Do you have a lump on your neck, back, or behind your ear? This is what it means!

Lumps behind the ears can occur for a variety of reasons. Most lumps are relatively benign, but sometimes they can be a sign of a more serious condition. The lump behind the ear can be hard or soft. Some are sensitive to the touch, while others are painless. Let’s take a look at some of the causes of lumps behind the ears, possible treatments, and when to see a doctor.

Common infections can cause a bump behind the ear
Lumps behind the ears are often caused by the common cold, flu, sore throat, or respiratory infection. This is because the lymph nodes behind the ear become swollen and inflamed due to the infection. In most cases, swollen glands are not a cause for concern. If it goes away on its own or is caused by a bacterial infection, it can be easily treated with antibiotics. Your doctor may recommend over-the-counter pain relievers for any discomfort. You can easily find these at Smith’s Pharmacy or other local drug store.

If the infection is more serious, the lymph nodes can become enlarged, swollen, red, and painful.

A serious infection that can cause a lump behind the ear is mastoiditis. Mastoiditis is a bacterial infection of the mastoid bone behind the ear. This usually occurs when a middle ear infection is left untreated and spreads. It usually occurs in young children, but mastoiditis can occur at any age. Symptoms of mastoiditis are:

Severe pain behind the ear
ear drain
Fever
Headache
If mastoiditis is not treated, it can lead to hearing loss, meningitis, blood clots, and facial nerve paralysis. If you have symptoms of mastoiditis, it is important to seek medical attention right away.

Skin diseases and non-cancerous masses
In addition to infections, many skin conditions can cause bumps behind the ears. Acne is most common on the face, but it can appear anywhere on the body. Acne behind the ear can usually be left alone or treated with an over-the-counter cream.

Other causes include fatty masses (lipomas) and cysts. Both growths are smooth and usually painless. In some cases, the cyst becomes infected and antibiotics are required. However, most of them disappear on their own. If you have a lipoma that is causing discomfort, it can be surgically removed.

Could it be cancer?
Sometimes a lump that can be felt behind the ear is a tumor. Most tumors behind the ear are benign, so cancer in this part of the body is rare. If the tumor is solid, fixed in place, and/or irregular in shape, it may indicate cancer.

If the lump is painful, appears suddenly, or is accompanied by other symptoms, it is recommended that you see your doctor.

If you’re concerned about a lump behind your ear or if you’ve had a swollen gland for a few weeks, it’s best to seek medical attention to rule out anything serious.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact Spartanburg & Greer Ear, Nose & Throat today.

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