A swollen ear canal can be painful and itchy especially if there is a discharge of fluid or pus from the ear. What causes a lump in the ear canal of a toddler? Does it signal a serious underlying health condition such as cancer? In this article, we have a comprehensive discussion on symptoms, causes and how you can treat a swelling in your ear canal.
Are you having a swelling on your ear canal? Most ear problems are caused by an infection. Other underlying health conditions such as cancer may also cause ear canal inflammation coupled with pain or discomfort. If you’re have a swelling around your outer canal and the skin around, your ear might be seriously infected.
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Infection on the ear canal can start as swelling which may clear on their own safely but some requires antibiotics. An infection in the bone behind the ear can cause enlargement of the lymph node. This article attempts to give other more possible reasons of having a swollen lump on the ear canal.
Swollen ear canal pictures
How does a swelling on the ear canal look like? A redness swelling on the outer ear canal is one of the symptom of infection. To make you understand the cause and symptoms of a swollen ear canal, we have inserted images and pictures. This helps you identify the symptoms much better and take the best course for treating this condition.
Symptoms of swollen ear canal
What are the symptoms of a swelling in the ear canal? The common symptoms of an ear canal that has a swelling include:
- Itchiness in the ear canal
- A feeling of fullness inside the ear- this is a sign of infection
- Swelling or a visible bump in the ear canal
- Swelling or the neck glands become enlarge
- The jaw become hard to open, swallowing and eating become slightly hard
- Temporary hearing loss can be experienced, caused by blockage of the ear canal
- Pain in the ear can be severe especially when you try to move your head and jaw. The pain in the ear canal is severe when you try to chew. This can be associated with infection or inflammation.
- A buildup of fluid and pus in the middle ear which can cause temporary hearing loss and feeding problem.
- If the swelling is severely infected, a foul smell yellowish discharge will be noticed.
- The side of face can get swollen too. This is associated with the side of the ear canal that is affected.
Swollen ear canal causes
What causes the ear canal to swell? Could it be cancer of the ear? The ear canal can swell from a number of causes such as infection from bacterial or fungi. Swelling or inflammation in the ear canal can also mean a serious health condition like cancer. Below here are some of the possible causes of swelling in the ear canal.
1. Is swelling in the ear canal a sign of cancer?
Cancer of the ear is a rare form of cancer. However, most cancer that affects the ear starts in the skin of the outer ear. This explains the cases of 5 out of 100 skin cancers developing on the ear. According to research, rare cases of cancer developing inside the ear are reported. In UK, less than 1 person in every million people will develop cancer in the middle ear and or the ear canal.
The cause of cancer in the middle is yet to be known. But if you have a history of severe or chronic (a period of 10 years or more) infection, you are more at risk of developing cancer in the ear canal. It simply explains that malignant tumors in the middle ear and mastoid are very rare. Only the squamous cells cancer ought to be prevalent.
Cancer of the middle ear and or the ear canal has the following symptoms:
- Prolonged discharge from the ear canal
- Blood stained discharge
- Hearing loss
- Facial paralysis can follow especially the side of the face that is affected.
2. Swollen ear canal eczema
Can eczema cause swelling in the ear canal? Eczema is a medical condition that cause the skin of the affected person to become irritated or inflamed. Atopic dermatitis or eczema has the tendency to cause allergic reactions or conditions like asthma or hay fever. Children are more likely to get this condition, it affects about 10% to 20 % of infants and about 3% of adults.
Dermatitis (eczema) of the ear canal can be itching, flaking and causes a lump or a swelling of the ear canal. This can be triggered by allergic reaction particularly for those wearing nickel-containing earrings and or beauty products such lotions or sprays.
If you have certain conditions related to dermatitis like seborrhea and psoriasis, you can get sudden dermatitis of the ear canal. The symptoms include; itching, a clear discharge, cracking of the skin in ear canal and pain. Cracking of the skin may also provide an avenue for acute external otitis.
Treatment of dermatitis of the ear canal involves eliminating the allergic triggers such as earrings. Visit your healthcare provider as soon as you experience pain, this reduce the risk of infection spreading into the inner ear or ear drum.
Are allergies the cause of a bump in the ear canal? Acute otitis media can be caused by allergic reactions other than viral or bacterial infection. Allergies can result in blockage of the tube that connects the throat and the middle ear. If you have otitis media you’re likely to experience pain in the ear canal, fever, hearing loss or a feeling or sense of fullness in the ear. In some people, appetite, vomiting, ringing in the ear (tinnitus), ear drainage and a feeling of dizziness is likely to experience.
Allergies primarily tend to affect the middle ear canal causing a swelling. The Eustachian tube can be clogged by mucus or the opening gets blocked by allergy swelling. This tend to build pressure causing pressure building up in the middle ear. Recurrent otitis is linked with allergies affecting the kids mostly.
Treatment can involve ear drops that contain antibiotics to reduce swelling of the ear canal.
4. Ear canal is swollen after cold or sore throat.
Can a sore throat or cold cause a swelling in your canal? Pain or irritation in your throat is an indication of an infection caused by bacteria or fungi. Ear infection can be associated with a sore throat or common cold. Viral infections can be caused by common cold that cause sore throat and swollen lymph nodes. This tend to cause wax build- up in the ear resulting to earaches and swelling in the ear canal.
5. Swollen lump in the ear canal after cleaning
Can you get a swelling in the ear canal after cleaning? It is possible to get a lump in the ear canal after cleaning. Infection in the ear is known as the primary cause of swelling in the ear canal. However, excessive cleaning of the ear canal with cotton swabs or anything else can also be the reason you have a swelling in the ear canal.
This is a mild case and doesn’t warrant any medical attention. But you have to take good care of the swelling to minimize the risk of bacterial and fungal infection. A normal swelling will resolve on its own after a period of time.
6. Swollen ear canal vertigo
Infection in the ear can cause neuritis and labyrinthitis. When the inner ear canal is inflamed, nerves connecting the inner to the brain get inflamed too. This infection tend to disrupt the transmission of the sensory information from your ear to the brain. The resulting feeling is ear canal vertigo, dizziness, balance disruption, blurred vision and hearing loss.
Ear canal swollen and leaking
Is your ear canal having a swollen lump and leaking? Acute infection in the ear canal can cause you to have a leaking ear. This is a serious case of ear infection or otitis externa. Prolonged discharge can also indicate ear canal cancer and should be treated urgently as soon as the leaking is noticed.
An inflammation of the ear canal always show one of its symptoms as a clear fluid or sometimes pus coming out of your ear. Your healthcare provider will prescribe drugs and other medications upon examining the ear and doing some tests.
Swollen tender lump inside ear canal with pain
What is the cause of pain in the ear canal that has a lump? If you experience pain I your canal that has swelling, you need to consult your health care provider. Pain in the ear canal is an indication of infection in the ear. This can be due to bacteria or fungi infection. People who have a history of chronic dermatitis of the ear canal are more prone to get swelling in the ear canal that can be coupled with severe pain and tenderness.
Swelling in ear canal toddler
What causes the ear canal of a child to swell? Is it a serious underlying health condition or life threatening? Ear infection or otitis media is not infectious but can be caused by respiratory tract infection or cold. Infection are caused by the either of these two bacteria streptococcus pneumonia or haemophilus influenzae.
Research shows that infection of the middle ear canal are more common in young children than it is in adults. This can be attributed to the fact that the tube which leads from the ear, Eustachian tube is much shorter in kids and horizontal. This results to poor drainage of fluids from the infant ear canal.
If your child has a cleft palate, he/she is more prone to get ear infection. The abnormalities in the structure of the muscles that lead to Eustachian tube is highly susceptible to infections causing swelling in the ear canal. If you have a tendency of bottle-feeding your baby instead of breast feeding, you put the kid at risk of getting otitis media. This place the kids at bad angle making it extremely hard to drain fluid out of the ear.
In most children this problem usually resolve on without necessarily consulting a doctor. However, since this condition is caused by bacterial or viral infection, antibiotics can be used to treat the swelling in the ear canal. Some of the available antibiotics include amoxicillin. If the child is allergic to penicillin, erythromycin or clarithromycin can be used instead.
Swelling ear canal and tinnitus
A swollen lump in the ear canal can be itchy and painful if the cause is bacterial or fungi infection. Swollen ear canal can make you feel dizziness or ringing in the ears (tinnitus). If you ears feel like there’s a ringing in it, then you need to visit your doctor for treatment. Fungi infection in the ear canal can cause discharge of fluid from the ear, feeling of fullness, scratching and tinnitus.
Treatment involves use 2% of acetic acid solution 3- 4 times daily up to 5 -7 days to clear the infection. If the infection doesn’t respond to the acidifying drops, you may use antifungal drops such as clotrimazole.
Sore swollen ear canal pregnancy
Do you have a sore swelling lump in the ear canal during your pregnancy? An infection or swimmer’s ear occur in the outer canal but can be found in the inner canal too or any other part of the ear. Moisture in the ear creates an environment for bacteria to grow and thrive. Although infection is the primary cause of swelling in the ear canal, changes in hormones and the weakened immune system can be associated too.
Swollen lump in ear canal and jaw pain
Do you have a swollen lump in the ear canal that makes your jaw to experience pain? Pain in the jaw could be an indication of ear canal infection. The pain of an ear canal inflammation makes it for one to chew food or even moving your head. This can be worse when there is a discharge from the ear. Ear canal infection can make the neck glands to get enlarged making it hard to open the jaws.
If the pain gets worse or takes more than 24 hours, you need to consult a doctor. Infection (otitis externals) in the ear canal can spread and damage underlying bones and cartilage.
How to unclog swollen ear canal
The ear canal can get clogged from buildup of pus and ear wax. Blockage in the ear can reduce the ability to hear properly and makes have a feeling of mucus or liquid within the ear canal. If the Eustachian tube doesn’t open and close properly such that equalizing pressure in the atmosphere and outside ear becomes difficult, you may find it hard to hear properly. There are many treatment for clogged ear canals.
Swollen ear canal treatment
A bump in the ear canal can be painful and itchy causing you discomfort especially if it affects the neighboring tissues and bones such as the jaw. If the inflammation is affecting your health, check your doctor for treatment. It could be a signal of a serious health condition like cancer or HIV/AIDS. Below are some of the medical treatment to relieve swelling in your canal.
Your healthcare provider will prescribe oral antibiotics to cure the infection present in the ear canal. Otitis externa can be treated by flouroquinolone antibiotics that are specifically meant for the ear. This drugs can also help cure otitis media that has a perforation or that is within ear tubes. To help relieve pain, over- the –counter medication such as pseudoephedrine can be used once every six hours for 2 to 3 days.
Oral treatment are highly recommended if you have a discharge from the ear. If you are allergic to drugs inform your doctor, he will recommend the right medication that are slightly less sensitive.
- Over- the – counter pain relievers may be taken to relieve symptoms such as pain
- A small suction can be used to drain excess fluids, pus and other foreign materials from the ear canal
- Topical antibiotics or antifungal ear drops are preferred to treat ear infection causing the swelling.
- Dead tissues may be removed through surgical procedure. This helps to treat malignant otitis externa
- Severe pain can be relieved by narcotics or codeine
Once the symptoms reduces minimize putting water into the ear canal for up to three weeks to help quick recovery.
Swollen ear canal home treatment
Can you treat a swelling in the ear canal at home naturally? Ear canal swelling or inflammation are caused by infections of bacteria or viruses in the middle ear. To treat the infection in the ear that causes a lump or swelling, you can use the following home treatment.
1. Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil has antibacterial properties that can cure infections and give an instant relief from pain. Below here are the steps you need to follow.
- Add two –three drops of tea tree oil, two teaspoon of olive oil, a tablespoon of colloidal silver and two tablespoon of apple cider vinegar.
- Slightly warm the mixture
- Using a dropper, fill the infected ear with the mixture
- Allow it to sit for about four minutes
- Do this procedure several times a day for three days.
Garlic is known for its antimicrobial properties and natural pain relieving ability. It can therefore be used effectively at home for ear infection. Here’s how to use garlic:
- Add two –three fresh garlic cloves in water
- Boil for 5 – 10 minutes
- Crush them and add salt
- Immerse a clean piece of cloth or face towel into the mixture
- Drain excess solution out the cloth
- Put the wet cloth on the affected ear
Alternatively, drink the 2 to 3 glasses of garlic solution daily. This also helps to speed up the healing process.
3.Alcohol and Apple Cider Vinegar
A swollen ear canal can get clogged as a result of bacterial infection. Here’s how to use a combination of apple cider vinegar and alcohol to unclog your inflamed ear canal.
- Mix equal proportion of alcohol and apple cider vinegar
- Use a dropper to put few drops of this mixture in the infected ear canal
- Place a cotton ball in the ear to prevent the mixture from spilling and tilt your head
- Rest for about 10 minutes to enhance the unclogging
- Drain the ear and wipe with a clean towel or cotton wool
A Video Showing How to Drain Ear Infection
SOURCES and REFERENCES
- Ear problems: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/health-tools/search-by-symptom/ear-problems.html
- Ear Canal Problems: http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/ear-canal-problems-swimmers-ear-topic-overview
- Cancer of the Ear canal:http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/cancers-in-general/cancer-questions/treatment-for-cancer-of-the-ear-canal-and-middle-ear
- Otitis Externa:http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/otitis-externa/Pages/Introduction.aspx
- Dermatitis of the Ear Canal (Chronic Otitis Externa):http://www.msdmanuals.com/professional/ear,-nose,-and-throat-disorders/external-ear-disorders/dermatitis-of-the-ear-canal-(chronic-otitis-externa)
- Infections of the Inner Ear: http://vestibular.org/labyrinthitis-and-vestibular-neuritis