Otorrhea is a condition in which there is pus like discharge from the ear. It could possible due to ear infection in the middle ear or ear canal or anywhere inside the eardrum. You can see thin fluid draining from the ear/ears and it is a rare phenomenon. It would be embarrassing to have fluid like discharge draining from your ear. It can possibly be due to ear infection or presence of any foreign particles inside or due to brain injury. Your doctor will have to find out the root cause of otorrhea for giving proper treatment. The therapy will be based on the causative factor.
Otorrhea Causes :
Ear infection is the major cause of fluid discharge. Otitis media is the medical term given to ear infection which can cause inflammation of the middle ear. Bacteria or virus can be responsible for infecting the ear. It begins when the glue like mucus gets accumulated in the ears and increase in mucus may cause the fluid to drain from the ear. It is commonly seen in children.
Otorrhea is formed due to outer ear infection called otitis externa. This infection is popularly called as ‘swimmer’s ear” in which the outer layer of the ear develops infection due to excess of water or humid weather. In both the type of infection, moist fluid runs out from the ear. The affected person will get a thin clear fluid which is usually yellow or white in color. It may have an unpleasant smell if it is due to bacterial infection. Presence of any impediment on the ear canal can also cause otorrhea.
Finally when there is heavy brain injury due to accident some part of cerebrospinal fluid can drain through the ear. Exposure to excess of water can also cause ear infection. If the person falls and injures his head, he may get pus like discharge from his ear. In case of any perforation (hole) in the eardrum it can cause otorrhea.
Symptoms Of Otorrhea :
Otorrhea is characterized by fluid discharge from the ear. There can be discomfort, unsteadiness and pain on the affected ear. It may cause partial loss in hearing for some people. The person can feel constant pressure inside the ear and it can reduce the normal sensation of the ear. In rare cases, there will be nose bleeding.
Otorrhea Types :
There are two types of otorrhea. CSF otorrhea (cerebrospinal) is one in which there is brain injury and part of cerebrospinal fluid gets discharged from the ear. It can be due to skull fracture, brain tumor, or any serious infection inside the brain. Meningitis can also produce CSF drainage from the ear. Next one is the purulent otorrhea in which there would be cloud like fluid pouring from the infected ear.
Otorrhea Treatment :
- The doctor will have to find the root cause of ear infection and pus discharge from the ear. He would use a suction pump to drain the fluid completely so as to examine the internal part of the ear clearly.
- Antibiotic ointment is prescribed for healing and reducing the inflammation inside. One should not use water for washing the fluid discharge since it may worsen the problem by sending more water inside the ear causing ear perforation.
- In case of CSF otorrhea like that of meningitis infection, your doctor would give course of strong antibiotics. Trans canal or trans mastoid method is used to treat CSF otorrhea for draining the fluid inside.
- If the person gets chronic inflammation of the ear, then the doctor would recommend putting a tube inside the ear for facilitating proper drainage. In case if the drainage is due to foreign particle inside the ear, then the doctor may take steps to remove it surgically.