How To Treat Mastoiditis

January 21, 2024

Understanding mastoiditis is the first step in learning how to treat this bacterial infection. This condition affects the inner and middle ear areas by infecting the cells in those locations. In that area of the ear is a bone called the mastoid, which is compromised of air cells that protect different areas of the ear. The ear is a very delicate, very precious part of the body and is easily damaged when individuals are not careful. If these cells in this bone become infected, it has a tremendous impact on hearing. Ear infections are the common cause of mastoiditis when they are left untreated. They cause the infection to spread, and this creates enormous potential for more serious health problems.

Use Antibiotic Therapy

Antibiotic therapy is the go-to fix for mastoiditis, though it must be prescribed by a medical professional. Unfortunately, this treatment method also includes a stay in the hospital. The doctor who specializes in treating this type of serious ear infection is going to issue antibiotics through an IV for a few days. This is the first step in the antibiotic therapy process. The doctor uses an IV in a vein in the patient's arm, and they monitor the patient's progress closely throughout the day.

There is very little a patient can do during this time, so lots of patience is necessary. When the hospitalization portion of this therapy is complete, the doctor will send the patient home to complete the therapy program with oral antibiotics. It is imperative to take these antibiotics precisely and exactly as the doctor prescribes, as missing even one dose can cause the infection to worsen. This is the most important treatment for mastoiditis, and it might be the one that allows patients to avoid surgery.

Drainage Through A Myringotomy

Doctors often suggest drainage through a myringotomy if antibiotic therapy fails or doesn't resolve the infection entirely. However, this type of surgery is something patients should avoid if they can, which is precisely why it is so important for patients to do what their doctor tells them to increase their chances of treating this infection with medication rather than surgery. If a patient does need surgery, however, a myringotomy requires the doctor to make a small incision on the eardrum.

The incision allows the build-up of fluid inside the eardrum to drain. When it drains, it helps relieve the pressure. This pressure causes tremendous pain in almost anyone with an ear infection, but it is especially painful if it is a child feeling the pain. Doctors might even recommend inserting a small tube into the eardrum to allow future fluids to drain correctly for patients who suffer from frequent ear infections and are at an increased risk for mastoiditis.

Regular Ear Cleanings

While it is not uncommon or even unusual for adults to develop ear infections, it is more prevalent in kids. Children who suffer from frequent ear infections are more at risk of developing mastoiditis. Doctors often recommend regular ear cleanings to help minimize the risk of ear infections and thus, mastoiditis. This method of treatment involves regular visits to the doctor's office so they can clean out the ears.

This is not something patients are encouraged to try at home. During ear cleanings, the doctor uses a special tool to suction the mess out of the ear. This helps prevent bacteria from accumulating in the ear, which has been shown to minimize the risk of future infection. Patients can talk with their doctor about regular ear exams to learn more about how often they would like to schedule these ear cleanings.

Use Eardrops

Doctors will often recommend using eardrops to help with pain associated with ear infections. Some doctors use oral antibiotics, but others use a form of eardrop to help with the infection. This depends on the doctor, the severity of the infection, and many other factors. Doctors may decide using eardrops can help control the infection before it has a chance to get worse. While eardrops might not help when patients are already suffering from mastoiditis, they can help if an ear infection is diagnosed early enough. If the patient and their doctor catch the infection early, the drops may help control the issue and make recovery much smoother.

Surgery To Remove Infected Bone

Surgery to remove infected bone because of mastoiditis is an absolute last resort. However, if antibiotic treatment, drainage, and other treatment options fail to control mastoiditis, surgery might be the only remaining option. This is because hearing can be negatively affected when an infection like this cannot be controlled. Whether a doctor decides this is the right option for patients depends on many factors.

The first factor is the severity of an infection. If a patient has a serious infection that will not go away, this may be the only alternative. Doctors may also recommend doing this to stop frequent mastoiditis infections from occurring. Rest assured doctors will do everything to avoid performing surgery to remove the bone, but it might be the only option for some patients.

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