Lump or bumps behind your ear? – here’s what it means
A lump, nodule or bump behind the ear is generally innocent. Different circumstances can lead to knots, bumps, or lumps behind your ears. If the lump causes pain or other discomfort or does not go away on its own, it is wise to make an appointment with the family doctor.
Many people know that lymph nodes in the neck can swell, for example, when you have a cold. Fewer people are familiar with the fact that lymph nodes behind the ear can also swell in case of cold or other infection. A lump behind the ear can also indicate a sebaceous gland cyst annoying but innocent lump.
Is it serious?
Generally, these formations do not pose any danger to your health. However, a medical examination is recommended to obtain a proper diagnosis.
However, you should consider certain factors:
- If the lump is huge or increases in size quickly, see a specialist.
- Small, round lumps are almost always harmless, but take precautions if they are irregular in shape or if you feel them moving.
- Also be alert to a change in colour or discharge from the lump, as well as to the appearance of one or more lumps on other parts of the body.
Lump or bump behind the ear Types
Lump Behind the ear
In most cases, a lump behind the ears is harmless. It may indicate an enlarged lymph node or a sebaceous gland cyst, but it is rarely a sign of a dangerous or life-threatening problem or condition. Different circumstances can lead to lumps, bumps, bumps, or lumps behind your ears. The most important causes are discussed.
Swollen lymph nodes
Lymph nodes are present in the neck, armpits and groins, but also behind the ears. Lymph nodes are small structures that are present throughout your body. Lymph nodes are very useful and play an essential role in the immune system. They ensure that infection or inflammation somewhere in the body does not spread to the rest of the body.
A lymph node contains many lymphocytes, white blood cells. These make antibodies against bacteria and viruses and destroy them. A lymph node swelling is often the result of an infection. With an upper respiratory infection, such as a cold in the nose or throator sinusitis, able to swell the lymph nodes in the neck, behind the ear.
Swollen lymph nodes Treatment
Treatment depends on the underlying cause. An upper respiratory tract infection often passes on its own. Paracetamol can help with the pain. Cancer requires specialist treatment.
Mastoiditis swelling behind the ears
Mastoiditis is a bacterial infection of the mastoid process or the excellent bone behind the ear. This condition is characterized by severe inflammation of the bone tissue. Children who develop an ear infection and do not receive (adequate) treatment may develop mastoiditis.
The condition can cause symptoms such as earache, headache and fever. Often there is also a temporary hearing loss because the sound is not properly directed through the ear canal and/or the middle ear to the inner ear. The mastoid process is painful and sometimes swelling, and redness occurs.
It is also striking that the ear is further away from the head. The pus can eat bone at an advanced stage. This can lead to infections elsewhere in the body, including meningitis (with headache, fever and stiff neck ) or a brain abscess.
Mastoiditis swelling Treatment
Treatment consists of administering antibiotics and placing a tube or diabolo, through which the fluid that has collected in the middle ear can go out.
Hump behind the ear through an abscess
An abscess can be another complication of middle ear infection. A subperiostal abscess may occur between the bone of the mastoid and the overlying peritoneum. The symptoms are very similar to mastoiditis. Bézold’s abscess is characterized by the extension of a mastoiditis to the soft parts of the neck.
A hump behind the ear Treatment
The treatment of the abscesses above consists of abscess drainage and remedial ear surgery. Puncture and antibiotics can also be used.
Ear infection or otitis media
Otis media is another term for an ear infection. An ear infection can be bacterial or viral. When an infection occurs, it can cause painful fluid retention and swelling. These symptoms can lead to visible swelling behind the ear.
Ear infection Treatment
Antibiotics can be prescribed to relieve the symptoms of a bacterial ear infection.
Lump behind the ear due to an atheroma cyst
An atheroma cyst or sebaceous gland cyst is an innocent condition. A sebaceous cyst is a subcutaneous lump that occurs when a hair follicle becomes clogged. They usually occur on the head, neck and torso. Most atheroma cysts cause little to no pain. However, they may cause inconvenience or irritation due to the location.
Atheroma cyst Treatment
A sebaceous cyst is an innocent bump and does not need treatment. If you experience mechanical and / or cosmetic problems, the doctor can remove the cyst.
Do you have a swollen lymph gland behind your ear? Then this means that you have come into contact with bacteria, which may have been caused by an infection. The infection may have passed you by, but your body has noticed it. The white blood cells in your lymph have started to multiply to combat the bacteria. Together, the white blood cells can fight bacteria and infections more easily. That is why this setup.
Fortunately, you do not have to worry if you are affected. After a while, luckily, it will ring again.
What to do if you notice a swelling in the neck?
Always consult a doctor for further investigation in the following circumstances.
• A local swelling or lump in the neck that lasts longer than 2 to 4 weeks.
• If you have one or more enlarged lymph nodes in the neck without being sick or inflammated.
• If the swelling in the neck is accompanied by other symptoms such as:
o unexplained weight loss,
o sweating violently at night,
o fever longer than five days,
o mouth sores that do not heal,
o getting sicker,
o extreme fatigue that does not go away.
• If the swelling feels hard and / or does not feel painful when touched.
• If the swelling keeps getting bigger and / or if you discover enlarged lymph nodes in more places.
• If there are also risk factors for the development of tumors, such as smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.
Sources and references
- Lymph nodes and cancer. (2015).
- Epidermoid cysts (sebaceous cysts): Definition. (2018).
- Lipoma: Definition. (2018).
- Lipoma: Treatments and drugs. (2018).
- Lymphadenopathy in children. (n.d.).
- Narita M. (n.d.). Lymphadenopathy.