Clinical picture, diagnosis & treatment
Definition: Labyrinthitis is an inner ear disorder. It occurs when a canal in the inner ear known as the Labyrinth becomes inflamed. The labyrinth is the innermost part of the ear and is made up of the cochlea and the vestibular system. The cochlea is a spiral-shaped cavity that plays a central role in sound interactions between your ear and your brain. The vestibular system is made up of channels that are filled with fluid. These channels are vital in keeping your sense of balance. Your doctor may also describe the problem as vestibular neuritis, which is a similar syndrome but with additional hearing symptoms. However, in both cases, treatment options are the same.
What is the treatment?
In most cases, labyrinthitis will resolve itself with the right amount of fluid intake, rest, and medication to combat the more severe symptoms. These may include antihistamines, antiemetics, and sedatives that can help control the nausea and vomiting brought about by vertigo. However, these may prolong the length of time it takes for the vertigo to pass completely, which is why it is recommended to use such methods only in extreme cases of the symptom.
Direct medication for labyrinthitis treatment is rarely required. However, if your labyrinthitis is the result of a bacterial infection, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics as a treatment. He or she may also recommend a base level of activity during your recuperation, such as simple balancing exercises.
In very rare cases, symptoms may take several months or even years to go away. These unique instances usually need a special type of treatment known as vestibular rehabilitation therapy. You should always contact your doctor if your symptoms have not gotten better after three weeks.
Labyrinthitis or vestibular neuritis affects an estimated 35 million people every year. It affects both adults and children; however, the majority of cases are concentrated to ages between 40-50 years. Viral labyrinthitis is by far the most common version of the problem. While the symptoms of labyrinthitis can be very worrying during their initial onset, it is best to keep a calm attitude and seek medical advice if symptoms do not get better quickly. Also, while the first stages can make it difficult to think clearly, it is recommended that you keep track of the timing of the vertigo and the triggers, as this can aid your doctor greatly in making the correct diagnosis.