What does it mean to have pain in the ear when swallowing? Is it due to a serious condition? When should you see a doctor? How does it go? You can find the answers to all these questions and much more below.

Is pain in the ear serious when swallowing?

Ear pain can affect people in many different ways. Sometimes it appears as a throbbing, sometimes it can be felt as a tingling for hours. Pain in the ear when swallowing is also common. Common causes of earache when swallowing include various infections of the ear, nose, and throat.

Ear pain when swallowing: Ear infections

A common cause of ear pain when swallowing is ear infections. Many ear infections are caused by bacterial or viral infections in the middle ear. If you have an ear infection, you may have swelling and fluid buildup inside your ear. Another symptom is pain in the ear as irritation.

Although ear infections are more common in children, they can affect people of all ages. However, an adult with an ear infection may have slightly different symptoms than a child.

1. Middle ear infection

The most common infection among ear infections is middle ear infection A middle ear infection is caused by a bacteria or virus in the middle ear. This infection is usually caused by another illness or medical problem, such as a cold, flu, or allergies. The infection can cause blockage or swelling of the nasal passages, throat, and eustachian tubes.

The Eustachian tubes are a pair of narrow tubes that run from the middle ears to the back of the nasal passages at the back of the throat. The ends of these tubes extending into the throat can be opened and closed to regulate air pressure in the middle ear, freshen the air in the ear, and drain normal secretions from the middle ear.

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Swollen Eustachian tubes can become blocked, causing fluid to accumulate in the middle ear. This liquid becomes infected over time and symptoms of middle ear infection may occur. In children, the eustachian tubes are narrower and more horizontal. This makes it difficult to empty the tubes and increases the possibility of clogging.

Symptoms of middle ear infection in adults include:

  • High fever
  • Earache
  • discharge from ear
  • hard of hearing

Symptoms of middle ear infection in children include:

  • Ear pain when lying down
  • Pain in the ear when swallowing
  • crying more than usual
  • being more irritable than usual
  • High fever
  • discharge from ear
  • loss of balance
  • sleep problems
  • Headache

Middle ear infection treatment is not usually necessary. Because the infection will go away on its own within a week on average. However, in some cases, especially children, may need medications prescribed by the doctor.

2. Swimmer’s Ear

Swimmer’s ear is a different type of ear infection that affects your outer ear . Water can fill your ear canal while swimming or showering, creating a warm and humid environment that is ideal for bacteria and fungi to grow. However, an outer ear infection is not always caused by water.

Germs can enter the ear canal even when you touch your fingers with the ear. If this happens, fingertips and fingernails can damage the delicate lining of the inner ear that protects it from infection. Skin conditions such as eczema can also make people more prone to this type of infection.

Pain from an outer ear infection often gets worse when the ear is pulled or stretched. Ear pain may become more intense when chewing and swallowing. The pain you feel can also be felt as pain on the left side of the head or pain on the right side of the head .

Other symptoms of an outer ear infection include:

  • Redness and swelling in the ear
  • Itching in the ear
  • foul-smelling ear discharge
  • A feeling of fullness in the ear
  • hearing problems

This infection usually clears up after 7 to 10 days of treatment with ear drops prescribed by your doctor. In addition, painkillers that your doctor will prescribe can also help reduce pain attacks.

Ear pain when swallowing: Nose and throat infections

While ear infections are a common cause of ear pain, sometimes a nose or throat infection can cause ear pain. For example, children may develop complications from nose and throat infections due to the activity of their immune system, and may experience ear-related problems.

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Children have small pads of immune tissue called adenoids near their eustachian tubes at the back of their nasal passages. Adenoids play an important role in the immune system of children. Adenoids are larger in childhood and typically shrink in early adulthood. Adenoids work by reacting to germs that enter through the mouth and nose. Sometimes adenoids can become so large in response to an infection that they block the Eustachian tubes, leading to middle ear infections.

1. Tonsillitis

Tonsillitis , also known as tonsillitis , is inflammation and infection of the tonsils, usually triggered by a throat infection. Tonsillitis is sometimes caused by bacteria, and sometimes by viruses.

The main symptom of tonsillitis is sore throat, but symptoms such as:

  • difficulty swallowing
  • Swelling of the lymph node in the neck
  • Tonsil swelling or redness
  • White patches at the back of your throat
  • High fever
  • Headache
  • Stomach ache
  • Debris
  • bad breath
  • tone changes

Tonsillitis is usually treated with various medications that your doctor will prescribe.

2. Peritonsiller apse

A peritonsillar abscess is a collection of pus around one of your tonsils and is another cause of ear pain when swallowing. This type of abscess is usually a complication of untreated tonsillitis. The pain in this case can be quite severe and noticeably worse than a normal sore throat. Usually only one tonsil is affected, which means the pain is worse on one side than the other.

Peritonsillar abscess usually ache on the affected side, meaning you may experience right ear pain or left ear pain . Ear pain may worsen when swallowing.

Treatment of peritonsillar abscess usually requires minor surgery. Your doctor will treat the abscess by making an incision or using a small needle to drain the pus. Your doctor may also prescribe various medications to treat the underlying tonsillitis and prevent the abscess from coming back.

Pain in the ear when swallowing: Other causes

1. Eagle’s syndrome

Eagle syndrome is a rare disease that causes recurrent pain in the back of your throat and in your face. If you have Eagle syndrome, the sore throat is usually dull and persistent, and the pain is often felt in the ear as well. In such a case, you may experience pain in the ear when swallowing , or the pain gets worse when you move your head.

Other symptoms of Eagle syndrome include:

  • difficulty swallowing
  • Feeling like something is stuck in your throat
  • tinnitus
  • Neck pain
  • facial pain

Eagle syndrome is caused by problems with the ligaments and small bones of the neck or skull. Surgery is usually required to correct this problem.

2. Glossofaringeal nevralji

Glossopharyngeal neuralgia (GPN for short) is another rare condition that can be extremely painful and originates from the head and neck nerves known as the glossopharyngeal nerve. GPN causes brief, intense, and sometimes stabbing pain , often triggered by drinking, swallowing, yawning, speaking, coughing, or chewing cold liquids. The pain is usually felt in one ear, but can also be felt on the tongue, behind the throat, face, or under the chin.

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GPN attacks usually start as severe pain for about two minutes, and the pain then becomes dull. GPN treatment often includes prescription drugs designed to treat neuropathic pain, such as pregabalin and gabapentin. For patients whose drug therapy does not work, surgery may be necessary.

3. Temporomandibular joint dysfunction

Temporomandibular joint dysfunction is damage to the joint you use every time you open or close your mouth. The joint is where your jawbone attaches to your skull. In fact, the so-called TMJ headache originates precisely in this joint. A small cartilage disc on either side of the joint separates your jawbones from your skull and allows them to slide easily when you swallow, speak or chew.

Because you use this joint so often, damage can cause severe pain. Many people also feel this pain in their ears.

Other symptoms of temporomandibular joint problems include:

  • Difficulty opening your mouth wide
  • Pain and discomfort in your jaw
  • locking the jaw
  • Making noise when opening your mouth
  • Chronic headaches and neck pain
  • tinnitus
  • Pain in the ear when swallowing

The temporomandibular joint can be damaged by trauma, teeth grinding, and excessive gum chewing for many reasons. Treatment typically includes lifestyle changes, rest, and certain medications your doctor will prescribe.

As a result

There are many reasons that can cause pain in the ear when swallowing. Ear pain when swallowing is often caused by ear or throat infections. While both of these infections can clear up on their own within a week, sometimes you may need prescription medication. If your ear pain does not go away, there is a possibility that there is a more serious underlying cause. Therefore, if your ear pain does not go away, you should see your doctor.

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