Thursday, August 16, 2012

Sinusitis and otitis are related

Sinusitis and otitis are related medical conditions because the paranasal sinuses and ears are located close to each other in the skull. Ear or facial pain is a typical symptom of sinus infection. If the sinusitis patient bends forward, ear pain or sinus pressure may increase. Sinusitis is a disease of the sinuses, whereas otitis means an infection or inflammation of the ear. The ear is divided into three parts outer, middle and inner. The corresponding infections are medically referred to as otitis externa, otitis media and otitis interna.

 Otitis externa
The otitis externa, also called swimmer’s ear or external otitis, affects the external auditory (otitis externa) canal and outer ear. The principal pathogens causing the infection include corynebacteria, Propionibacterium acnes, Staphylococcus epidermidis and Staphylococcus aureus. Indeed, Staphylococcus aureus also infects the paranasal sinuses. 
The otitis extern triggers pain in the ear. Some times loss of hearing and fever accompany the pain. The disease generally occurs in humid and warm conditions. Water immersion is one of the causes of the otitis externa. 

Otitis media

Otitis media is an infection of the middle ear, extending between the eardrum and the slim channel leading to the nasal cavity. The sinuses and the middle ear have many common structural features. Both are open spaces. Both have mucous membranes. Both have slim channels that open into the nose.
Otitis media is the most common cause of earache. Other symptoms of otitis media include

  • inflammation of the mucous membrane that lines the middle ear,
  • fluid in the ear,
  • discharge from abscess or boil,
  • itching,
  • mild temporary loss of hearing and
  • irritation.
Sinusitis is a major cause of otitis media. Haemophilus influenza, Moraxella catarrhalis and Pneumococcus cause both otitis media and acute sinusitis. Otitis media is common among children. Untreated otitis media may lead to language and speech disorders, and loss of hearing.

Otitis interna
Otitis interna, also referred to as labyrinthitis, involves the inner ear. Inflammation of the inner ear may cause vertigo. Otitis interna causes excruciating pain, which is burning, tearing or throbbing. The pain increases due to motion, loud noise and chewing.
A complete examination of the paranasal sinuses in case of ear problems and vice versa is required to confirm or deny that the sinusitis and otitis are related. The treatment shall be decided accordingly.

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