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Kind of a silly question, but i've had my ears pierced since…

kind of a silly question...
kind of a silly question, but i've had my ears pierced since I was 5 years old, and I've always gotten this kind of foul smelling semi solid substance that's on the back of the ear backs & also sometimes on the posts. After i take them out for a while and put them back in, the holes get swollen and hard for a few days & then it goes back down. I was just wondering if this was normal or if there was any information you could tell me about it?
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Answered in 8 minutes by:
5/18/2018
Dr. Muneeb Ali
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 10,283
Experience: MBBS, MD, MCCM. Currently working in Critical Care Medicine with 10 year experience in Medicine
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Hi,

Welcome to JA and thanks for this question. I'm sorry to hear about your symptoms. Actually, the swelling in the pierced ears is to be expected especially if you remove your earrings etc for a period of while and then put them back in. The reason is that when you remove something from your ear, the holes try to close up and may start to form new tissue in the region. When this happens there is bound to be some inflammation in the region which would cause the holes to get swollen and hard, once you put your earrings etc back into the holes, the process stops and the swelling goes down. This does not happen in every individual, but some patients do experience this more frequently than others. For example in some women, the holes close up even within 3-7 days of removing their earrings whereas in other women the holes do not close up even if they don't wear anything for months. It varies from one person to the next but this is a NORMAL phenomenon. The foul substance could be some discharge from the holes themselves onto the back of the ear or it could be a collection of sweat, dust and other bodily secretions in the region.

But all in all, this does not sound like anything I would be concerned about as this phenomenon does happen normally in many patients.

Do you have any more questions?

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Dr. Muneeb Ali
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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
sure i'll give you a 5-star rating!! i really appreciate it, i just have another quick question. in my right ear actually, i have 2 piercings right next to each other. the reason is that I got them done at a walmart, and the one in my right ear was quite a bit farther back than the one in my left, so i went and got it redone 2 years ago. the piercing i got when i was 5 in my right ear got taken out for just a couple hours when i was 5, and my left one didn't (i don't remember the reason now) but the skin grew back & my mom had to push it back through, & even now sometimes i put my earing in that one on accident & it hurts so bad & swells up & puss comes out of it for days, even if i don't have an earring in it. is there a reason for it to do that in my right ear & not in my left? grow back i mean? & also, is this indicative of a reason for me not to get my cartilage pierced? i've heard some stories about people getting super bad infections, & keloids, & i really don't want my ear to look messed up for the rest of my life.

I think the piercing which swells up and hurts when you push something through it, has not healed properly over the ears and when you push something through that particular piercing that triggers an inflammatory response and the swelling, pain, and pus occurs as a result of that. As long as you are careful and don't put anything through that piercing you should be fine.

this is NOT indicative of the fact that you can get infections or keloids etc, it also does not indicate that you cannot get your cartilage pierced. You can certainly get your cartilage pierced as long as it is done in a sterile and proper way.

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