Otitis media is the medical term used for the medicalcondition which is commonly better known as middle ear infection or the inflammationof the middle ear. Middle ear is the area located between the inner ear and thetympanic membrane and it contains the Eustachian tube. Earache and otitisexterna are the two medical conditions which are most frequently associatedwith otitis media. There are also numerous other diseases which may betriggering different sorts of ear infections and those may sometimes eveninclude certain types of cancer. The good thing about middle ear infections isthat in most cases they get resolved on their own in a matter of only a fewweeks. Otitis media commonly affects children who are no more than three yearsold, and those cases are usually accompanied by certain types of upperrespiratory infections as well. Nose viruses which are usually responsible forthe onset of common cold may also infect the middle ear and lead to compromisedpressure equalization and swelling. Eustachian tube cannot function properlywhen inflamed and it cannot drain all the fluids like it is supposed to. Thisdelicate little organ is prone to numerous anatomical changes which occur as achild gradually grows older and the main change is that it ossifies to bonefrom cartilage. The angle at which it stands also gets altered over the years.
Causes of Otitis Media
Otitis media is commonly triggered by different types offungi, bacteria or viruses. The most common types bacterial pathogensassociated with otitis media include haemophilus influenza, moraxellacatarrhalis, and pseudomonal aerugionsa. The most common viral pathogen whichcan be held responsible for the onset of otitis media is respiratory syncytialvirus. Eustachian tube dysfunction commonly leads to infections of the innerear as well. There are also certain indications that otitis media
Otitis media may be characterized by different degrees ofseverity. Probably the most common type of this condition is acute otitismedia. It is usually caused by a viral pathogen and it is accompanied by anupper respiratory infection. It usually features ear popping, mild discomfortand ear congestion. Acute otitis media usually involves painful sensationswhich may sometimes be accompanied by high fever as well. There are threedistinct phases of progression of acute cases of otitis media. The first phasecommonly involves ringing in the ears, sensitive mastoid process, deafness,muffled noise in the ears, severe pain, meningism, rigors, fever andinflammation. This phase usually lasts for no more than two days. The secondphase involves the discharge of pus from the ear and a gradual alleviation ofthe symptoms experienced in the first phase of the medical condition. Thisphase may last for an entire week. The third phase is actually the healingperiod and it may last up to a month in some cases. Serous otitis media is alsosometimes referred to as secretory otitis media or otitis media with effusionand it involves a collection of fluid in the middle ear due to negativepressure. In some cases, this type of otitis media may be held responsible forthe onset of conductive hearing impairment. The last type of otitis media is calledchronic suppurative otitis media and it is characterized by a perforatedtympanic membrane which triggers an infection in the middle ear. This type ofotitis media can also be associated with hearing loss.
In order to diagnose the acute otitis media properly thephysician needs to visualize the tympanic membrane, and he or she needs to bewell informed on the patient’s medical history. Tympanometer and monocularotoscope are the instruments which are commonly used for the examination of theinner ear and the eardrum.
There are numerous different ways of treating the annoyingmedical condition we refer to as otitis media. Among the most effective ways ofdealing with painful sensations so often associated with otitis media aredifferent sorts of topical and oral analgesics. The most commonly used topicalanalgesics include Benzocaine ear drops and antipyrine ear drops, while themost commonly used oral analgesics include paracetamol and ibuprofen. There arealso certain types of oral or nasal antihistamines and decongestants which maybe helpful to a certain extent. A certain number of cases of acute otitis medianeed to be treated with prescribed antibiotics, but there are more of themwhich easily get resolved on their own. The biggest problem with the use ofantibiotics for the treatment of otitis media is that they may sometimestrigger certain unwanted side effects. The most commonly used type of antibioticsfor the treatment of otitis media is amoxicillin. Some chronic cases of otitis media may requirean insertion of the so called tympanostomy tube. There are also certain types of alternativeand complementary therapies such as osteopathic manipulation technique, butthose are not recommended that often.