How to Treat Mastoiditis?

  • January 29, 2024
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How to Treat Mastoiditis?

What is Mastoiditis?

Mastoiditis, a bacterial infection of the mastoid bone behind the ear, often results from untreated middle ear infections, particularly those involving the Eustachian tube. The mastoid bone's air cells are prone to infection and pus buildup, leading to mastoiditis. Historically, mastoiditis posed a significant risk to young children, causing mortality. However, advancements in vaccinations and antibiotics have made mastoiditis relatively rare. Nonetheless, individuals with untreated middle ear infections remain susceptible. Antibiotics are the primary treatment for mastoiditis, administered by healthcare providers. In severe cases, surgical intervention may be required for effective infection management.

Why Does Mastoiditis Occur?

Mastoiditis typically occurs when a middle ear infection, often caused by bacteria like Streptococcus pneumoniae or Staphylococcus aureus, spreads to the mastoid bone. The Eustachian tube, responsible for equalizing pressure in the middle ear, can become blocked due to various reasons such as respiratory infections, allergies, or sinus infections. When the Eustachian tube is blocked, fluid accumulates in the middle ear, creating an environment conducive to bacterial growth. If the middle ear infection is not promptly treated with antibiotics, the infection can spread to the mastoid bone, leading to mastoiditis. This condition is more common in children, as their Eustachian tubes are shorter and more prone to blockages.

How to Identify Mastoiditis?

The symptoms of mastoiditis can vary, but common signs include:

  1. Ear Pain: Persistent and severe pain in or around the ear.
  2. Swelling: Swelling and redness behind the ear.
  3. Fever: Elevated body temperature, often accompanied by chills.
  4. Drainage: Discharge from the ear that may be yellow or green in color.
  5. Hearing Loss: Partial or complete loss of hearing in the affected ear.
  6. Headache: Persistent headaches, especially around the affected ear.

If any of these symptoms are present, it is crucial to seek prompt medical attention to prevent the infection from worsening and causing complications.