What causes ear bleeding? What are some of the symptoms to expect? Learn more about not just causes but also cases in toddlers, and those due to piercing infection, zits as well as itching ones. You will also learn about remedies and treatments.
Ear bleeding is usually a drainage that contains blood and it can be a combination of pus, wax, fluid, and blood. In fact, it may not always mean that the blood is originating from the ear. Therefore, this should not create a concern and even worries.
The medical term used to describe this situation is known as otorrhea, which can result to discharge that is clear, white or discolored fluid, a waxy discharge, pus or even blood. Bleeding anywhere in the body is a sign of a ruptured blood vessel.
The place where the bleeding appears is not necessarily the source of the bleeding since you may see the blood coming out through the small hole in your ear but it does not mean that the bleeding is here or even within the ear canal. The blood could, in fact, be coming from deep inside or structures surrounding the middle and inner ear.
Anatomy description and picture
It is necessary to have a basic understanding of the ear anatomy since it is divided into three sections: the outer, which comprises the external part and ear canal), the middle (comprises the eardrum and three tiny bones called ossicles), and the inner (comprises the nerve endings that detect sound waves).
The canal transmits sound waves to the eardrum. It transmits the mechanical force to the three small bones in the middle ear. This force is then transmitted to the oval window of the inner ear. From here the mechanical force is converted into nerve signals by the cochlea and relayed to the brain where it is perceived as sound.
In case of this problem, there are many possible reasons. Some of the common causes include the following:
Disseminated intravascular coagulation
This situation is usually considered to be a serious disorder such that the blood clots abnormally and then reverse leading to abnormal bleeding even from a minor injury. In extreme instances, the bleeding may even arise with no injury. It is an uncommon cause bleeding.
When the eardrum burst or gets torn, you may experience ear bleeding. It can result when a foreign material pierces it, loud sounds, infections and sudden changes in air pressure, which could be caused by a hand slap.
In some instances, a perforated eardrum may not always present with bleeding from the ear and some minor perforations go unnoticed and heal on its own in time.
Malignant otitis media
It usually infects the outer ear and it does not present with bleeding. An extreme condition form of this infection, which may extend into the bones of the skull, is known as malignant otitis externa.
The area becomes very susceptible to bleeding with even slight irritation or injury in malignant otitis media and is usually caused by inserting a foreign object into the canal as a way of removing wax.
When this happens at the base of the skull, expect ear bleeding. Usually, there is a CSF leak out of the ear (otorrhea) and nose (rhinorrhea). Blood will only be evident if there is also a rupture of a blood vessel with the blood mixing with CSF and exiting. It is a rare occurrence and mainly occurs with severe head trauma.
It is a benign growth that appears from the skin of the outer ear canal or eardrum and it is usually caused by repeated irritation of the area often linked to chronic infections. Bleeding from the polyp is not a common symptom but it can occur with injury from a foreign object. These growths should not be confused with a cholesteatoma. Get more insight from asking the doctor now
This refers to any object that should not naturally occur in the ear, such objects like a cotton swab, matchstick, pens or pencils and so on. A foreign object may not necessarily cause bleeding on its own unless it perforates the eardrum or causes a break in the skin lining the canal. Children may also place small toys, beads or food in their ears.
This is one of the recent concerns among many people due to an outbreak of Ebola diseases especially to some western part of the African continent and this outbreak can even spread to other continents like America due social integration.
In the late stages of the disease, the virus causes the breakdown of blood vessels which may then lead to bleeding from the orifices such as the mouth, nose, ears, and anus. While not all viral hemorrhagic fevers are deadly, some like Ebola can have as high as a 90% mortality rate.
To add to the causes this bleeding we have discussed, get more information on causes of discharge from the ears.
Symptoms you may have
Depending on the underlying cause, you may experience symptoms in addition to bloody discharge from the ear including:
- Buzzing sound
- Facial weakness
- A headache
- Hearing loss
Ear bleeding inside
This is usually the drainage that is accompanied by the blood. Sometimes this discharge is usually a combination of pus, wax, fluid, and blood. Although there are other possible causes, the most common cause is a ruptured or perforated eardrum.
Also, infection due to bacteria or viruses invasion makes their way into the middle ear. Infections cause fluid to build up, which can lead to a discharge when tempered with or sometimes on its own.
An increase in pressure, such as when you’re flying in an airplane or scuba diving, can result in trauma to your ear. These situations may cause your eardrum to rupture or tear thus resulting in bleeding.
Bleeding due to piercing infection
The most common cause of infection on the ear piercings is the transfer of bacteria from dirty hands to the piercing site, according to the Association of Professional Piercers. You’ll know your ear piercing is infected if it bleeds or secretes thick, green, smelly pus, the site looks red, or it feels swollen and tender.
Many people complain of bumps on their piercings that bleeds after sometimes. While proper care usually keeps these from forming, sometimes a piercing gets a bump with the best of care. Identifying the bump and treating it can reduce pain, bleeding and help you’re piercing heal faster.
The reasons for getting a bump could be always different, from non – sterilized equipment to non-professional aftercare treatment.
Another frequent cause is earrings that are too tight either because the post is too short or the clasp is closed too tightly. Tight ones do not allow air to enter the channel through the earlobe. Also, the pressure from tight earrings reduces blood flow to the earlobe and makes it more vulnerable to infection.
Ear bleeding in toddler
Bleeding infants in most occasions is due to infection. Childhood ear infections usually result from cold or other upper-respiratory infection, which causes the lining of the Eustachian tube to swell, become congested and accumulate fluid. The fluid becomes a breeding ground for infection-causing germs.
The pain and bleeding will result in a temporary hearing loss, which your child may experience, may be due to the fluid putting pressure on the eardrum. The fever he/she may develop is due to the infection in the middle ear that his/her little body is fighting.
Some babies and toddlers may be especially susceptible to chronic ear infections since experts aren’t entirely sure why some kids get more infections than others.
Ear bleeding and itching
Itchy ears can feel irritating and bothersome and sometimes it can result in bleeding. Infected, itchy ears can be accompanied by; fever, discharge, and even swelling.
Bleeding and itchiness are caused by the following conditions:
- Dry skin
- Ear canal dermatitis
- Otitis externa
- Hearing aid use
Bleeding due to zits
Zits are sometimes known as sebaceous cysts inside the ear. According to St Mark James Training, zits are made up of dead cells and skin oils. They can develop overnight and are said to be the most common cysts that form here.
Here are the most common causes:
- Otitis externa, which is also called infection of the canal, which often leads to the swelling inside the ear. This can feel like a bump or a lump.
- Non-cancerous extoses and osteomas
Treatment and home remedies
For the case of treatments, you have many options including ear drops. However, we will not go to specifics since you first need proper diagnosis and your ENT expert prescribe the right medication.
For those who want to try some home remedies that will help reduce bleeding, swelling and pain, try the following:
It is a very good natural treatment for ear discharge. The heat promotes the flow of fluid and helps ease any associated pain.
It helps to treat discharge by opening the Eustachian tube to encourage the release of fluid trapped in the ear. This, in turn, will promote smooth drainage.
White vinegar and rubbing alcohol
White vinegar has an antibacterial effect to treat an infection in the middle ear while rubbing alcohol works as a drying agent to promote evaporation of fluid buildup inside it.
It has antibiotic properties that help keep the infection at bay and provide relief from pain. It is also considered to be the best remedy for ear discharge and bleeding.
This helps to cure any kind of infection and inflammation. Infection of the middle ear is one of the main causes of fluid or pus discharge.
It is effective in treating infection of the middle ear. The following procedures are necessary to adhere to while using onion:
- Extract the juice of 1 small onion.
- Heat the juice slightly to make it lukewarm.
- Put 2 or 3 drops into the ear.
- Wait 5 minutes, and then tilt your head to drain out the fluid.
- Use this remedy 2 or 3 times a day.