Otomycosis , or fungal otitis media, is a fairly common phenomenon. According to doctors, approximately every fifth inhabitant of the Earth is susceptible to various kinds of fungal infections, and about 27% of children and almost 19% of adults suffer from otomycosis .
Of course, fungal infections are most often associated with nails, but fungi have a wide range of activities. Therefore, it is extremely important to know the symptoms of the disease and what its prevention is based on.
Why does fungal otitis media occur?
The traditional cause of fungal otitis media is certain types of microorganisms, in particular, molds or yeast-like fungi of the genus Candida , which have multiplied in the ear. Their harmful activity provokes the development of otomycosis , expressed in the form of ear inflammation. Usually, uninvited guests settle on the surface of the auricle, external ear canal, eardrum, and in the middle ear cavity. The most comfortable area for the fungus to stay is the external auditory canal, here all the conditions for life are: humid, warm, permanent air circulation.
Why does not every person develop fungal otitis media ? In most people, the immune system builds a competent line of defense and does not allow fungi to settle freely: the skin of a healthy person produces a special substance in the form of a lubricant, and it blocks access to harmful microorganisms. If, for some reason, the substance is not produced, and this happens against a background of skin microtraumas or inflammation, then the protective barrier disappears, microbes rush to the vulnerable area and otitis media gradually develops. In this regard, doctors often warn that you should not clean your ears with cotton swabs and especially other improvised means – this is a direct way to provoke the development of an infection.
However, there are other factors that contribute to the increased activity of mold fungi, for example, allergies, impaired metabolism, skin eczema in the auricle, diabetes mellitus and reduced immunity. Experts say that one of the main reasons for the appearance of fungal otitis media is the haphazard use of hormonal drugs and antibiotics. Many medicines are dispensed without a prescription, and this leads to their uncontrolled use: without a doctor’s prescription and even without special need. Such promiscuity negatively affects the state of the intestinal microflora and skin, and where it is thin – there it breaks.
Moreover, not all patients, with the initial signs of otomycosis, turn to doctors, believing that they can independently cope with the disease with ointments or drops. This is a fundamentally wrong approach: the infection only intensifies, the course of the disease becomes more complicated and often turns into a chronic stage.
Symptoms of fungal otitis media
Fungi, or rather their spores, surround us everywhere, move freely, settle on different areas of the skin, and then penetrate the body and firmly settle there. Unfortunately, they are not always visible to the naked eye.
Symptoms otomycosis quite characteristic, and should listen to yourself if you experience the following symptoms:
- Itching in the infected ear. Sometimes it can stop, but after a while it appears again
- Increased formation of sulfur plugs
- Dizziness and headache attacks
- The auricle has become hypertrophied
- A feeling of stuffiness in the ear and decreased hearing
- Specific odorless , yellowish, brown, or grayish discharge
- If the fungus is located shallowly, then crusts, plugs and small liquid discharge may form in the visibility zone.
- If the disease has reached the acute phase, then an increased temperature signals this, the ear mucosa swells.
These symptoms are expressed weaker or brighter, depending on the coverage area of the affected area and the course of the disease.
Prevention and treatment of otomycosis
The primary and main prevention of otomycosis is a strong immunity, to maintain which one should go in for sports, have good rest and eat right. Vitamin therapy fits into the same concept, but you should first consult a doctor.
The main thing with a disease is not to delay the medical examination, because only a doctor can give a complete diagnosis of the disease and prescribe the correct treatment. The doctor will also examine the condition of the auricle and eardrum for infiltrates and perforations in the membrane.
To begin with, they will take samples of ear discharge for laboratory testing to determine the cause of the inflammation and the nature of the fungus. Otherwise, the treatment will be prescribed incorrectly, and, therefore, will not have the desired effect. The fact is that completely different preparations are needed for mold and yeast-like fungi. In addition, there is always a risk of bacterial infection, which also requires the use of separate drugs (antibiotics).
A laboratory study can tell which specific antifungal drug is most effective in a given situation, and then the treatment will be most effective.
Therapy for fungal otitis media is based on both local preparations and medications for oral use. It is important to understand that the treatment of such an infection, first of all, is complex. It is necessary not only to cure the disease, but to conduct a kind of revision of the body, identify its weak points and control them for a long time (in order to prevent infection). To do this, the attending physician may recommend visiting an immunologist, allergist or endocrinologist.
Treatment of otomycosis is traditionally carried out in a continuous course without interruption, strictly according to the schedule established by the doctor. After the course is completed, you should visit the doctor again to take control cultures for microflora and make sure that the disease has receded. If there is a slight activity of fungi, the doctor will recommend to extend the course of treatment so that the otomycosis does not turn into a chronic sore.
During the period of therapy, the ears should be protected from moisture ingress: a moist environment is considered an ideal condition for fungal activity.