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Do you get cauliflower ear from BJJ? No, not necessarily but you can get it over time. Cauliflower ear is not a disease you get from training, it is a very common ear deformity that occurs for most combat sports athletes after their ear cartilage has suffered a significant amount of damage. The ear swells up a bit and gets red but after a while, it deflates back to its normal shape, once the cartilage hardens back up that is known as cauliflower ear.
Do You Get Cauliflower Ear From BJJ?
Not necessarily, but yes you can get cauliflower ear from grappling or doing Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Cauliflower ear is the ear deformity that happens after the ear cartridge has been damaged through contact. Typically, people who start training Brazilian jiu-jitsu, wrestle, or do MMA have cauliflower ear because their ears have suffered some form of damage while on the mats.
It is a very common thing for grapplers and boxers to have cauliflower ears. If you see someone out and about in everyday life with a deformed ear, they probably trained in some martial art and have done so for some time.
Advice to Jiu Jitsu Parents: How to Prevent Cauliflower Ear in Children
The best way to prevent cauliflower ear is to train with dedicated headgear on when you start to feel a flare-up happening. It will be very noticeable when your ear is damaged from direct contact. Typically the affected area starts to swell up, is red, or is very tender to touch.
When you have these symptoms, chances are your ear has a hematoma or has been damaged to some capacity. It will not affect your ears by any means but if you want to prevent the issue from getting worse it is best to go off and buy some headgear. After the swelling has gone down a bit, if you really want to make sure that cauliflower ear does not form get some ear magnets to flatten out the surface.
How To Prevent Cauliflower Ears in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
You can prevent cauliflower ear by either not training as much or by just wearing headgear when you start to feel the sensitivity of your ears increasing. There is no shame in putting headgear on and training that way, many people avoid wearing headgear because it “looks silly” but honestly I say who cares?
I personally do not want my ears to be torn apart so I choose to wear headgear when I feel soreness in my ears, if you are in the same camp as me just opt to wear them.
Causes: What causes cauliflower ear?
The main cause for someone to get cauliflower ear is for them to first sustain a good blow directly to the ear. Since the ear is just cartilage, it never hurts to start with. Typically after some time has gone by after the initial damage that was taken the ear starts to swell, get red, or become tender this is how you know you are developing cauliflower ear. This is known as a hematoma, the actual “cauliflower ear” term comes after the swelling has gone down and the ear cartilage that was damaged begins to heal and harden.
Typically when the hardening happens the ear looks a little more deformed than it normally would.
How long does it take to get BJJ cauliflower ear?
Well, it could happen pretty fast. My cauliflower ear developed over a two-month period when I was really training hard, I think I was up to 5 or 6 times a week and that was when the ear trauma was at an all-time high.
Some people have tough ears and may never develop cauliflower ear. Some of you may get it quicker than me but even I have pretty sensitive ears. Preventing cauliflower ear entirely while grappling is not easy, it kind of comes with the territory. Most people who wrestle or train Brazilian jiu-jitsu wear their cauliflower ear with pride, it is like a badge of honor.
Matman headgear is designed with a focus on providing a secure fit, ensuring that it stays in place during matches and practices.
How To Drain Cauliflower Ear At Home Step-By-Step
Step 1: Cleaning the area around the ear to prevent infection.
Step 2: Numbing the ear with a local anesthetic to minimize discomfort or you can use an ice pack
Step 3: Make a small incision in the ear to access the accumulated fluid or blood.
Step 4: Draining the fluid or blood using a syringe or other appropriate method.
Step 5: Applying pressure or using compression to prevent re-accumulation.
Step 6: Providing aftercare instructions, such as keeping the ear clean and potentially using a dressing or bandage. It’s important to consult with a healthcare professional for proper evaluation and treatment.
5 Things You Need To Drain Your Cauliflower Ears
To drain cauliflower ears, you would typically need the following items:
1. Sterile needle or syringe: This needle is used to puncture blood vessels in the ear and drain the accumulated fluid or blood.
2. Antiseptic solution: To clean the area before and after the procedure to minimize the risk of infection.
3. Sterile gauze or cotton pads: Apply pressure to drain and absorb any fluid or blood that is drained.
4. Gloves: To maintain proper hygiene and prevent contamination during the procedure.
5. Antibiotic ointment: Apply after draining the ear to help prevent infection and promote healing.
Bonus: Get yourself a pair of Caulibuds cauliflower ear magnets. These magnets are the best on the market to helping you prevent cauliflower ear from forming and help minimize ear drainage. Made with superior quality silicone for optimal compression you can say goodbye to that ear drainage!
Safety Tips When Draining Cauliflower Ears on Your Own
1. Sterilization: Ensure that all tools, including needles or syringes, are properly sterilized before use to minimize the risk of infection.
2. Cleanliness: Thoroughly clean the affected area and your hands with an antiseptic solution before attempting to drain the pus drainage cauliflower ear.
3. Technique: Use a sterile needle or syringe to gently puncture and drain the ear and allow the fluid or blood from open wound to drain. Avoid further incision or bleeding by applying excessive pressure or force.
4. Hygiene: Maintain proper hygiene throughout the procedure by wearing gloves and using sterile gauze or cotton pads to absorb any fluid or blood.
5. Follow-up care: After draining the cauliflower ear, apply an antibiotic ointment and cover the area with a sterile dressing to prevent infection. Monitor the healing process and seek medical attention if any complications arise. Buy some cauliflower ear magnets too if you want your ear to stay in shape as long as possible.
There are so many videos you can find on YouTube or even on TikTok of people draining cauliflower ears. Personally, I get a bit squeamish around those types of things and would rather not watch those kinds of videos but for those that don’t mind some of them will be attached here.
It should be noted that if you are going to drain your ear on your own you should have someone wit you to either help or guide you through it. Typically, an athlete will have their coach just drain their ear but it is totally up to you how you go about it.
How are cauliflower ears treated?
The swelling typically goes down by itself when you have a cauliflower ear but some people’s ears will balloon. Typically when the ear swells massively after taking serious damage it would be smart to have someone drain the blood buildup rather than waiting for it to heal on its own. This process can be painful and it is recommended that you either have someone experienced drain your ear or go to the doctor to get it done.
You can entirely drain your ear by yourself but I know when I tried doing it myself it was not a very pleasurable experience. I just had a friend drain the blood and it was fine afterwards.
Is it possible to prevent cauliflower ear?
Yes, it is entirely possible to prevent cauliflower ear. I have a little bit on my right ear right in the middle, kind of close to the ear hole and it is barely noticeable. When it first started to come in it was very uncomfortable to lay down on a pillow on that side of my body but after the swelling went down my ear kind of went back to normal.
I wear headgear anytime I feel sensitivity to either of my ears because I do not want my ears to become blobs of cheese. If you wear headgear when you start to get it and try your best not to bang it on people when rolling you should be good. Most people really won’t listen to that advice but for those that want to keep their ear in tact it seriously works like a charm, I have zero issues to this point.
Will headgear prevent a cauliflower ear in BJJ?
Yes, ear protection from headgear will help prevent cauliflower ear. If you are looking to avoid having ears that are all mangled it is wise to buy a good pair of wrestling headgear. My personal favorite at the ones from Matman, they are extremely comfortable around the ears, don’t slip around while training, and do not have slide under the chin.