Otitis interna

Otitis interna

[in-tur-nuh]
Otitis interna (Internal otitis) is an inflammation of the inner ear and is usually considered synonymous with labyrinthitis.

Labyrinthitis is an inflammation of the inner ear that typically results in severe vertigo lasting for one or more days. Its cause is rarely identified, but it is thought most commonly to derive from a viral inflammation of the vestibular labyrinth (the part of the inner ear responsible for balance). Patients usually present with the sudden onset of severe whirling vertigo, nausea, and vomiting. The symptoms can be so severe and disabling that patients frequently go to the emergency room for care and require vestibular suppressants such as Valium or Meclizine in order to tolerate the vertigo. Symptoms typically subside over a few days, but may leave the patient with vague imbalance which slowly improves over weeks to months. Hearing loss rarely accompanies the vertigo in labyrinthitis. Occasionally a bacterial infection of the middle ear can spread to the inner ear and cause this disease. In this situation antibiotic treatment may be helpful.

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