I had my first case of Labyrinthitis back in July of '03. Since then, I've had it about 4-5 more times, including a week ago. Now, from what I've been reading, it's rare to keep getting it, so I wanted to hear if anyone else has experienced this. I'm not sick with a cold or anything before I get it, so it's confusing why it keeps happening. If anyone can shed some light on this, that would be great. I'm so sick of getting it!
Hi elle. Yes Lab'itis does or can recurr but it is not the virus which is recurring instead you are simply DECOMPENSATING. When Lab first occurs your brain compensates (ie. the inner ear injury is permanent but your CNS takes over for the damage). But decompensation - where the brain simply forgets what it has learned - can happen esp if you have not done VRT Therapy...
I'd look into getting a referral for VRT if you havent already done so.
So how do you know if it's the actual virus or just the symptoms coming back? My ears do feel strange along with the other usual symptoms. I always just thought it was the virus again. And what is VRT therapy? When I went to the ER for this the first time, all they said was it shouldn't come back for a very long time. I haven't been back to the doctor since they said there was nothing they could do about it.
Elle, the below should help, have got it from a reputable source...
VRT = Vestibular Rehab Therapy - search for this on the internet as well as CAWTHORNE COOKSEY which are the exercises.
I cant believe your doctor has said there is nothing they can do - this is rubbish - and shows incompetence quite frankly! There are things you canm do for Labyrinthitis - VRT for one...
It's important to remember that even after the symptoms go away, the balance system remains injured, and the brain has simply adapted to the injury. For many patients, dizziness will return months or years after compensating for a balance system injury. It is critical for the physician to find out what type of dizziness the patient has. If the patient describes another severe attack of spinning with unsteadiness and nausea lasting hours to days, this suggests that a second injury has occurred to the balance system, such as another viral infection or an attack of Ménière's or endolymphatic hydrops. These conditions require diagnosis and medical treatment. If the patient reports that dizziness occurs after particular movements and lasts seconds to a few minutes, this suggests decompensation. Decompensation simply means that the brain has 'forgotten' the fine- tuning procedure it developed during the chronic compensation phase described above.
Events that can provoke decompensation include a bad cold or the flu, minor surgery, long vacations, or anything that stops normal daily activity for a few days. Recovery after decompensation is exactly like the recovery that occurs during the chronic compensation phase. Movements and activities are the stimuli the brain needs to fine-tune the system. In our balance center, we routinely counsel patients to keep their VRT exercise program instructions in a drawer even after they recover so that they can begin the exercises immediately if symptoms return. Usually recovery after decompensation is quicker than the recovery after the initial injury to the balance system.
Thanks for the information. I really thought I was getting it over and over again. I knew it was nowhere near as severe as the first time, so I just figured my body had developed some immunity. How long will these secondary symptoms last? If there's any more information anyone can give me, I'd love to hear it. I've been searching the net for info but have come up with the same things over and over.
Cant tell you how long the secondary symptoms will last...v individual, I still have the primary symptoms of Lab - 18 mths on - so you can never tell..Search the net for VRT and/or uncompensated labyrinthitis. I'd recommend you going to see specialist. Primary care doctors have little clue when it comes to inner ear disorders. xxx
It would also be worth getting other things looked into (inparticular migraine and endolympthatic hydrops (aka menieres)). When someone has an injury which is uncompensated their symptoms wax and wane, and occasionally completely resolve only to return when they decompensate (for the reasons in ems' post), however it would be unusual for them to keep resolving and returning in a short space of time. If the episodes come on quickly (within minutes) and are severe (and not precipitated by movement) then resolve over the next few days, it would be suggestive of an unstable injury (such as EH or migraine or menieres).
Of course if the episodes are lessoning in severity each time, and brought about through certain activaties (such as phyical exsertion, head motion, anxiety, lack of sleep, alchahol, etc. etc.) then this would be much more suggestive of an uncompensated stable vestibular problem (such as VN or Labs), which should resolve over time (or with a little help from VRT).