Skip to content
Includes Expert Content
Earring holes spontaneously become infected w/out earrings
Legrand79 posted:
I have had my ears pierced since I was 2 years old and throughout my life have had up to 6 piercing in each earlobe and never had any issues with infections. At age 28 I stopped wearing earrings and all was well. I currently have 2 open holes on each ear. At age 30 my earring holes started to periodically and spontaneously itch and "leak" a yellow fluid that smells bad. The actual earring holes do this. The bottom part of my earlobe will swell, get hot and turn red. This happens without having touched my ear. It gradually goes away but hurts pretty bad and continues to happen monthly. I can't lay on which ever side is affected. What concerns me is that there doesn't seem to be a trigger. As I said I don't wear earrings. I have spoken with my Dr. and all I got was the response of "that's weird".

Any thoughts on this?

Thank you so much for your time.
Rod Moser, PA, PhD responded:
Anytime that you have a hole in the skin, it can be subject to a secondary bacterial infection....all piercing sites, whether you are currently using earrings or not, can become infected from the bacteria that lives on your skin.

Pay particular attention to this area when you shower. Then, use an antiseptic solution or rub in some topical antibacterial cream. This should keep the local bacteria count down and limit the number of recurrent infections.

There are no other, logical "triggers" (unless you are a diabetic).
Legrand79 replied to Rod Moser, PA, PhD's response:
Thank you Dr. Moser! I am not diabetic but I have been diagnosed with insulin resistance. Not sure if there is a link there. I in fact do was my ear lobes since the onset of infections started but I will pick up some antibacterial wash, maybe plain washing isn't enough for me.

Thank you again.
Rod Moser, PA, PhD replied to Legrand79's response:
I think that will help. If not, get your doctor to prescribe an antibiotic solution, like Cleocin, that is used for acne. You can dab some of this on your earlobes every day.
Legrand79 replied to Rod Moser, PA, PhD's response:
Great! I will ask for Cleocin. Thank you for your prompt responses as well, I don't experience that too often anymore - especially online.
Rod Moser, PA, PhD replied to Legrand79's response:
You are welcome and good luck.......
An_251222 replied to Rod Moser, PA, PhD's response:
I am diabetic and have not had an earing in my ear for about 10years. Over the last few weeks I have noticed a strong odor whenever I rub/grab my earlobe by the piercing sight and smell my hand. I cant smell it without any contact but once i make contact with the ear, my hand stinks.

I am concerned bc of your earlier post in which you concluded (unless you are diabetic) I am diabetic so I am curious what you meant by that.

I have begun to use rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball a few times a day on the area.

Please advise

Helpful Tips

VNG is Excruciatingly Painful
I recently had a VNG test at a local neurology center. It was so painful that I could not make it through it, I had to beg them to stop. ... More
Was this Helpful?
0 of 0 found this helpful

Expert Blog

Focus on Flu

Find answers to your questions about seasonal flu issues and answers to your concerns about the flu season and H1N1...Read More

Report Problems With Your Medications to the FDA

FDAYou are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.