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Child with labyrinthitis - any ideas?

(37 Posts)
marceline Thu 10-Jan-13 21:36:35

DS age 8 was sent home from school in December after suddenly feeling dizzy and nauseous. Initially I thought he had a tummy virus. But although e was never actually sick the dizziness and nausea have persisted so I took him to GP. At first I was told he had a middle ear infection, he had a course of antibiotics which he's just completed, but his symptoms have not really improved for about 4 weeks.
He frequently complains of loss of balance and feeling sick, blurred vision and not being able to concentrate. He was sent home again yesterday. I took him back to the doctors who thinks it may be labyrinthitis and referred him to the ENT clinic.
I just feel really sad for him as the frequent bouts of nausea and dizziness are really affecting his day to day life. The thing is sometimes he is completely fine and is able to play with friends for several hours. But it seems when it comes to going to school in morning his symptoms appear quite severe. I don't think he's faking any of it but i worry that he is really anxious about going back to school as he feels unable to concentrate and I think he works himself into a sort of panic which makes things worse.
Sorry about rambling - I'm really bad at this. Just wondered if anyone had any experience of this illness or any strategies that may work.

Aimeedj Mon 11-Mar-13 14:37:06

Hi Marceline, I just read all these posts. I hope your ds is improving??? My ds has been vomiting , nauseous, dizzy and headache for 3 weeks now. Same possible diagnosis of Labyrinthitis. We are waiting hospital appointment for more checks and possibly an MRI. He has had basic brain function tests which were all normal...so now we wait. No school for two weeks and counting...it started after the 1st day of skiing during half term - I'm presuming major stress on the balancing nerves, maybe even the altitude...we are going to a Cranial Osteopath this evening, I just wondered how you got on with acupuncture or any other alternative therapies. Homeopathy has been really helping my ds with the nausea and he is eating normally again and stopped major vomiting, but mornings for him are really dire and he is SO white all the time. Hope things are getting better for you all :0)

roundabout1 Thu 24-Jan-13 20:11:25

marceline - how is your ds getting on?

roundabout1 Mon 14-Jan-13 19:59:42

marceline - Its a small rural school & I thought that would be more beneficial in our situation but seems they are hugely out of their depth. Things are going better now fingers crossed. We have the middle school system here so dd only has one more year after this before moving up so not worth moving her & to be honest I dont think she would cope well with that at all.
Hope your ds had an ok day today

marceline Sun 13-Jan-13 20:44:40

roundabout that is quite appalling that the school would respond that way to a distressed child! What about a change of environment, would a change of school be practicable?
We've had a pretty good day today, I'm hoping tomorrow won't be too traumatic - hoping the same for you!

roundabout1 Sun 13-Jan-13 10:59:28

marceline - we have struggled with school throughout, lack of a diagnosis didnt help so she was treated as if it was school avoidance although they didnt do anything about that as such. Things are going better with school now although the damage has been done as over the year when she was physically ill it has now become a problem of school avoidance as well which I feel could have been avoided if it was dealt with differently. I am so pleased your school are being so helpful, the card is a great idea, my dd will just sit there feeling ill afraid to tell anyone as when she did last year nothing happened or was told "if you are ill you shouldn't be at school" or the worst was "if we sent you home everytime you felt ill you would never be here"

marceline Sat 12-Jan-13 10:28:59

roundabout your poor DD. Are the school helping her with this in any way? I do think you're right about the psychological factor. DS's symptoms appear to be a lot worse if he is worried about having to go somewhere such as school imminently. At the moment we are trying to push him through this stage as it seems that the quicker he becomes active the sooner he feels better. It's a real struggle though as he really panics.

roundabout1 Fri 11-Jan-13 13:40:14

School sound as if they are being really good so thats great, it could well be that its 50% physical problem & 50% worrying about the physical problems (being ill). My dd is 7 & has been ill for a year with what they suspect is chronic fatigue, she's always been shy & a born worrier but was very confident work wise. Since being ill & being off a lot she has changed completely, worries over every little thing probably due to lack of concentration knocking her confidence regarding her work. She worries all the time over feeling ill at school yet outside of school doesn't worry about feeling ill even though she can be doing things which will make her feel ill later. For my dd its thinking that people wont believe her & also what her classmates will think. She worries about being sick in front of people at school to the extent that she will be retching before going into school as she gets so worked up.

marceline Fri 11-Jan-13 13:19:30

The school were really helpful actually. DH met with the Learning Mentor who has a little centre in the school where children can go and have time out of they need it. DS started to feel a lot better as he was talking to her and drinking a Lucozade. She gave him a card that he can show the teacher anytime he feels unwell and needs to get out of class. I think the sense of having some control over the situation really helped him. Fingers crossed, I haven't had a call from school yet. I am meeting with the teacher at 3:30 - I have also been wondering the same thing 3littlefrogs. Usually he is quite open if he has any issues. I think he is very anxious about being sick - although he has not actually been sick since he's had this. And thinks he will get in trouble if he can't concentrate.

I spoke to the doctors again today, they are referring him to a pediatric clinic. I hope that comes through soon. DH thinks we should see an acupuncturist but I'm a bit hmm. He swears they cured his ear problems as a child. Worth a try I guess...

3littlefrogs Fri 11-Jan-13 13:06:05

I also think you really need to get to the bottom of what is terrifying him about going to school. sad

ruby29 Fri 11-Jan-13 10:42:48

Hi! Sounds awful. So worrying when they aren't well.
I think you should discuss a referral to Paediatrics with your GP. A lot of his symptoms fit labyrinthitis but really there are other things that should be excluded first. (ie neurological)
Most hospitals run a paediatrics urgent clinic that would see him within a few days.
Good luck. I hope he is ok today.

marceline Fri 11-Jan-13 10:34:24

Another horrendous morning. He felt dizzy and sick first thing so I sent him back to bed. He seemed to have perked up around 10 so I sent him to have a shower and got him ready for school. He insisted he's still feeling terrible but dh thinks he needs to try and get through it as he does when he plays with friends or goes somewhere fun. So he had a full blown panic attack. I was trying to calm him down but DH has just taken him to school crying and hyperventilating. sad

cestlavielife Thu 10-Jan-13 23:56:52

She is 12 and attending a small tutor group run by lea for kids with medical needs. Up t ten hours per week. This has helped her gain some sense of "normality" . But no school and she won't go until she "is better".
She says.

Have had psych assessment but that inconclusive too.
Is a nitemare tbh.

But you need to get referred and run all relevant tests including MRI really.

marceline Thu 10-Jan-13 23:52:47

Sorry cestlavie, xpost. Thank you for the link, very interesting. BPPV was also mentioned by the GP today. So i hope if there is a proven treatment they do offer it to him.

I hope things improve for your dd, sounds like she's been through a hard few months!

marceline Thu 10-Jan-13 23:43:18

cestlavie Since June, good grief! How is she managing? Is she able to attend school and get on with life? Have you found any natural remedies that help? I've been using pressure points with my DS and sometimes it seems to improve the nausea.

cestlavielife Thu 10-Jan-13 23:43:00
cestlavielife Thu 10-Jan-13 23:41:03

An MRI may show evidence of inner ear issues and also rule out anything else. In My dd case MRI shows some anomalies in structure but they they think are incidental findings ie always been there. However she had vision testing and this shows a visual field deficit. We awaiting to see neurologist.
In the meantime she has working diagnosis of "post viral fatigue" And not really improving.

If it is true labrynthitis then it should improve over time and also some exercises physio may help.

They gave dd stemetil but it didn't help. Nor cinnarizine.

cestlavielife Thu 10-Jan-13 23:33:15

My daughter has had nausea and dizziness since June (don't want to scare you...) if you in or near London get referred to the "dizzy" clinic at Nuffield ent centre. They can run vestibular testing which can identify of indeed it is an inner ear issue on one side. Child sits ina spinning chair with probes that check where eyes looking, chair spins and lights move it shows things like nystagmus etc. hard to explain hut basically it is a test which can identify if it is inner ear.
My dds tests were inconclusive. Tho labrynthitis was one diagnosis at one time.
The manoeuvre is recognised and called ePley manoeuvre and some gps will do it.

marceline Thu 10-Jan-13 23:20:22

Thank you for the advice wiltingfast. Sounds pretty awful, I do worry about this becoming a chronic condition. I'm going to speak to the school tomorrow if I manage to get him there!

wiltingfast Thu 10-Jan-13 22:48:54

Oh, one last thing, I find if I go too long without eating (usually lunch to dinner when working) that can trigger it too for some reason. Even half a banana eaten on the bus home staves that off.

So make sure he has some healthy extra snacks with him?

wiltingfast Thu 10-Jan-13 22:45:20

Knocking your balance "back into place" [hmmm] think that is highly unlikely to be true tbh! Your balance is managed by fluid in your ears isn't it? I was told the fluid gets in a spin and causes your vomiting centre to react.

I never heard of anyone else having this believe it or not! I've suffered on and off for years and I always suspected the GP was making it up to get me out of the office!

Anyway, I find bright lights (fluorescent esp) can trigger it, a bad shock, reading on a computer, I can't look around v sharply, can't read in car, have to sit in middle of bus. What happens with me is I get into a terrible cycle of voliting and cannot stop. I carry valoid tablets all the time and take one at the first hint of it tbh. If I don't manage to head it off, I have to go and lie down in a dark room and essentially sleep the wost of it off. An episode is usually v bad for 24-48h but can linger vaguely for a few weeks.

It's a horrible thing but manageable for me but I'm an adult and v aware of the likely triggers and warning symptoms. V hard for a child to manage it. Poor fella, I do hope it's something else. It's not life threatening but you'd definitely rather not have it.

I'd check out the shcool environment, sounds like there is something there triggering it. Are the lights v bright? Maybe if he could be seated near a window? Are they using the computer a lot? Dim the screen. If he's in the throes of an episode that hasn't been managed down, he will find it v hard to read for example. Instant nausea. Watching tv also not good.

Maybe you could ask your GP for something to help the nausea? Ginger is supposed to be a good natural remedy. But depends how bad the nausea is. As I said, they give me valoid but I'm not sure if they'd give it to an 8yo.

Hth

marceline Thu 10-Jan-13 22:31:04

Thanks Chaos - sounds interesting. I have read about a form of physiotherapy that encourages the brain to compensate - I do hope we get some sort of help soon! sad

I heard it from a friend who is into mixed martial arts.

I believe it is a medical practice; lying on a table and hashing the head moved into a sharp position that rebalances. Supposedly not painful and over in seconds. Now I can't vouch for this and it wouldn't work for Ménière's , but it may be worth a mention. I'll see if I can find any info online!

marceline Thu 10-Jan-13 22:18:50

Thanks Chao I'll remember that when we see the specialist. When you say 'knocked back into place' - how literal is that? What does that involve? Is this a sort of technique the NHS might be aware of?

marceline Thu 10-Jan-13 22:15:49

roundabout I have noticed he is often ok whilst he is playing and engaged in something he enjoys, he managed two karate lessons this week and was ok. But it does seem that the school environment makes it worse. Yesterday morning he looked absolutely wretched and I felt awful leaving him at school. I thought that he may bounce out of it if he's involved in something. But they called us back less than an hour later. He told me that he was struggling with things he normally finds easy, like times tables etc.

I worry that he is missing out on school and would like to help him find a way to manage it and still get on with his day.

Ps MMA practitioners often get a their balance knocked 'back into place' by specialists when it's knocked by severe impact. It's not something I've had done, but I believe it's very effective for your child's prob

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