Ear discharge is often a private problem.Few want to discuss it.It’s also easy to ignore, since you don’t see the condition inside your ear.It’s an easily treatable and preventable condition.
In this post I will tell you
- All your options with ear discharge.
- When you should definitely visit the ER.
- What are your options to get treated
What are the causes of ear discharge?
Ear discharge occurs when secretions occur due to infections in various parts of the ear.
*Otitis externa : Infection involving external ear.
Otomycosis :fungal infection
*Acute otitis media
Pus gets trapped behind ear drum and the pressure may cause the drum to rupture and pus mixed with blood gets released .
This generally occurs after untreated cold for a period of 5 to 7 days.
Accompanied by fever and earache.
Rupture of ear drum occurs with decrease of pain and pus with bloody discharge.
Chronic otitis media
When ear infection causes persistent discharge for more than 12 weeks.This often presents with ear drum perforation ,ear discharge and reduced hearing .
*Otitis media with effusion
Generally allergic rhinitis ,adenoids tissues ,Tonsillitis may cause this. In this case a sticky discharge occurs.
Following head injury if the junction between your ear and brain is breached the brain fluid may leak.
Potentially serious condition with a risk of meningitis .
Types of ear discharge:
Watery:CSF Fluid covering the brain.You may think water is coming out of your ear.
*Mucoid:Middle ear goblet cells are the source .Indicates ear drum perforation.This is sticky like the goo which comes out of your nose ,when you have a cold.Its a white discharge from ear.
*Pus: Otitis externa/furuncle/infected fungal infection ,squamous type of Chronic otitis media.
Pus+mucus:Infected mucus,indicates ear drum perforation .Chronic otitis media mucosal type when there occurs ear drum perforation.
Blood coming out of ear ,has to be managed by ear doctor.
*Pus+blood:squamous type of Chronic otitis media potentially serious and needs urgent management.
*Pus+mucus+blood.:Chronic otitis media mucosal type with granulation
potentially serious and needs urgent management.
What are the important investigations you should do?
*Otoendoscopy :A chance for you to Visualize the inside of your own ear and see the problem.
*Pure tone audiometry: PTA .Helps to assess diminished hearing which can occur due to ear discharge.
*Tympanometry: Ear drum problems like thinned drum,perforated drum is diagnosed You can also detect fluid behind an intact drum.
*HRCT temporal bone:This is a computed tomography of your ear bone and helps detect ,how far the disease has progressed .
What are the options for treatment for discharging ear?
Treatment may be:
*Surgical:Chronic Otitis media squamous type( having cholesteatoma and granulations)
*Medical:Acute otitis media,Otomycosis, furuncle of ear.
*Surgical+Medical:Chronic otitis media
What are the other complaints associated with ear discharge?
*Swelling behind the ear : post aural abscess
*Partial or complete loss of hearing
Ear ache: more common in acute otitis media, ear furuncle,fungal ear infection.Less common in chronic otitis media. If earache occurs in Chronic otitis media it’s considered a dangerous sign.
READ more about Earache
*Ringing sound in ear:Tinnitus
*Acute and chronic mastoiditis
Infection and inflammation of the Mastoid bone.
*Post aural fistula:Opening in the skin behind the ear connecting with the Mastoid bone.(This occurs in Chronic otitis media eroding the bone .)
*Accompanying signs such as fever and headache often indicating potential involvement of the brain.
Other intracranial complications.
*Facial palsy :Disease can cause involvement of the facial nerve.Deviation of mouth,difficulty closing eye,problem with chewing,eating,blowing ,puffing.
Treatment depends on the exact cause
Often ear discharge is a symptom ignored for long.
Avoidance of the problem will put you at risk of serious complications including, permanent hearing loss.
What other queries do you have about ear discharge?Let me know in the comments below.
When should you visit the ER ,with ear discharge?
- Ear pain not decreasing
- Profuse bleeding from ear
- Slap injury /sharp injury to ear
- High grade fever with ear discharge and headache
- Ear discharge with dizziness nausea and vomiting
- Sudden hearing loss with ear discharge
- Facial deviation with ear discharge
- Swelling behind the ear with ear discharge
These are all danger signs and need immediate intervention.
Where can you get help?
In India all Government Medical colleges have a good ENT setup .Plus its free
Maulana Azad Medical College
GTB Hospital and Medical College
Calcutta Medical College
NRS Medical College
SSKM Medical College
R.G.Kar Medical college
Ear discharge in children need early treatment to prevent long term sequelae and irreversible damages.
Private medical colleges with excellant Ear surgery in Kolkata
Shishumangal Hospital and Vivekananda Medical college
Disclaimer :These health info is meant for educational purposes only and should not be confused as professional medical advice.