Otorrhea - The Debilitating Ear Problem

Otorrhea is a condition, where patients experience ear discharge or drainage. Generally, emission from the ear is not something common and generally treatment for this condition is provided only after diagnosing the cause for the same. Doctors ask their patients about the longevity of the issue and the severity of the issue and also the circumstances in which the issue began. Some of the factors like brain trauma, foreign object into the ear and infection can lead to otorrhea.

Causes of otorrhea:

• In general, an infection that is present in the middle of the ear can lead to this issue. The infection might have been caused due to bacteria or virus and there will be an inflammation as well. When the discharge increases, it can result in ruptured eardrum.

• An infection to the outer ear can also lead to otorrhea. This can be caused due to excess water getting into the ear or can also be caused due to some skin conditions because of hot weather.

• An obstruction in the ear canal can also lead to such a discharge from the ear. This happens when a strange object is inserted into the ear deeply, thereby causing inflammation.

• It can also be caused due to an injury to the brain as well. When the brain is greatly injured, cerebral fluid can drain through the ear and this is a condition that needs immediate medical attention.

For some patients, there will be a discharge of thin liquid, while for some it can be thick with pus. For some patients it can be yellowish or greenish discharge with foul smell as well.

Symptoms of Otorrhea:

• Bleeding in nose

• Constant pressure in the ear

• Sensation as if the ear is stuffed

• Partial loss of hearing ability

• Pain or discomfort in both or a single ear

• Unsteadiness or dizziness

Treatment for otorrhea:

The first and foremost thing the doctor will do is to conduct an appraisal of the occurrence of otorrhea. This is done with suction with a view to clear the discharge. Then, the doctor will identify the exact spot of the discharge. Until the therapy is finished, the doctor will recommend the patient to avoid swimming and water contact to the ears. Also, an antibiotic for external application may be recommended. The patients will also be recommended not to wash the discharge with water as it may cause perforation to the eardrum, which in turn can lead to loss in hearing ability.

For confirming any signs of meningitis, a spinal tap might be recommended. When the exact location of the discharge cannot be found, the doctor might suggest a method of treatment called as ‘trans-mastoid’. When the exact location is found, ‘trans-canal’ treatment method may be followed. If the discharge is disturbing the patient to a great extent, a tube might be inserted into the ear for completely draining the discharge. If the discharge is caused by a foreign object, necessary steps will be taken for removing the same. If it is caused due to brain injury, a neurologist consultation will be recommended.

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