Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"What is the cause of the liquid discharge coming from my ear?"
For several years now I have had a liquid discharge from my right ear. It builds up and blocks hearing in my ear several times through out the day and occasionally will run out of my ear. I have never had this with my left ear. The fluid is usually clear, but occasionally is varying shades of yellow from light to dark like normal earwax. I would like to know the possible causes of this so that I can take actions to correct it.
This is an important question to discuss with your doctor. There are many different things that could be causing this problem, and I am sorry that you have had to deal with it for so long. First, lets start with the most common problem: ear wax. I would say most of the time that people tell me that they have had fluid coming out of their ear, it is wax that has gotten moist, or is other fluid that somehow got in their ear and is draining. Other common problems, and those that need to be treated, include recurrent ear infections. Obviously, this is not a normal phenomenon in and of itself, and so it should be treated appropriately. There may be pain or decreased hearing associated with the infection as well, which would also be warning signs. Finally, one of the most concerning things would be if there is a cause for recurrent infections, such as a skin cyst that can form in the middle ear when there have been repeated infections in the past. Doctors call these cholesteatomas, and they usually need to be removed surgically. As you can see, there can be many causes for your draining ear. Please speak with your doctor to find if there is anything more that can, or should, be done.
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