Too often things that seem completely benign and without too much importance, can actually have a profound effect on our health. Even more importantly, small alteration in minor areas of our health that we normally overlook can signal more significant problems if left unchecked. Earwax is a good example of something that we overlook but that could signal a sickness that is beginning to manifest itself in an unusual way. While most of the changes in our earwax don’t point to alarming illnesses, they shouldn’t be ignored. That’s why we’ve broken down the topic of earwax into some major divisions to show you what you might need to look for. Each of these divisions shed light on our health, so pay close attention.
The Amount of Earwax
You’ve probably never thought that either too much or too little earwax could tell you anything meaningful about your health. However, both have plenty to teach us. First an abundance of earwax normally indicates elevated levels of stress. When we’re under stress, our apocrine glands kick into high gear and we begin to sweat. When you’re nervous, you sweat more. This kind of perspiration produces more earwax than normal. If you notice that you’re producing more earwax than normal, adjust your schedule to reduce as much stress as possible.
The opposite of having too much earwax would be not having any at all. Although it’s rare, this condition does exist. It’s called “keratitis obturans.” It isn’t that the body doesn’t produce earwax, but it’s that it doesn’t secrete like it should. Instead it builds up and stops up the ear canal. It can cause pain and a sensation of fullness in the ear. If you notice that you aren’t naturally producing earwax and begin to have these symptoms, consult a health care professional.
The Texture of Earwax
Several things could take place in relation to the texture of your earwax. It could remain sticky, become thinner, thicker, or drier. All of these textures point to different symptoms.
Healthy earwax is wet and sticky. This maintains the proper balance in the warm environment of our ears, making sure that they don’t get itchy or too soiled.
When the texture turns watery, it could mean that you’re sweating a lot, but it could also point to an infection. Additionally, if your earwax ever gets to a point where it’s so watery that it starts to come out on its own, it could be a sign of a more serious condition called “cholesteatoma.” This small bulge in the ear can fill up the ear canal and make the earwax leak out. Contact your doctor if you begin to experience any leaking in your ear.
The color of your earwax may be the easiest of the characteristics to notice. Keep these colors in mind as a general rule for earwax. Yellow (normal or pale) and gray are normal colors. There’s no cause for alarm for either of these colors. Black or dark brown isn’t something to worry about, but you might want to clear your ears more regularly. These two colors just tell us that the earwax is old. It’s likely been there for a while. Green or a darker yellow could point to infection. Finally, like most things in life, white earwax lets us know we’re getting older. It may follow the color of our hair.