What is mastoiditis?

Mastoiditis is a serious form of bacterial infection affecting the mastoid bone at the rear part of the ear. The condition is quite common among children.

In most cases, recovery from the condition is rapid and there are no reported complications if diagnosed early and promptly treated.

What are the signs?

The indications of mastoiditis generally include the following:

  • Ear pain along with tenderness and redness
  • Headache
  • Drainage from the ear
  • Swelling behind the ear that causes it to protrude outwards
  • Irritability, fever and tiredness
  • Loss of hearing in the affected ear

What are the causes?


Ear pain along with tenderness and redness.

It is important to note that the mastoid bone has a honey-comb structure that contains air spaces that are called as mastoid cells. The condition can arise if the mastoid cells are inflamed or infected, usually after a persistent case of middle ear infection.

In some cases, cholesteatoma is also a cause. The condition involves the abnormal buildup of skin cells within the ear that prevents it from draining properly, leading to an infection.

Management of mastoiditis

If mastoiditis is suspected, antibiotics are given intravenously in a healthcare facility.

In some instances, surgery might be required to drain the middle ear or remove a region of the mastoid bone. If the individual is hospitalized for treatment, he/she must stay for a few days to ensure that the infection is controlled.

What happens after surgery?

If surgery was carried out, it requires 1-2 weeks of rest. The affected ear must not get wet. The individual can wash his/her hair after a week. Just make sure that water will not enter the ear. Avoid swimming for 4-6 weeks after surgery.


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