Sometimes small lumps that cause discomfort or itching appear on the back of the ears. This area of the body is made up of different structures such as the skin, subcutaneous cellular tissues, adipose tissues and the mastoid bone. Depending on the location of that little ball behind the ear, which is causing discomfort, we speak of one or another condition. Why is a lump behind my ear? Below we explain what the most common causes are.
Behind the ear there is not only the skin, but also the mastoid bone. A lump behind the ear can be related to inflammation of this bone, especially in children, leading to mastoiditis. This disease causes an inflammatory condition, with general malaise, ear discomfort, fever, secretions, headaches and redness of the ear.
Mastoiditis can be caused by multiple factors. The most common is the infection of the middle ear, which requires an antibiotic treatment for its elimination. If you feel that you have a lump behind your ear, go to the doctor to make a diagnosis and tell you what is the best treatment to follow.
Epidermal or sebaceous cysts develop on the skin. They are generally circular, elastic cysts and may have a pimple in their central part. To differentiate them from adenopathies, the specialist looks at whether the lump moves or not, that is, whether the skin slides over the cyst. If it does not do so and the skin is moved together with the cyst, it is called a sebaceous cyst.
The epidermal cyst can be of different sizes, from very small to several centimeters. It does not react to oral medications or creams. Its treatment is surgical, but it is only operated when the following circumstances occur:
In many cases they are asymptomatic and intervention is not necessary; you just have to check them from time to time to see how they evolve, bearing in mind that these sebum cysts are not bad. Sometimes they change or decrease their size, but being encapsulated glands over time they grow back.
Lumps behind the ear can also be lymph nodes that are swollen. When this happens they are called adenopathies. They have recognizable characteristics:
Lymphadenopathy does not usually appear isolated. When the lump is related to the ganglion chain, it is often accompanied by other equal ones in the area. These nodes can become inflamed by an old infection that the patient had in childhood, or at some other time in life, causing them to become hypertrophic. They measure around half a centimeter although, on occasions, when they are inflammatory nodes reactive to an infectious process in the scalp, they can reach more than 1 cm, be painful on palpation, and present redness at the level of the skin. It could be an infection due to folliculitis or a parasitism (lice on the scalp). The nodes are the signal that the body is fighting infection. Once the infection clears, so will the nodes.
It is usually difficult to differentiate lipomas from an epidermal cyst, they can appear in any area where fatty tissue is located. The most common age group to develop this disease is between forty and sixty years old.
These balls of fat are usually larger and benign. They do not have a defined outline at all and their touch is soft, they can be moved easily if we press it with our fingers. The treatment they require is surgical, if they cause discomfort and pain, they should be removed. By means of a liposuction it could also be removed using a large syringe and a needle.
Bumps and lumps behind the ears caused by acne appear as a black, white or reddish. It is simply the excessive production of fat that accumulates in the pores of the skin and that also appears on the face, neck or back, among other parts of the body. The causes can range from stress and hormonal changes to the effect of some medications. The only complication that can exist is that it becomes infected.
To treat acne, it is essential to go to a dermatologist as he will evaluate your case and, if he deems it appropriate, will prescribe the most appropriate creams or medications.
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Generally, lumps behind the ear do not pose any health hazard. However, it is advisable to go to the doctor for a physical examination, in order to obtain a proper diagnosis and, if necessary, treatment. Still, you should consider certain factors before downplaying it:
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These types of lumps and bumps often disappear without you having to do anything. However, there are some cases that require treatment with topical medications. The most important thing is that you pay attention to the condition of the lump behind the ear. If you notice any of the alterations that we have mentioned before or that this affects your hearing, it is important that you go to the doctor to prevent it from getting worse.
They require surgery when:
In most of the times they do not produce symptoms, so in that case surgery would not be necessary. Checking them often to see how they develop would help, these sebum cysts are not bad, so there is no need to worry. From time to time they decrease or change their size, over time they grow back as encapsulated glands.
This plant is known because antibacterial properties are attributed to it, therefore it is considered that it can be an ally to the disappearance of a lump behind the ear. In fact, several studies indicate that several of its components (such as ethanol or methanol) have antimicrobial properties, so they can be useful to alleviate some bacterial diseases, such as infections.
Due to this, it is considered that by applying aloe vera on the area with the lump, the microbes that caused its appearance could not have more opportunity to spread.
Castor oil has traditionally been used in popular culture to treat wounds and pain, because it is believed to have anti-inflammatory properties. Some recent studies have confirmed that this product does indeed have a certain anti-inflammatory and antioxidant action, which is why it could be beneficial in reducing inflammation.
For its part, dandelion is considered to have antibacterial properties, so, in combination with castor oil, it could help reduce the lump behind the ear.
Apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid, a substance that can help fight infection and bacteria. In fact, various studies indicate that it has antibacterial and antiseptic properties. However, it is important to bear in mind that it is still an acid, so if you have sensitive skin or have a wound, apple cider vinegar could cause irritation. If this is your case, we recommend that you use one of the other remedies.
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