Ear discharge, also known as otorrhea, is any fluid that comes from the ear.
Most 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 get into your ear.
In most cases, discharge from your ear is basically ear wax making its way out of your body. This is natural. Other conditions that can reason 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 way into the middle ear. The middle ear is behind the eardrum. It contains three bones called ossicles. These are vital to hearing.
Trauma to the ear canal can also cause discharge. Such trauma can happen while cleaning your ear with a cotton swab if you push it in too deep.
A rise in pressure, such as when you’re flying in an airplane or scuba diving, can also result in trauma to your ear. These situations may also cause your eardrum to rupture or tear.
Otitis externa, commonly known as swimmer’s ear, happens when bacteria or fungus infect your ear canal. It generally occurs when you spend long periods of time in the 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 reason an infection.
However, the swimmer’s ear isn’t exclusive to swimmers. It can result whenever there’s a break in the skin of the ear canal. This might occur if you have irritated skin as a result of eczema.
When should I seek medical attention?
You should 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. Sometimes ear discharge may happen with other symptoms, such as a fever. Tell your doctor if you have any accompanying symptoms.