Lump Behind Ear

cyst-behind-earWhen it comes to painful or painless lump behind ear, the first response you have may be fear. That’s totally understandable. After all, ear lumps can be a sign of lymphoma or leukemia. But there’s some comfort in knowing that serious condition like leukemia is very rare here. Instead, in most cases you don’t need to worry about it at all since it is nothing but a minor illness that will recover even without needing medical care. However, It is worth mentioning that if an infection is involved you have to receive the treatments your doctor deems necessary.


Often caused by acute otitis media, mastoiditis refers to a bacterial infection that affects the mastoid bone, which is located behind the ear. This condition frequently occurs in kids and one of its main symptoms is redness and swelling behind ear. Because this is a potentially life-threatening condition, patients with mastoiditis usually need to receive antibiotic medication. Besides of this most common treatment, sometimes surgery and drainage are still required if this is a severe case.

Seborrheic dermatitis

Seborrheic dermatitis is a common skin disease that mainly occurs in your scalp and sometimes behind your ear. When it involves scalp, it is better known as dandruff. When it occur behind the ear, the main symptom is a red or yellow, itchy scaly pimples with white scales. Unfortunately, so far the exact cause of this skin disease is unknown. But what was certain is that it mostly attacks male adults. And topical corticosteroids and antifungal agents are the two main classes of treatment for this condition.

A swelling of the lymph nodes

Another possibility, as discussed earlier, is the swollen lymph nodes, which are often the result of inflammation caused by a viral infection such as rubella. As an important part of the immune system, lymph nodes are distributed widely throughout the body. That’s to say, it is found behind the ears too. Lymphadenopathy is a condition characterized by painful lump behind ear. In fact, the swelling is the result of immune cells collected together within the lymph node. However, one thing that you should know though is certain types of cancers often involve the lymph nodes too. So, in the former case, antibiotics are required to cure bacterial infections. In the latter case, treating cancer is the first priority.


When bacteria and viruses attack the area behind the ear, an abscess develops there. In fact, this is the normal reaction of the body’s immune system and the purpose is to isolate the infected area from the rest of the body. And the pus is mainly the dead bodies of the white blood cells that fight infection. Besides, this thick liquid still includes bacteria, dead tissue and others. When they accumulate enough for swelling and pain, an abscess will occur in specific areas of the body. In this case, surgical draining should be performed and next antibiotics are routinely prescribed to prevent an infection.


As the most common skin disease of adolescence, acne vulgaris is the result of oil and dead skin cells clogging up the pores. Sometimes when they develop deep within the skin the stubborn cystic acne bumps will occur and linger for longer time. Of course, it is entirely possible to appear behind ear. And the popular acne treatment include Salicylic acid washes, Benzoyl peroxide gels, Azelaic acid cream, Tretinoin (Retin-A), Antibiotics, and so on. However, it is a good idea to call you dermatologist if the above-mentioned recommended washes or gels.

Otitis Media

Otitis media is also one of the most common causes of bump behind ear. This is a group of inflammatory diseases of the middle ear due to a bacterial or viral infection. However, the main symptoms of an ear infection are pus drainage, temporary hearing loss, earache, and so on. And antibacterial agents are often prescribed to cure it. However, in some cases the symptoms will be gone if left untreated while in some severe cases it needs to drain ear fluid.

Besides of mastoiditis, lymphadenopathy, seborrheic dermatitis, abscess, acne vulgaris, and otitis media, other causes for lump behind ear still include sebaceous cysts, throat infection, Hodgkin’s disease, lymphoma, leukemia, and so on. Apparently, there are far too many to cover in this article.

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