Your body is constantly sending you hints about your health. You just need to recognize the messages, and know how to read them.
Recently we revealed some startling things your nails may be trying to tell you. (If you missed that, click here to catch up). And we explained how your hair could be delivering hidden messages about your health.
But it turns out there’s another unusual way your body is communicating your health status to you. And to read those messages you’re going to need to pay closer attention to your ears.
Because, as strange as it seems, you can learn a lot about your health by paying attention to your earwax.
You see, earwax isn’t just that gross stuff that you occasionally need to clear out of your ear. It actually plays an important role in keeping your ears healthy.
You have a wax gland in your ear canal that produces earwax, or what the doctors call cerumen. The wax is 20 to 50 percent fat and its main job is to help clear dead skin cells out of your ear, and keep dust and dirt from getting in.
But cerumen is also a natural antimicrobial, so it helps fight off bacteria and prevent infections too.
6 things your earwax could be trying to tell you
Healthy earwax can range in color from light orange to dark brown. But if you notice a color change to yellow, green, white, or black you could have an infection, so check with the doctor.
What else can earwax tell you about your health? Read on…
1. It has a strong scent:
Earwax should be odorless, or close to it. So if you notice an aroma coming from your ear, you need to call a doctor.
Generally, a strong odor is a sign of an infection. But don’t worry; it’s not usually as noticeable to other people as it may seem to you.
2. Watery, with a green tint:
Good news, if you’ve ever noticed that after an energetic workout or getting out of the shower that your earwax is watery with a light green tint it’s likely nothing to worry about.
Typically this consistency and color is simply caused by your earwax mixing with sweat or shower water. But if your earwax is solid and green, it could be an infection.
3. It comes out in clumps:
Ears are pros at self-cleaning. In fact, earwax normally works its way out of your ear without you ever noticing it.
But if you begin to see the wax coming out clumpy or in lumps, it may be a sign of cholesteatoma. Especially it it’s accompanied by a feeling of pressure, fullness or pain.
Cholesteatoma is when a growth, similar to a cyst, develops in the ear. An infection or small tear in the ear is often the cause. If you suspect you might have it, give the doctor a call.
4. It’s flaky, dry, or “dusty”:
If you notice that your earwax has become flaky, you could be facing a case of eczema or psoriasis.
If you’ve already been diagnosed with either condition, it’s simply another symptom. But if you haven’t received a diagnosis yet, it could be an early warning sign that’s worth mentioning to your doctor.
And a word of caution. Flaky earwax sometimes comes with itching. This could make you feel tempted to use a cotton swab to remove it. Don’t. Sticking a swab into your ear canal can cause damage.
5. You have discharge:
Discharge can simply be sweat or post-shower leakage. But if you’re finding it on your pillow in the morning, or notice it at other times when there is no obvious cause, check with your doctor.
Discharge, especially when accompanied by pain, fever, or aches is a classic sign of an ear infection.
6. It’s darker, drier, or thicker than usual:
If your earwax has changed consistency and become darker, drier or thicker than usual there’s likely no reason to worry. This is often simply a sign of aging.
Seniors tend to notice these kinds of changes more often than other folks do. Taking an omega-3 fish oil supplement could help.
No matter what changes you notice in your earwax, if they bother you, go ahead and check with your doctor. Because your earwax can reveal a lot of information about your health, if you pay attention.