vestibular system.
Prolonged use of benzodiazepines is not recommended as they cause problems in the central nervous system.
An antiemetic is prescribed if nausea and vomiting occur.
Prochlorperazine (Compazine) 5 mg as a tablet is an antiemetic drug used to treat dizziness and spinning vertigo.
Most people tolerate prochlorperazine and side effects are rare, but these agents can cause:
- Tremor (tremors)
- Involuntary body movements
- Involuntary facial movements
It is always recommended to read the package leaflet for the full list of side effects.
Metoclopramide (Paspertin) is a drug from the family of dopamine antagonists and is prescribed for nausea and vomiting.
This medication can also be taken during pregnancy.
Another drug for dizziness is betahistine (betavert and vasomotal).
Corticosteroids are prescribed if symptoms worsen. These agents are very strong anti-inflammatories.
Side effects of corticosteroids include:
- Increase in appetite
- Weight gain
- Fluid retention
If the labyrinthitis is caused by a bacterial infection, the doctor prescribes an antibiotic.
These drugs are available on the market as tablets (oral antibiotics) or injections (intravenous antibiotics).
Vestibular rehabilitation for inner ear infection
Vestibular rehabilitation therapy (VRT) is an effective treatment for people with chronic labyrinthitis. VRT attempts to “rebalance” the brain and nervous system and compensate for “interference” caused by abnormal signals from the vestibular system.
VRT runs under the supervision of a physiotherapist and consists of a series of exercises aimed at:
- coordinate the movement of the hand and eye,
- ignoring dizziness,
- improve balance and walking,
- improve muscle strength.
Vestibular rehabilitation should be started when the patient no longer suffers from nausea and vomiting.
Natural remedies for inner ear infection
The following actions reduce dizziness:
- Be quiet
- Avoid rapid movements
- Avoid position changes
- Start activities slowly
- Use walking stick
- Avoid dazzling light
- Avoiding TV and reading
- Avoid driving
In the week after recovery, one should refrain from the following activities:
- Working with heavy machinery
Sudden dizziness during these activities can be dangerous.
Diet and nutrition for inner ear infection
A healthy diet is the best home remedy for:
- strengthening the immune system,
- reduction of high blood pressure,
- Promoting the correct functioning of bodily functions.
According to natural medicine, inner ear infection and dizziness can be cured by removing certain foods from the menu.
According to the blood group diet, it is necessary to refrain from:
- milk and dairy products,
- gluten-containing wheat and cereals (pasta, bread, pizza, biscuits, etc.).
Also, there are foods that can cause symptoms in people of a certain blood type, while they are harmless to others.
According to the hygienism of Shelton, the cause of symptoms is an unnatural diet and an excess of proteins; the ideal diet should be vegan, with a majority of raw foods.
Natural medicine and conventional medicine agree that the following foods should be avoided:
- sweet cream dishes
- Milk chocolate
How long does an inner ear infection last? Long-term prognosis
According to a study by C W Cooper, Department of Community Medicine, University of Sydney, Australia, the inner ear infection lasts 2 days to 6 weeks in most cases.
According to a study by Matsuo T, Sekitani T. Vestibular neuronitis: neurotological findings and progress, 15% of patients still experience symptoms after one year.
Usually, the times for a complete cure take a few months.
If symptoms do not improve after many months, the doctor will order other tests to rule out neurological diseases.
As a rule, patients suffer only a single episode of labyrinthitis; rarely, a recurrence occurs or the disease becomes chronic.
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