Labyrinthitis: causes, symptoms and treatment of inflammatory disease

Labyrinth or internal otitis is an inflammation of the structures of the inner ear that results from infection or is a consequence of trauma. The share of labyrinthitis accounts for only 3-5% of all cases of otitis, but the disease requires immediate treatment. The pathological process can develop with the formation of pus in the inner ear.

The pathogenesis of

The inner ear of a person is represented in the form of a bone labyrinth, which is filled with a viscous liquid called endolymph. The constituent parts of the labyrinth are the snail, the vestibule and the semicircular canals. Inside the cochlea there are cells of the auditory analyzer, they perceive sounds. The vestibular analyzer is located in the vestibule and semicircular tubules, it is responsible for the equilibrium.

Causes of

Since the bone labyrinth is located in the inner ear, its infection is more likely when inflammation spreads from other foci of infections. The most common cause of labyrinthitis is otitis media.

Other causes of illness:

  • influenza;
  • meningitis;
  • tuberculosis;
  • measles and scarlet fever;
  • rickettsiosis;
  • mumps epidemic;
  • herpes zoster;
  • herpes simplex;
  • syphilis;
  • wounds of bone maze with sharp objects;
  • traumatizing the eardrum with a foreign object;
  • craniocerebral trauma in the parietal and temporal areas.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

Labyrinthitis has a pronounced clinical picture, while its symptoms are quite typical, they are difficult to confuse with signs of other diseases.

Symptoms of labyrinthitis:

  • severe dizziness with bouts of nausea and vomiting;
  • noise in the affected ear;
  • hearing loss;
  • imbalance
  • nystagmus( involuntary very rapid eye movement);
  • increase in body temperature( with purulent labyrinthitis).

Vertigo is the main symptom of pathology. Most often the patient has systemic dizziness, in which it seems that the objects move around the patient or the person rotates himself. Less often dizziness of non-systemic type occurs, along with it there is a feeling of falling and instability.

If symptoms are found, you should immediately consult a doctor for diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Diagnosis of the disease includes the following activities:

  • collection and analysis of anamnesis - the doctor is interested in the patient's complaints, the presence of infections, craniocereberal trauma;
  • otoscopic examination - instrumental examination of the external passage and tympanic membrane;
  • audiometry - its carrying out is necessary for measurement of acuity of hearing, and also for definition of sensitivity to sound waves;
  • vestibulometry is a set of tests that can detect abnormalities from the vestibular apparatus;
  • Electronystagmography - eye movement analysis, allows to determine the cause of dizziness;
  • computed tomography - allows you to get a visual picture of the state of the labyrinth, for this purpose can use the radiography of the temporal bone.

Types of labyrinthite

Classification of labyrinthitis by type of inflammation:

  • viral;
  • bacterial;
  • fungal.

Disease distribution by prevalence of pathology:

  • is limited( localized in a specific location);
  • common( diffuse).

Depending on how the infection got into the inner ear, distinguish:

  • tympanogenous( transition of infection from the middle ear);
  • is meningogenic( from the membranes of the brain of the head);
  • is hematogenous( via blood);
  • traumatic( the infection was brought from the external environment as a result of damage to the inner ear).

For pathomorphological features:

  • purulent;
  • serous;
  • necrotic.

The tympanogenous limited labyrinthine of the serous type accounts for a greater percentage of cases, which is a complication of otitis media in acute or chronic .In rare cases, a traumatic pathology is diagnosed, extremely rarely - hematogenous and meningogenic.


In the flow phase, the labyrinthite can be acute or chronic. Chronic labyrinthitis is much harder to cure.


The acute phase of the disease is characterized by a sudden appearance of symptoms - dizziness, nausea, hearing problems.

If not treated properly, the signs of labyrinthitis will disappear after two to three weeks, but this does not mean that the disease will go away, it will go to a chronic stage.

That's why it's so important to turn to a doctor in time and cure inflammation.


The protracted process develops slowly, periods of calm alternate with exacerbations. To a greater extent, the purulent type of illness is predisposed to the transition to a chronic stage.

How to treat

Labyrinthitis is medically treated, but in severe cases, patients are prescribed a surgical procedure. In no case can you do self-medication, with the wrong therapy may develop serious complications.


Patients are prescribed antibacterial drugs for the destruction of the pathogen and the removal of a foci of infection.

Only antibiotic medicines can eliminate the cause of the disease. To eliminate the infection of the inner ear penicillins and macrolides are used.

Antibiotics for Labyrinthitis:

  • Amoxicillin - destroys a bacterial component after it is attached to its cell wall. Suppresses reproduction and growth of most microorganisms.
  • Piperacillin also has a broad spectrum of action, blocks the components of the bacterial wall, can stop bacterial enzymes.
  • Oxacillin - the drug is active against streptococci and staphylococci, the action is to block the cell wall component.
  • Erythromycin is a drug from the macrolide group, but its action is similar to that of penicillins. It breaks down the formation of protein bonds, thereby blocking the growth of pathogenic bacteria.
  • Clarithromycin - does not allow microorganisms to synthesize proteins, is active against intracellular and extracellular pathogens.

In combination with antibiotic therapy, patients are prescribed histamine preparations - Betagistin, Bellataminal, Alfacer. Such medicines improve the blood supply in the inner ear and reduce the excitation of the vestibular nuclei, eliminating vestibular symptoms. Histamine drugs promote rapid recovery.

For the removal of the inflammatory process use Diclofenac, Diclouran, Naklofen. These anti-inflammatory drugs also have an analgesic and antipyretic effect.

Another component of medication therapy - drugs that block histamine receptors, are Bonin, Dramina, Dedalon. They have antiemetic effect, reduce dizziness.

Surgical operation

Surgical intervention is advisable for serous or purulent otitis, which have developed as a result of acute purulent otitis media or exacerbation of the chronic stage. In this case, the patient is prescribed an anthromastoidotomy or a sanitizing operation.

What can and can not be done

With labyrinthite you can wash yourself, but very carefully, water and soap funds should not get into your ears. You can not take hot baths, visit the pool, baths and saunas. Be sure to dress on the weather, close your ears.

What is a labyrinth and how to treat it in an accessible form will tell the doctor:


Prevention is the timely treatment of infectious diseases, especially otitis media. It should be very carefully cleaned the ears, so as not to injure the inner ear and not to infect it.

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