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Cholesteatoma (Uncommon ear disease): Symptoms, causes and treatment

  • Posted on- Aug 13, 2016
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Written by site author.

Cholesteatoma is a condition where the ear sustains an abnormal growth a tumour-like growth that hibernates behind the ear lobes. This is one condition that is characterised by severe pain in the ear and dizziness. The cholesteatoma symptoms are noticeable only after the symptoms have progressed. Cholesteatoma is not a life-threatening growth seated behind the ear lobe however there may be chances of the tumour, or the lump of skin increasing, the regions of the middle ear and the inner ear are gravely affected. The time lapse between the infliction and the diagnosis of the tumour may worsen the condition. It is due to this, the treatment gets delayed.

What are the causes of cholesteatoma?

Cholesteatoma can be congenital in nature that is, the occurrence of this condition is a birth defect. However, there are greater possibilities of an individual countering this condition through an ear infection. Specifically, when ear infections become chronic, studies have observed that cholesteatoma occurs. Thus, the frequency of the infection decides the onset of the condition in question. It is also due to the eardrum being perforated by coming in contact with water. The enzymes that are present in cholesteatoma get active when they come in contact with fluid, and make the ear susceptible to countering the infection. The bone in the inner ear gets deeply affected thereby leading to hearing loss. There may also be a possibility that the facial nerves get affected in the bargain, resulting in partial paralysis. If the condition is neglected, and one ignores the situation, the condition can worsen and result in more serious infection such as meningitis.

What are the symptoms of cholesteatoma?

  • Pain in the Ear: There is severe, stabbing pain in the ear, specifically in the middle ear. This is a symptom that occurs due to fluid, or abnormal skin build up that takes place behind the ear lobe.
  • Numbness: There is also a potential numbness that you may experience especially while you are asleep. You could have no feeling nor any sensation in the ear which can make you feel all the more uncomfortable. This symptom is felt mostly at night, and is the major culprit of an individual's disturbed sleep.
  • Feeling of Fullness: You may feel that your ear is packed. It is similar to what you experience when you are on a height where you feel your ears are 'blocked' or 'choked'.
  • Hearing Impairment: You are bound to suffer from hearing loss if the bone of the inner ear is damaged. The hearing loss may be partial or complete. The inner region of the ear gets affected as the abnormal skin growth that is seeded behind the ear grows and expands in size.
  • Fluid Drainage: Otorrhea is a condition or a type of ear infection that, if affects the individual on a regular basis, causes cholesteatoma. The fluid drainage is in the form of pus accompanied with blood and wax from the ear canal. This is indeed the initial sign of cholesteatoma, and this should be a cause for visiting your ENT doctor.
  • Light-headedness: There is a feeling of dizziness or having an impaired state of balance, making it all the more evident that there is a need to garner an expert consult. Losing balance and having an unsteady movement is a signature sign that indicates that there is a severe inflammation due to the lump of skin behind the eardrum.
  • Facial Muscles Feel Weak: This is a symptom that is countered during the advanced stages of the condition. There are possibilities that the infection may seep in and cause damage to the facial nerves. This can cause the individual to develop either complete or partial paralysis.

What are the treatment options for cholesteatoma?

The treatment of cholesteatoma involves following a course of antibiotics. The occurrence of the cyst like growth sited behind the eardrum can be removed through surgery, or could be gradually reduced through the administration of antibiotics. With a CT scan, you would be able to gather the intensity or the level of damage that has occurred inside the ear. It is only through the results derived by the CT scan that it is decided if surgery is required or not.

With the symptoms, causes and treatment at hand, you may have a fair idea of cholesteatoma. However, consulting your ENT specialist at the earliest will be to your advantage.


user profile image
18-06-2017 12:52 PM

The information you shared is very useful. It comprises of all the things ranging from causes, symptoms to cost.

user profile image
31-05-2017 06:52 AM

The occurrence of Cholesteatoma is very rare. The occurrence of this condition is a birth defect. Good information provided.

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