Finding a lump anywhere on your body can be a frightening experience. Some people experience lumps behind their ears. They can be hard or soft. Some may be tender to the touch, while others are painless. These lumps can occur for a variety of reasons, many of which are benign. Let’s take a look at some of the more common causes of lumps behind the ear, as well as when to seek treatment from a doctor.
Harmless Skin Conditions
- A common condition that causes pimples. While most acne occurs on the face, pimples can appear all over the body, including behind your ear. Often over-the-counter creams are sufficient treatment.
- These fatty lumps of tissue are a benign skin growth. They are soft and movable. Even though they are harmless they can sometimes cause discomfort. In cases where the discomfort becomes especially bothersome you can have the lump removed.
- Cysts are noncancerous sacs of fluid and dead skin cells. They are soft, and usually painless unless they become infected. If an infection occurs antibiotics can treat it. Otherwise, most cysts go away on their own.
Infections can cause the lymph nodes behind your ear to swell. These can be ear infections or infections in other parts of the body, such as:
- Cold or flu
- Strep throat
- Respiratory infections
- Infected teeth
- Gum disease
- Lyme disease
In this case, treatment will be less about the lump itself and more about treating the underlying infection. In some cases, the only treatment needed is rest and relaxation. A few days of watching Netflix on the couch and treating yourself to some Carminati Creamery should have you back to feeling like yourself. Other times, antibiotics might be needed.
Noncancerous or Cancerous Tumors
Occasionally a lump felt behind the ear is a tumor. However, just because it is a tumor does not mean it is cancerous. Cancerous tumors behind the ear are rather uncommon. Lumps that are cancerous are more likely to be hard, fixed in place, and uneven in shape.
When You Should See a Doctor
If you find a lump behind your ear you might be wondering whether you should see a doctor. While many causes of lumps will resolve on their own, you should always reach out to a medical professional if you are concerned. We strongly recommend seeing a doctor if your lump:
- Is painful
- Appears suddenly
- Is accompanied by other symptoms
If you have more questions about lumps behind the ear, or wish to schedule an appointment with an expert, call Pinnacle ENT Associates today.