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Ear, discharge from

Also caused otorrhoea, an emission of fluid from the ear.  Not all discharge is the same; it may be clear or coloured, watery or thick or foul smelling, and intermittent or continuous.


A discharge from the ear could be due to an outer ear infection.  It can also follow perforation of the eardrum, which is often due to a middle ear infection.  Seldomly, after a skull fracture, cerebrospinal fluid or blood can be discharged from the ear.

Diagnosis and treatment

A swab of the discharge would be taken and sent to a laboratory for analysis to diagnose the cause of any infection.  X-rays of the bones of the skull can be taken if there has been a head injury or if a serious type of middle ear infection is suspected from the symptoms.  Hearing tests may also be performed.

Treatment depends on the cause and generally includes antibiotic drugs.

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