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Ear Discharge - How To Administer It?

Reviewed by
Dr. Anil Safaya 87% (41 ratings)
MBBS, MS - Otorhinolaryngology
ENT Specialist, Delhi  •  36 years experience
 Ear Discharge - How To Administer It?

Ear discharge is a common problem. The medical term that refers to this condition is otorrhea. The reason behind ear discharge could be multiple. The discomfort is caused due to a number of factors, including bacterial infection, head injuries and excessive ear wax. There are various kinds of drainage, like blood, milky white fluid or wax. It can be noted that the drainage of earwax yellow to orange or brown in colour is not a health issue. Other types of ear drainage need treatment or medical attention, depending on the severity of the situation.

Drainage due to ruptured eardrum: In some cases, it is found that there is drainage due to rupturing of the eardrum. It can be remembered that the rupturing of the eardrum is not a medical emergency. The drainage, in this case, is clear. It may be mixed with blood or fully bloody. Symptoms in this case range from ear-ringing, intense ear pain, hearing loss to drainage. Eardrum can get ruptured due to the following reasons:

  • Middle ear infections
  • Barotraumas
  • Loud noises
  • Trauma

You will have to remember that this is not an emergency case. The rupture gets repaired or healed naturally. However, if the problem worsens it is best to see a doctor. For healing the rupture, doctors may undertake a tympanoplasty. The doctor might also ask you to try a solution of  1% topical sodium hyaluronate.

Ear drainage due to excessive ear wax: This is a normal condition. It doesn’t usually require medical intervention. However, if the blockage of wax is not removed by natural means or simple cleaning using cotton swabs, oil or hydrogen peroxide, take help from a doctor.

Ear drainage due to infection: If you have been infected by a foreign invader like bacteria, you are likely to notice milky white fluid oozing out of your ear. The infection can be accompanied by fever and pain in the ear. The odour of the discharge is offensive.

Ear drainage due to head injuries: This is dangerous of all other drainage condition. It needs immediate medical intervention. The drainage is definitely bloody in nature. A Large amount of the drainage may contain the cerebral spinal fluid.

Reasons to seek immediate help from your doctor

1. Unbearable pain
2. High fever
3. Blow to the head/skull
4. Sudden loss of hearing
5. Injury caused by a sharp object, leading to drainage bloody in nature.

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