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Ear Discharge: Is It dangerous?

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We all might have come across ear discharge and ignored it a lot of times. The discharge is not a visible problem so it’s often not considered dangerous. We take medicine and it subsides so we think that the problem is dealt with, but it’s not always like that. In this post, I’ll resolve a few of your queries regarding ear discharge.

What all can cause ear discharge?

Acute otitis externa:

It’s an infection of the outer canal which is often acquired by cleaning the ear with unsterile objects like a pen, key, hairpin, etc. it’s a painful condition and it gets resolved but antibiotics and Ear Pack.

Acute Suppurative otitis media:

It’s an infection of the middle ear that is often seen in children but adults could have it too. It is usually preceded by a bout of cold, cough, or fever which infects the middle ear via the Eustachian Tube. It causes accumulation of pus behind the membrane leading to: You need antibiotic coverage, antihistamines & decongestants for resolution. At times the disease doesn’t get better with medication and might need surgical intervention.


It’s a fungal infection of the ear leading to ear discharge, itching, and pain. It gets better with antifungals, local cleaning, and pain killers.

Chronic Suppurative Otitis Media:

When the ear infection persists for more than 12 weeks it’s CSOM. It is often accompanied by eardrum perforation, leading to recurrent ear discharge. CSOM requires both medical and surgical management. It doesn’t get resolved on its own. It’s a progressive disease.

Otitis media with effusion:

It’s caused by eustachian tube dysfunction leading to the accumulation of fluid behind the membrane. The fluid reduces the drum mobility leading to hearing loss and if infected might lead to ear discharge too.

CSF otorrhea:

At times there’s trauma to the base of the skull leading to leaking of brain fluid from the ear. It might be seen in head injuries. It needs repair of the fluid leak and high antibiotic coverage to avoid infections of the brain.

Cardinal signs:

There are a few cardinal signs which should make you rush to the hospital
  • Excruciating earache
  • Trauma to the ear
  • Bleeding from ear
  • High-grade fever with headache and ear discharge
  • Ear discharge with nausea vomiting
  • Swelling in and around the ear
  • Deviation of face
  • Sudden hearing loss

Approach to Ear Discharge:

  • Ear examination by ENT Specialist
  • Pure tone audiometry
  • Impedance audiometry
  • HRCT temporal bone


Ear Care: 10 Tips for Ear Care Medical management works for diseases where the eardrum is intact. If the eardrum is perforated most of the approaches are surgical only.
  • Tympanoplasty
  • Modified radical mastoidectomy
  • Cortical mastoidectomy
According to the type of disease Tubotympanic Otitis Media/ Squamous Otitis Media I hope my post has resolved a few of your queries. If you have more question feel free to ask them I’ll definitely address them. BE HEALTHY BE HAPPY.
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Disclaimer: I am taking my blog to the next level with Blogchatter’s #MyFriendAlexa. This article is for reference purpose only, under no circumstances it should be used as a replacement of medical opinion by Professionals. Any decision regarding health and health care should be taken after professional advice only. Health care advice and information shared by the author is best to her knowledge. We disclaim all responsibilities for any inadvertent omission/ commission by the author or the website.

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