Note: If the condition is accompanied by severe pain, fever and does not improve within 5 days, consult your doctor.
Ear discharge, medically known as otorrhea, refers to any fluid that comes from an affected ear. It is quite common and can affect people of all ages, including infants and small children.
Drainage from an ear can be a sign of several conditions, depending on the type of fluid. Usually, the ears discharge earwax that your body produces naturally.
Unusual discharge can be due to a ruptured eardrum, an injury, trauma to the ear canal or an infection of the middle ear. Other causes include eczema and other skin irritations in the ear canal as well as swimmer’s ear.
Depending on the underlying cause, you may also experience pain, a heavy feeling inside the ear and a general discomfort.
Treatment for ear discharge depends on its cause. For mild and acute ear discharge, many simple home remedies can help treat the problem and associated discomfort.
However, always consult your doctor if the drainage does not resolve within a few days. Also, immediately see a doctor if the drainage has a foul smell.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for ear discharge.
1. Allow Gravity to Do its Work
When it comes to treating ear discharge, it is important to remove all the fluid buildup in the affected ear. The best way to do this is to use gravity.
- Tilt the side of your head with the affected ear parallel to the ground. Put a clean finger in your ear and try to create a vacuum to help dislodge the fluid. Use a cotton bud or towel to clean up the discharge.
- You can also simply lie down on your side with a towel under your ear.
2. Warm Compress
A warm compress is a very good natural treatment for ear discharge. The heat promotes the flow of fluid and helps ease any associated pain.
- Dip a clean washcloth in hot water and wring out the excess. Place the moist washcloth over the ear for 2 to 5 minutes, then tilt your head to promote fluid drainage. Take a break and reapply as needed.
- You can also try laying your head on a heating pad wrapped in a towel for a few minutes at regular intervals.
3. Steam Inhalation
Another good way to treat ear discharge is steam inhalation. Steam will help open the Eustachian tube to encourage the release of fluid trapped in the ear. This in turn will promote smooth drainage.
- Put boiling water in a large bowl and add a few drops of eucalyptus or any essential oil of your choice.
- Place a towel over your head and inhale the steam slowly for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Tilt your head to one side so that the fluid can flow out.
- Repeat as needed.
4. White Vinegar and Rubbing Alcohol
White vinegar has an antibacterial effect to treat an infection in the middle ear. Plus, rubbing alcohol works as a drying agent to promote evaporation of fluid buildup inside the ear.
- Mix equal parts of white vinegar and rubbing alcohol and fill an ear dropper with this solution.
- Lie down with the affected ear facing upward.
- Put 2 to 4 drops into the ear and wait 10 minutes.
- Tilt the ear to the other side to allow drainage.
- Repeat twice daily to break down infection and wax.
To treat middle ear infection that causes fluid discharge, try garlic. It has natural antibiotic properties that can fight off the infection really well.
- Crush 2 to 3 garlic cloves to extract the fresh juice.
- Use a dropper to put 3 or 4 drops into the ear.
- Wait 5 minutes, then blow dry the ear (hold the dryer about 12 inches away from the head).
- Repeat twice daily for a few days.
As the garlic juice starts healing the infection, you will notice less fluid discharge.
6. Neem Oil
The oil of neem, also known as Indian lilac or margosa, is also effective in treating infection and inflammation of the middle ear. In addition, it helps reduce ear pain.
- Put 2 or 3 drops of neem oil into the affected ear using a dropper.
- Leave it for 10 to 15 minutes, then tilt your head to remove the fluid.
- Repeat 2 or 3 times a day to get quick results.