What does sticky earwax mean?

Earwax, which is also known as cerumen, is a substance produced by the glands in your ear canal which protects your ears by keeping them lubricated and has antibacterial properties. Earwax is made up of different substances, including sebum and dead skin.

Earwax can be wet and sticky in some people and usually there are no causes for concern if you are not getting any troublesome symptoms. Wet earwax can be in a range of colours but is mostly pale yellow and even orange or brown but is usually dark and sticky. However, if you are wondering why your earwax is naturally sticky and wet, it may be down to your ancestral DNA. Studies have shown that the genes responsible for wet and sticky earwax is mostly common in people of African and European decent.

Sometimes, sticky earwax can indicate a health issue. Earwax, which is wet, sticky or pale may indicate there is pus in your ear canal, often caused by an ear infection. This pale discharge is most likely warning signal from your body, and it is important to consult a doctor right away. You may also have some other symptoms if you are suffering from an ear infection such has pain, inflammation and even drainage.

If your earwax is not usually sticky or wet, this should raise some alarm bells as not being normal. If you are a keen swimmer, then water can get trapped in your ear also causing the wax to become wet and sticky.

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