Antibiotics for recurring ear bacterial vs viral infection?
by hm275hm, Apr 14, 2012
Hi and thank you for reading this, I hope someone can help.
I was diagnosed with a bacterial ear infection in Nov 2011 which the Dr said had spread to my throat, and was given a seven day course of cephalexin (keflex). The throat instantly felt better but the ear infection appeared to spread from the left ear to my right ear (fullness, popping, pain). I was prescribed a five day course of Zithromax over the phone which seemed to help, the ears drained fluid and no longer felt full but I still had pain behind my left ear and popping in both ears. I was seen by another dr who said there was no obvious sign of infection in either ear, I "absolutely" had viral labyrhinthiis, prescribed a nasal corticosteroid and said to try that for six weeks, which didn't help. I was then referred to an ENT who said he saw no sign of infection and I might still be compensating for the initial bacterial infection and it was not viral labyrinthitis, that I just needed to continue to heal. I recently had a UTI and was prescribed keflex for that, and my symptoms of dizziness, tinnitus, ear popping, to seemed to get better. I finished the keflex a couple of weeks ago and my ear symptoms seem to b returning? Could I still have some lingering bacterial infection deep inside my ear? Is there an antibiotic I should try? I had a rash from amoxicillin as a baby so no one wants to prescribe penicillins for me.  THANK YOU FOR READING THIS!!!!!!!
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Member Comments (4)
by Paderla Anitha, DNB Blank, Apr 16, 2012
Hello and hope you are doing well.

The condition needs proper evaluation. The cause could be an inner ear problem with your symptoms of tinnitus and dizziness. It could also be due to a middle ear infection, as you respond to antibiotic therapy. On examination there should be evidence of an infection, like inflamed tympanic membranes or discharge. For the inner ears, further testing like ECoG, auditory brain stem response (ABR), a computerized test of the hearing nerves and brain pathways and CT/MRI brain may be needed to diagnose the cause for tinnitus and dizziness. Treatment lies in treating the underlying cause.

Hope this helped and do keep us posted.
by hm275hm, Apr 17, 2012
Thank you so much for your response. I was assessed yesterday and currently have no sign of middle ear infection. I have a hearing test booked for tomorrow so will post the result of that. Thank you so very much for your kind response!
by hm275hm, Apr 18, 2012
Hello again, this has been a very confusing day, I hope someone can help with an opinion or suggestion. I had my hearing test today which was 100% normal. The audiologist suggested physiotherapy clinic that specializes in people with ear issues,tmj, etc. I had a fall off a dock in July where my left ear hit the water quite hard and filled with lake water, which was the start of the tinnitus (i don't recall having tinnitus before then), and then the bacterial infection in Nov when I think my ear drum might have ruptured (I felt a pop). The audiologist said I'd probably broken some of the hairs/dislodged crystals in my inner ear and physiotherapy might help me compensate. I then saw the ENT who did not examine me but said he spoke to the audiologist and my hearing is fine. When I explained that I wasn't upset by the tinnitus but just wanted to check all was ok since I still have popping and intermittent pain in and around the ear, and some visionchanges (kind of like im looking through a pane of glass all the time) which gets better at times but can worsen with large fluctuations in the weather (eg temperature going up 20C in one day) or under stress such as just before my period, he said that indicates a central issue and I may have a brain tumour, he has ordered a CT but the first appt is two months away. When i told the ENT i was scared aboutpotentially having abrain tumour he said there was a "zero percent chance" but needed to be ruled out. I called my family dr who totally disagreed with the ENT and said the ENT was trying to cover himself for malpractice and theCT is uneccasryand I shouldn't go for the CT. I'm confused and don't want to irradiate my head if there is no good reason but I have two small children that I need to be around for. So confused and scared and don't understand why the doctors disagree?
by amber6, Jun 20, 2013
Hi, How are you doing?  Did all your symptoms go away?  Did you ever have that CT?  
I am having the exact same problems you were having a year ago.  Some months ago, I came down with what seemed like a combined ear (both ears), sinus, throat sort of infection.  I tried to deal with it for about a month, at which point I got a UTI, which I immediately sought medical help for and was given antibiotics (Cephalexin); and both the UTI and ear, sinus, throat problems went away completely.  But symptoms for my ears, sinus and throat returned less than a month later, and it was 3 weeks before I was able to see a Doc.  By then my head was spinning so much I couldn't stand up straight and was nauseated.  Both my ears were under a lot of pressure, pain, throbbing, ringing, popping, itching, and they were moist inside.  I had so much mucus in my throat I had a hard time swallowing. There was so much sinus pressure my eyes were starting to hurt.  Dr prescribed 10 days worth of amoxicillin/clavulanic acid 875-125 mg tablets.  I took the full course (felt much better within hours of taking the first tablet) and symptoms went away.  But they returned within 3 days of having finished the treatment.  I'm wondering what the outcome of your illness was?  I'm hoping you are back to 100 % better.  But could you please share how long it took for the ringing and pain to go away?  Did it go away on it's own, or what medicines/treatments helped?  It'd help so much to know the rest of your story; that way I can maybe mention things to my Dr that will give him a better idea of how to deal with this - rather than having to see a multitude of Docs before I find one that is actually willing to listen and help and has experience with the same type of situation.  Thank you so much!