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Bleeding and Clotting Disorders

Bleeding from splits and bumps in outer ear

08/28/2007

Question:

In Jan. 2006 my daughter had one three day incident of her left ear splitting and bleeding just inside her outer ear. She was given drops by her family physician and it stopped. Last February 2007, her right ear started to bleed heavily and we could not get it to stop. She was given something for pain by the urgent care physician and sent to see an ENT specialist. The specialist said his first thought would have been that she had sliced her ear with a q-tip or fingernail but that where the skin was sliced he did not think she could have done it. Her eardrum is completely intact with no damage thus far. He gave her a cream to use and sent her to follow up with her family doctor. This helped for awhile and then it started again. This time it was not just slices in the skin but small bumps that look like bites in the outer ear. She was then given another type of drops to use. The general census from these doctors is that she has thin skin and it just needs to heal. However, we were instructed not to use any of these medications too often because they were steroids and could thin her skin out. When she bleeds at night, the blood rolls down to her eardrum and forms large clots. She then experiences loss of hearing due to the clots blocking the passageway as well as times of severe pain as if it is rubbing against her eardrum. Could this be some type of bleeding problem?

Answer:

On the surface this sounds more like something related to your daughter’s ear rather than an underlying bleeding problem. I’m not certain how old you daughter is, but if she has had teeth pulled, or other minor surgeries or trauma without significant bleeding after the procedure or trauma, it is not likely a bleeding/coagulation problem.

If she’s old enough to be having menses, long and/or heavy menstrual cycles are another sign of a potential coagulation or bleeding problem. These would all be clues that may tell you if she has a generalized blood clotting problem or an issue that is isolated to the ear.

I hope this helps out somewhat.

For more information:

Go to the Bleeding and Clotting Disorders health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Spero R Cataland, MD Spero R Cataland, MD
Associate Professor of Clinical Internal Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University