Cauliflower ear is a common condition affecting the outer part of your head. It affects up to 20% of all children. You may have had it before or you might not have known what it was and how to treat it. If you are one of those who don’t know anything about cauliflower ear, then read on!
What Is Cauliflower Ear?
The name “cauliflower” comes from the Latin word cauda meaning “head”. When the head grows too large, it becomes hard and round like a cauliflower. The shape resembles a small cabbage.
It is very common among children, but also occurs in adults. It is usually caused by growth spurts during puberty. It is called cauliflower ear because it looks like cauliflower.
How Do I Know If My Head Has Caught Up With Its Size?
If you feel your head is growing larger than usual, then it’s probably due to puberty. Your head will grow bigger than normal if you haven’t gone through the growth spurt yet. In fact, some kids get their heads so big they look like cauliflowers when they’re born!
Actually, babies are supposed to be born with big heads. It’s nature’s way of preparing for the huge amount of brain growth that takes place during puberty. The head is like an empty bucket. During the growth spurt you need all the extra room you can get!
Why Do I Have To Go Through Puberty If I Don’t Want Big Head?
Puberty is nature’s way of making sure that people grow up and have children of their own. If you don’t go through puberty, then you won’t be able to reproduce. It’s just nature’s way of keeping the human race going.
What Is Cauliflower Ear Anyway?
Cauliflower ear is what happens when you get your head so big that it stretches the skin on the outside of your head. The skin doesn’t grow at the same rate as your head does. The skin is kind of like elastic. It can stretch only so far, and then it has to tear. That’s what happens to your ear when you get a big growth spurt.
The most common place for the skin to tear is just behind your ear. Once the skin tears, it no longer fits tightly against the side of your head. As your head grows even larger, the skin stretches more and more. Eventually, the skin starts to look like a small balloon.
It can even become red and shiny!
As your head continues to grow, the skin has no choice but to tear again. The cycle just repeats itself over and over again. Before you know it, your ear has a balloon-like appearance and looks very strange. It’s at this point that people start calling it “cauliflower ear.”
What Are The Symptoms Of Cauliflower Ear?
The most obvious symptom of cauliflower ear is the balloon-like appearance of your ear. The skin may be red and shiny as well. You may feel a pulling sensation on that side of your head. It’s not uncommon to feel a little dizzy as well.
This condition can also make it difficult for you to hear out of that ear. Your ear canals may have contracted so much that it’s difficult to pop them open again. If this is the case, you may need to see an ear doctor who can safely open your ear canals again.
How Is Cauliflower Ear Treated?
Cauliflower ear usually isn’t treated unless it’s causing a severe problem with your hearing. If this is the case, your ear doctor may cauterize the skin or use some sort of laser treatment to stop it from growing any larger.
Why Does My Doctor Call It Swollen Ears?
Some doctors used to call this condition “swollen ears.” You don’t hear that term as much anymore. The problem with using the word “swollen” is that it doesn’t really tell you anything about what’s actually wrong. Swelling can have many causes. It’s a rather nonspecific term.
The other problem with using the word “swollen” is that it has a negative connotation. Nobody wants to have “swollen” ears!
So, your doctor uses the term “cauliflower ear” instead. Again, it’s just a more descriptive term for what’s actually wrong. You won’t hear your doctor calling it “cauliflower ear” very often either though. He or she will most likely refer to it as “perforated ear drum.”
What About A Torn Eardrum?
If you tear your eardrum, then you will definitely need to see an ear doctor. A torn eardrum is a small tear in the tissue that separates your middle ear from the rest of your body. It’s more common for swimmers and divers to get a torn eardrum than it is for people who participate in contact sports.
The good thing about a torn eardrum is that you can still hear just fine. The bad thing about it is that it can easily get infected. If that happens, you will need to take antibiotics for the infection and to have your ear syringed regularly. It’s very important that you follow all of the instructions given to you by your doctor.
How Do I Prevent Cauliflower Ear?
You can’t prevent all cases of cauliflower ear. These days, most doctors don’t recommend draining the ear at all. If you do get cauliflower ear, then the best way to prevent an ear infection is to keep your ear as clean and dry as possible. You might also need to take some antibiotics for a week or so.
What If My Child Gets Cauliflower Ear?
Most cases of cauliflower ear occur in people between the ages of 10 and 25. A lot of these cases occur in athletes. It’s important that coaches, trainers, and other sports officials are very aware of this condition. They need to watch for it and treat it quickly if it does occur.
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