ZocdocAnswersIs this swimmer's ear?

Question

Is this swimmer's ear?

My ear has been aching for several days. I'm a guy, 19. I thought it was swimmer's ear until a few days ago when a little blood came out of it. Should I go to the doctor, or can swimmer's ear cause bleeding?

Answer

You should definitely go to the doctor. Any time you have any bleeding from an aching ear, there is no way to be sure that it is not something serious. Swimmer's ear is slang for external otitis also known as an infection of the ear canal. It can be painful and often requires antibiotic ear drops. If left alone, it can progress to a worse infection. Bleeding is not typical, unless you stuck something in your ear while it was infected. Another possibility is that you have a middle ear infection known as otitis media. This would cause ear pain that is often described as a constant ache. If your ear drum were to burst, then you may get some ear drainage that could look bloody. Since these are all possibilities that would require treatment, you need to get seen soon. I suggest that you first schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. Her or she will be able to examine you ears closely and determine if you have external otitis, otitis media, or a simple abrasion within your ear canal. You very well may warrant a referral to an ear nose and throat doctor, but I would not jump to this quite yet. Good luck.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.