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What causes swelling behind left ear?

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Pain Medicine & Palliative Care Specialist
Practicing since : 1983
Answered : 1337 Questions
I woke up this morning with a 'goose egg" behind my left ear. It is sore to the touch. I just awhile ago took two generic Tylenol. Should I wait and see how it goes or call my doctor right away?
Posted Mon, 4 Aug 2014 in Infections
Answered by Dr. Kerry Pottinger 1 hour later
Brief Answer:
Abscess or infected sebaceous cyst.

Detailed Answer:
Thank you for using Healthcare Magic. From the information you have provided, the most likely causes of the swelling are either an abscess or a cyst. As the swelling developed overnight, I suspect this is an abscess. This is why it is painful. It could be a sebaceous cyst that has become infected which would also cause pain.
I suggest you may need antibiotics. Therefore, I advise you see your doctor in the next 24 hours or go to the ED. You can then be examined for confirmation.
In the meantime, continue with the pain-killers and keep the area clean.
I hope this is of help. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Dr K A Pottinger,
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