Last reviewed by Dr. Raj MD on January 12th, 2022.
What is Parotid gland swelling?
This is the swelling of the largest of your salivary glands whose function is to secrete saliva into your mouth in order to keep it moist. These glands also lubricate and bind the food you are eating along with beginning the digestion processes. They also help you maintain good oral hygiene. There are also many smaller salivary glands in your mouth, tongue, lips, palate, and cheek. The parotid gland is located below each ear.
Parotid Gland Swelling Symptoms
What symptoms that a person might experience will depend on what is causing the swelling of the parotid gland. Some of the general symptoms could include:
- On one or both sides of your face you may notice swelling below your ears
- Having constant pain in your ears
- While eating experiencing pain in the ears
- Having an abnormal foul taste in your mouth
- Difficulty in opening your mouth
- Facial pain
- Inflammation over the side of your face and upper neck
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Swelling below your jaw and on the floor of your mouth
- Throat pain
- Running a low to high degree fever
- Muscles that are sore
- Losing your appetite
- Dry eyes
- If the cause is mumps men and adolescent boys may notice that their testes are swollen
- Having pain in the parotid gland
- Loss of the angle of your jaw
- Complete or partial loss of movement on the affected side of the face.
- Slurred speech
- Drooling with excessive salivation
- Disturbance in taste sensations
- Excessive thirst that is often accompanied by frequent urination because of having a dry mouth
Causes of Parotid gland swelling
There are many different reasons that a person may experience parotid gland swelling which can include:
This was a common childhood disease but one that adults can also get, especially if they were not vaccinated against mumps during their childhood.
A person can develop a growth of bacteria in their mouth due to poor oral hygiene causing a bacterial infection caused bacterial parotitis.
Formation of stones
In your parotid gland there are parotid ducts that carry the saliva from the gland to your mouth near your upper molars but sometimes stones can form in the duct(s) and when the flow of saliva is obstructed it can make the environment favorable for a bacterial growth. Having the obstruction on only one side can lead to the parotid gland swelling on just that one side. This is a condition that is normally found in just adults.
Disorders and diseases
Having an autoimmune disease like Sjogren’s syndrome or HIV/AIDS can cause parotid gland swelling. The reason is that your immune system itself will invade the parotid glands causing an inflammation of the gland. Having diabetes, alcohol abuse, and rheumatoid arthritis can lead to parotid gland swelling.
Formation of a tumor
If there is a tumor grown in the parotid gland it can exert pressure on the parotid duct and cause the obstruction of the flow of saliva. This tumor can be malignant or benign
Having abnormal parotid ducts
This can be the narrowing of the duct(s) at some point and lead also to an obstruction of the saliva. If you have the enlargement of nearby lymph nodes because of a tumor or infection it can also lead to parotid gland swelling.
Having a sensitivity or allergic reaction to various medications.
Sometimes the exact cause of parotid gland swelling is not known.
Many times parotid gland swelling can be treated at home using some of these natural treatments.
- Drink enough fluids, especially water, to keep these glands active. Drinking enough fluids can also help to sooth the swollen gland and lubricate your dry mouth.
- Drink fruit juices to help reduce the swelling and enhance the salivary secretion
- When your parotid glands are swollen avoid drinking alcohol beverages and colas because they can aggravate the condition. Also excessive alcohol use can also be a cause of having your parotid glands swell.
- Do not drink anything too hot or too cold as they could also aggravate the condition.
- One of the best home treatments is to gargle with warm salt water. Salt is a mild antiseptic and could help to destroy the germs that are causing the bacterial infection. You should make sure that you gargle at least three times a day when you have parotid gland swelling
- Stop smoking as this can aggravate it.
- Taking over-the-counter pain medications
You should also make sure that you are brushing your teeth regularly and that you are keeping your mouth germ free. Even though you have several home treatments that you can use to help alleviate this problem it is still best that you see your physician or dentist to rule out a blockage that is caused by the formation of stones in the duct(s) or a tumor as these will require the treatment prescribed by your physician or dentist.
Parotid Gland Swelling Pictures
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