Ear discharge, also known as otorrhea, is any fluid that originates from the ear. The majority of the time, your ears discharge earwax. This is an oil that your body naturally produces. The job of earwax is to make sure that dust, bacteria, and other foreign bodies don’t enter into your ear. However, other conditions, such as a burst eardrum, can cause blood or other fluids to drain from your ear. This sort of discharge is a sign that your ear has been hurt or contaminated and requires medical attention.
What Causes Ear Discharge?
Most of the times, discharge from your ear is just ear wax making its escape of your body. This is natural. Other conditions that can trigger discharge include infection or injury.
Middle Ear Infection
Middle ear infection (otitis media) is a common reason for discharge from the ear. Otitis media occurs when bacteria or viruses make their method into the middle ear. The middle ear lags the eardrum. It includes 3 bones called ossicles. These are essential to hearing.
Ear infections in the middle ear can trigger fluid to build up behind the eardrum. If there is excessive fluid, there is a threat of perforation of the eardrum, which can lead to ear discharge.
Trauma to the ear canal can likewise cause discharge. Such trauma can happen while cleaning your ear with a cotton bud if you push it in too deep.
An increase in pressure, such as when you’re flying in an aircraft or scuba diving, can likewise lead to trauma to your ear. These circumstances may also cause your eardrum to burst or tear.
Acoustic trauma is damage to the ear due to extremely loud noises. Acoustic trauma can cause your eardrum to burst also. However, these cases aren’t as common as the others explained.
Otitis externa, typically known as swimmer’s ear, occurs when bacteria or fungus infects your ear canal. It typically takes place when you spend extended periods of time in water.
Too much moisture inside your ear can break down the skin on the walls of your ear canal. This allows bacteria or fungus to enter and trigger an infection.
Nevertheless, swimmer’s ear isn’t unique to swimmers. It can result whenever there’s a break in the skin of the ear canal. This might take place if you have irritated skin as a result of eczema.
It can likewise occur if you place a foreign item into the ear. Any damage to your ear canal makes it more prone to infection.
Less Common Causes
A less common cause for ear discharge ismalignant otitis externa, an issue of swimmer’s ear that triggers damage to the cartilage and bones in the base of the skull.
Other uncommon causes consist of a skull fracture, which is a break in any of the bones in the skull, or mastoiditis, which is an infection of the mastoid bone behind your ear.
When Should I Seek Medical Attention?
You need to call your doctor if the discharge from your ear is white, yellow, or bloody or if you’ve had discharge for more than five days. Often ear discharge may accompany other symptoms, such as a fever. Inform your doctor if you have any accompanying signs.
If you experience severe discomfort, your ear is swollen or red, or you have a loss of hearing, you ought to see your doctor.
If you have an injury to the ear that triggers discharge, that’s another great reason to speak with a doctor.
What Are the Treatment Options for Ear Discharge?
Treatment of your ear discharge depends on its cause. Sometimes, your condition won’t need medical treatment.
For instance, the American Academy of Pediatrics explains a 48-hour “wait-and-see” technique, accompanied by close follow-up, as one option for dealing with moderate ear pain in children.
Indications of an ear infection normally start to clear up within the first week or two, without any treatment. Discomfort medications might be required to deal with any pain or pain.
If your child is under six months old or has a fever over 102.2 ° F, your doctor may prescribe antibiotic ear drops.
Most cases of ear trauma also heal without treatment. If you have a tear in your eardrum that doesn’t recover naturally, your doctor might use a special paper spot to the tear. This spot keeps the hole closed while your eardrum heals.
If a patch doesn’t work, your doctor may surgically repair your ear using a patch of your own skin.
A doctor should deal with swimmer’s ear to prevent the infection from spreading. Usually, your doctor will provide you antibiotic ear drops to use for about a week. In extreme cases, oral antibiotics will also be essential.
How Can I Prevent Ear Discharge?
To prevent ear infections, try to keep away from people who are sick.
Breastfeeding might provide babies with security from ear infections, because they get their mother’s antibodies in their milk.
If you bottle-feed your baby, you need to try holding your infant in an upright position rather than letting them consume lying down.
Keep foreign items out of your ears to prevent bursting your eardrum. If you know you’ll remain in a location with extreme noise, bring ear plugs or muffs to safeguard your eardrums.
You can avoid swimmer’s ear by ensuring to dry your ears after being in the water. Likewise, try to drain any water by turning your head to one side and then the other. You can likewise utilize over-the-counter medicated ear drops after you swim to manage and minimize swimmer’s ear.