ZocdocAnswersI have clear fluid leaking out of the skin behind both ears, what could be wrong?

Question

I have clear fluid leaking out of the skin behind both ears, what could be wrong?

The right earlobe & middle cartilage is swollen & very sore but the left looks normal.

Answer

I am sorry to hear that you have a sore ear, and that there is clear fluid leaking out which has you worried. I am happy to give you my thoughts as to what might be going on, but I am not going to be able to tell you with any certainty exactly what is going on since I am unable to examine you, or take a thorough history. It is for this reason that I am going to recommend that you go see an ENT (Ear Nose Throat) physician to get evaluated. They should be able to examine you, ask questions, and then tell you what is going on. I want to ask you a bunch of questions, but it is possible that you may have something called relapsing polychondritis. This is an autoimmune problem where the body's immune system (for unknown reasons) targets the cartilage and causes an intense inflammatory reaction. Classically it only affects the cartilage, and spares the ear lobes (since those don't have any cartilage in them). If the ear lobe is truly involved, then this isn't likely the cause. I would think of other processes, such as an infection. An ENT should be able to take a look and give you a good idea. I wish you all the best.

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