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Why Do You Get an EAR Discharge?

Dr. Rajeev Nangia 87% (613 ratings)
MBBS, MS - ENT
ENT Specialist, Delhi  •  32 years experience
Why Do You Get an EAR Discharge?

What are the causes and symptoms of ear discharge?

Ear discharge is the phenomenon of fluids being expelled from the ear. This condition is also known as otorrhea.

The kinds of fluids that can be discharged from the ear range from blood to pus and other forms of bodily secretions. It is caused by a number of factors, which determine the exact nature of the condition and the diagnosis for treatment.

What are the causes of ear discharge?

Some forms of ear discharge are natural, such as ear wax which is produced by the body as a form of defense against external particles that may enter the ears. Other forms are unnatural and result from anomalies in the health system.

The causes of these include the following:

  • Infections: This is the most common cause of ear discharge and occurs when bacteria and viruses infest the inside of the ear and lead to the secretion of fluids, which builds up in the middle ear or at the eardrum
  • Swimmer’s Ear: This condition is also known as otitis externa and is caused by staying in water for prolonged periods. It results from excessive exposure to moisture that makes the walls of the ear canal to break down allowing bacteria and fungi to enter and infect the ear.
  • Trauma: Excess pressure on the eardrum can cause it to rupture and discharge fluids. This happens due to a number of reasons such as exposure to loud explosive sounds or pressure from flying in aircrafts and scuba diving.
  • Skull Injury: Damage to the bones behind the ear as a result of injury can also lead to ear discharge due to infection.
  • Tonsillitis:  Inflammation of tonsils may cause pain or a repeated infection in the ear leading to fluid discharge.

What are the symptoms associated with ear discharge?

Some of the symptoms of otorrhea are as follows:

  • Abnormal and unusual secretion of fluids from the ear
  • Swelling of the ear
  • Partial or complete loss of hearing
  • Pain and throbbing in the ear
  • Accompanying signs such as fever and migraine

Diagnosis and treatment of the problem depend on the exact cause and nature of the condition, which also determines treatment and recovery time.

'Consult'.

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