Symptoms of mastoiditis include ear drainage, fever, pain, irritability and lethargy, according to WebMD. Other symptoms include swelling, tenderness and redness of the ear lobe and behind the ear.
Mastoiditis is a bacterial infection that occurs within the mastoid bone, a sponge-like bone with air sacs that is located directly behind the ear, explains Healthline. When it becomes infected, most commonly from an inner ear infection, bacteria invade the air pockets of the bone, resulting in a bacterial infection that can cause bone disintegration.
Doctors diagnose the condition by looking inside the ears to look for evidence of an infection and evaluate overall ear function, notes Healthline. If mastoiditis is suspected, the doctor may order a blood test, such as a white blood cell count; a CT scan, MRI, or X-ray of the skull and ear; or a spinal tap to determine if the spinal column is infected.
Treatment of mastoiditis depends on the severity and scope of the infection. It is most commonly treated with antibiotics and eardrops, explains WebMD. In more advanced cases, the patient may need to be hospitalized and treated with an IV antibiotic. The most severe cases may require surgery to drain the infection by removing part of the mastoid bone.