When you find a lump behind your ear, it’s often not a cause for immediate alarm. These lumps can have various origins and may sometimes disappear without any intervention. Let’s delve deeper to understand the potential causes of these lumps and when it might be essential to seek medical attention.
What Could Be Causing That Lump?
There are numerous potential causes for a lump behind your ear, ranging in severity:
- Acne: This skin condition can also affect most areas of the body, including behind the ears. Inflamed acne pimples may lead to uncomfortable acne cysts. Treatment can vary based on individual circumstances and can include topical applications to oral medications.
- Lipomas: Common and benign, lipomas are lumps of fat that can appear anywhere fat cells are present. They are usually soft and painless. While surgical removal is an option, it’s not always necessary. Your doctor can guide you through the best course of treatment.
- Cysts: These are fluid-filled sacs that can occur anywhere on the skin.
- Swollen lymph nodes: Found in various parts of the body, including behind the ears, lymph nodes help filter toxins for the immune system. Various factors, from infections to diseases, can cause them to swell. Your doctor will guide you through suitable treatment options based on the root cause.
- Mastoiditis: This serious condition occurs when a bacterial infection affects the mastoid, a part of the skull bone behind the ear. Immediate medical attention is necessary, and treatment typically includes antibiotics or, occasionally, surgery.
- Cancer: Though rare, cancer could be a cause for a lump behind the ear. These lumps may have an irregular shape, feel hard and be immovable. Diagnostic tests can confirm if a lump is cancerous, after which your doctor will guide you through treatment options.
When Should You Seek Medical Attention?
If you discover a lump behind your ear, particularly if it’s irregular in shape, painful, has a discharge, changing or growing or is accompanied by other symptoms, consult your doctor. While it’s often a minor concern, a consultation can provide reassurance and necessary treatment.
For inquiries about your ears, nose and throat or to set up an appointment, please contact Advantage ENT & Audiology.