Is swollen, lumpy earlobe dangerous?

Dear doctor, after getting my ear piercing, my earlobe is swollen, red and painful. Is this condition dangerous and is there any way to relieve the pain immediately? (Linh, 19 years old, Hanoi).


The earlobe is the bottom fleshy part of the ear, containing only the skin, connective tissue, and fat. Swollen earlobe is larger than normal, red skin, hot, painful sensation.

Causes of swollen earlobes are infections, allergies, trauma, or tumors. In particular, ear piercing is a common cause, common in women due to the need for beauty piercing. Usually, after the piercing, the ear will be swollen, the pain is mild and relieved after a few days, so don’t worry too much. However, in some cases of using unclean tools, the earlobe may be severely and prolonged swelling, swelling, redness, pain when pressing on the earlobe, even pus discharge, need to go to the doctor for early treatment, avoid symptoms.

Swollen earlobes can be caused by insect bites at night. To relieve pain, wash the bitten area with soap and water. Apply ice to the bitten area, replace it every 10 minutes, to reduce pain. If there are signs of danger in the whole body, quickly go to the nearest emergency medical facility.

In addition, when the sebaceous glands secrete a lot of mucus such as during puberty or do not clean the ears, the pores become narrow, causing stagnation and accumulation of sebum leading to cysts in the ear lobes. In severe cases, these cysts can become infected with bacteria, forming an abscess in the earlobe, causing high fever, swollen earlobes, and pus discharge.

To reduce pain, the patient can apply ice to the swollen earlobe to constrict local blood vessels, reducing swelling. Take over-the-counter pain relievers such as paracetamol. In case of insect bites and atopic dermatitis, topical corticosteroid and antibacterial ointments can be applied.

If the swelling and pain persists for more than a week, or is accompanied by symptoms of high fever and local pus, you should go to a medical facility. The doctor will make an incision to drain the pus and take antibiotics, anti-inflammatory, and reduce swelling according to the prescription. In severe cases, the patient is surgically removed the tumor when the inflammation is stable.

Assoc.Prof.Dr Pham Thi Bich Dao

Department of Ear, Nose and Throat, Hanoi Medical University Hospital


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