ZocdocAnswersWhat are the symptoms of cholesteatoma?

Question

What are the symptoms of cholesteatoma?

I have very bad allergies and now I've been feeling dizzy and feeling an ache in my ears before I go to bed. Is this cholesteatoma? I am 31 and this hasn't happened before.

Answer

I am sorry to hear that you have been dealing with dizziness and an ear ache in your ears before you go to bed. Being that I am unable to take a thorough history and examine you well (including otoscopy), there is no way that I can tell you with certainty that you don't have a cholesteatoma. Thus, to get this answer definitively, you will need to make an appointment to be seen by an ENT. The differential for different things that can cause dizziness is very broad and more than I can cover in this setting. What I can do is give you some info on cholesteatoma. The lining of your external auditory canal (everything from the tympanic membrane aka ear drum out) is made up of keratinizing squamous epithelium. The middle ear (internal to the tympanic membrane) is lined with mucosa. A cholesteatoma is when the keratinizing squamous cells get into the middle ear. This can happen from numerous processes including a hole in the tympanic membrane, or from a retraction pocket due to negative pressure in the middle ear. The body has no way to get the squamous debris out of the middle ear, so it grows in an expansile fashion and erodes through normal structures like your bones of hearing. Thus they definitely need to be removed surgically. However, it is rare that they form bilaterally in a simultaneous fashion, so it is more likely that you (I'm assuming that your process is in both ears since you said "ears" plural) have a different process such as eustacian tube dysfunction affecting you. The way to find out is by making an appointment to see an ENT. Hope this helps.

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

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