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Dr. Andrew Rynne
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Suggest treatment for severe ear pain

Answered by
Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :1991

Answered : 3129 Questions

Posted on Thu, 27 Apr 2017 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
Question: I have a slight ear ache and a clear liquid (looks like water) is draining from it, not a lot, if I lay down there is a small wet area on my pillowcase.
Answered by Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh 1 hour later
Brief Answer:

Detailed Answer:
Hello and welcome,

Fluid coming out of the ear is typically from the ear canal or coming from behind the ear drum with the ear drum perforated.

The ear canal itself can become infected (otitis externa), or inflamed from a scratch. When it is infected, it hurts a great deal, especially if the canal is stimulated such as by manipulating the outer ear. Treatment is with antibiotic drops, often combined with steroid drops (in the same medicine) which help decrease the inflammation.

The ear canal can also produce a clear serous fluid in response to something inflaming/irritating it such as allergies. This would be more likely to itch than cause an ear ache.

There can be pressure behind the ear drum, coming from fluid in the middle ear, which can be pus from a bacterial infection (otitis media), or clear fluid after an ear infection has resolved, or clear fluid from allergies or other things that cause drainage down the throat. When this happens, sometimes the ear drum ruptures, and the pus or clear fluid drain out to the other side of the ear drum and out of the ear canal.

A doctor will be able to see what is going on by having a look in your ear with an otoscope. I recommend going in to be seen. If a clinic offers a physician's assistant or nurse practitioner, I suggest you ask for a physician so that this can be sorted out well.

Another possibility - if you took a shower or swam, sometimes water can remain in the canal (depending on ho yours is shaped) and not come out until you are in a particular position, such as lying down.

I hope this information helps. Please let me know if I can provide further information. Also, if you are willing, I welcome you to let me know how you are doing after you have had your ear looked at. One of the difficulties of telemedicine is not getting the opportunity for follow up!

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar

The User accepted the expert's answer

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