Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Is the liquid coming out of my ear just water?"
I woke up today and there was a wet spot on my pillow. Then more liquid came out of my ear when I was leaving the house on the stairs. Is this just water or is there fluid in my ear? Would fluid in my ear be bad for me?
I would recommend that you go to see your primary care doctor. Generally speaking, you should not have liquid coming out of your ear. Of course, immediately after being in the shower or otherwise getting wet a bit of liquid may come out, but this should not happen outside of this context. One condition that needs to be ruled out is otitis externa, which is an inflammation of the external ear canal. Often there is pain or redness around the ear canal, or pain if you wiggle the ear. However, the only symptom may also be discharge from the ear, especially if the infection is just getting going. Your doctor will be able to confirm whether or not this is otitis externa; if so, typical treatment includes good ear hygiene as well as medicated drops to decrease the inflammation and kill off the bacteria that are responsible for the infection. Another condition to be ruled out is an ear infection with a rupture ear drum. Although this doesn't occur often in adults, it certainly is possible, and your doctor will, once again, be able to tell quickly after examining your ear with an otoscope. If this is an ear infection, then antibiotics will be necessary.
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