Salivary gland inflammation is an inflammatory disease of the salivary gland caused by bacteria or viruses or caused by a salivary stone. The medical term is sialadenitis or sialoadenitis. Typical symptoms of salivary gland inflammation are swelling in that area and severe pain.
What is salivary gland inflammation?
Salivary gland inflammation is a very painful swelling of the large salivary glands. It can be unilateral or bilateral and is usually caused by viruses, bacteria or salivary stones. For definition of desbuquois syndrome in English, please visit acronymmonster.com.
Almost all of the saliva in the human mouth is produced by six major salivary glands, which are arranged in pairs. The daily amount of saliva in an adult is estimated at 1.5 to 2 liters. These are the sublingual, parotid and submandibular salivary glands.
There are also some small salivary glands in the throat, on the mucous membrane of the carriage, and on the lips. However, these are much less likely to be affected by diseases. Mostly older people suffer from the disease. However, inflammation of the salivary glands also occurs frequently in people with an immune deficiency.
Inflammation of the salivary glands is usually triggered by bacteria or viruses. Mumps and the Coxsackie A virus are typical causes of this disease. Furthermore, salivary stones are often responsible for the salivary gland inflammation. They cause a salivary congestion because they affect the duct of the affected gland.
As a result, a secretion is accumulated, which is an ideal breeding ground for bacteria. These in turn can cause inflammation. In addition, tumors, constrictions and scars can be responsible for the inflammation of the salivary glands.
Inflammation of the oral mucosa, which is caused by inadequate oral hygiene, is also one of the typical causes. Furthermore, medications that reduce the flow of saliva as a side effect can promote inflammation of the salivary glands.
Symptoms, Ailments & Signs
In the case of an inflammation of the salivary gland, which in most cases only occurs on one side, the gland swells, becomes hard and painful. These symptoms can become noticeable before the inflammation has developed. When the gland is inflamed, the overlying skin turns red and feels hot.
When pus forms, it often drains into the oral cavity or can be pushed out through the gland opening. When palpating the gland, the secretion can be felt as a movable mass. The symptoms worsen when eating. Chewing food stimulates salivation. However, since the gland ducts are blocked by the salivary stone, the saliva cannot drain off and thus presses on the inflamed and swollen tissue.
As a result of the blockage, the gland continues to swell. Patients feel ill and battered, sometimes with fever and chills. The lymph nodes may also swell. When the parotid gland is affected, chewing is very painful and the mouth can hardly be opened.
In the acute form of the disease, the symptoms start suddenly. Chronic inflammation, on the other hand, develops more slowly and comes in phases. It can sometimes appear on the right and sometimes on the left. Pus can also form in the chronic form. There are also salivary stones that are completely symptom-free.
Diagnosis & History
The diagnosis of salivary gland inflammation is made after a thorough examination of the salivary gland by the doctor. He usually feels the gland first, and pus is often found in the mouth. In the laboratory, the pus and the blood are analyzed to determine the causes of the salivary gland inflammation.
An ultrasound scan may also be useful to look for a stone, tumor, or abscess. In some cases, computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging is done. In the case of chronic salivary gland inflammation, a fine-needle puncture can also be considered.
Another diagnostic method is a so-called sialography. For this, the doctor injects a contrast medium into the duct of the salivary gland in order to make the gland visible on an X-ray image. Complications such as abscesses or atrophy of the tissue can occur if the inflammation of the salivary glands takes a long time.
If left untreated, inflammation of the salivary glands can lead to the formation of an abscess. This can penetrate into the oral cavity, the ear canal or through the throat tissue and break open to the outside. If the bacteria get into the blood, blood poisoning can occur, which in the worst case can lead to organ failure and the death of the person affected. Rarely, inflammation can lead to facial paralysis.
In men, the condition can affect fertility. Untreated chronic salivary gland inflammation can also lead to scarring of the glandular tissue. As a result, the glands harden and saliva production decreases permanently, which promotes infections in the oral cavity and other complications. Autoimmune reactions against the cells of the salivary glands are also conceivable – this leads to secondary diseases such as Sjögren’s syndrome and ultimately to the destruction of the glands.
In very rare cases, inflammation of the salivary glands is caused by a tumor which, if left untreated, can have serious consequences. Adverse events can also occur during treatment. Occasionally, the prescribed antibiotics cause side effects or trigger allergic reactions. Surgery can involve bleeding, infection, and scarring. In severe complications, the salivary gland must be completely removed.
When should you go to the doctor?
Inflammation of the salivary glands should always be treated by a doctor. This disease can lead to serious complications that make everyday life much more difficult for those affected. For this reason, a doctor should be consulted at the first sign of salivary gland inflammation. The earlier the diagnosis and treatment of this disease takes place, the better the further course of the disease is usually.
A doctor should be consulted if the person affected suffers from significant reddening of the skin or a severe rash. This usually leads to the formation of pus and not infrequently to an outflowing secretion. In many cases, those affected also suffer from discomfort when chewing or swallowing. Swollen lymph nodes or a very strong fever can also indicate inflammation of the salivary glands. The affected person can hardly open their mouth and therefore no longer eat or drink any liquids.
The salivary gland inflammation can be treated by a general practitioner or by an ENT doctor. In most cases, there are no special complications, and the disease is completely cured.
Treatment & Therapy
If the inflammation of the salivary glands is due to a bacterial infection, treatment with antibiotics is advisable. Pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory drugs are taken when the disease is caused by viruses.
So-called salivators can be used to increase saliva production, which cleans the salivary glands. Furthermore, existing salivary stones can be flushed out in this way. Classic salivators are drinks, chewing gum and candies.
Furthermore, salivary stones can be destroyed or broken up with the help of a massage of the gland or extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy. Ultrasonic waves are directed at the salivary stone, causing it to fall apart. They are then usually flushed out with the flow of saliva. If this form of therapy is unsuccessful in the salivary gland inflammation, the larger particles must be surgically removed.
If there is an abscess, it must be split. This is the only way the pus can drain away. A complete removal of the salivary gland is only necessary if the inflammation is constantly recurring or if a tumor is suspected.
If a malignant tumor has been diagnosed, the only suitable treatment method is to remove the diseased tissue and the salivary gland. This is usually followed by radiation therapy. The appropriate treatment is therefore based on the causes of the salivary gland inflammation.
Inflammation of the salivary glands can only be prevented to a limited extent. Important preventive measures are adequate fluid intake and thorough oral hygiene and dental care. In addition, increased production of saliva can be a preventive measure as it cleans the salivary glands and can flush out any salivary stones. This can be achieved by sucking on sour candy. If a salivary stone is diagnosed, it should be removed as a preventative measure. This can also prevent inflammation of the salivary glands.
The course of an inflammation of the salivary glands depends on the causal factors and the chosen treatment method. The follow-up treatments and follow-up examinations should also be differentiated accordingly. If the salivary gland inflammation is caused by bacteria, it can subside and heal completely within a few days with the right medication.
Follow-up treatment is not necessary in these cases. It becomes more problematic when the disease is based on autoimmune reactions, which are usually treated with glucocorticoids (cortisone). The aftercare treatments are then aimed at minimizing the side effects of the cortisone treatment, such as water accumulation in the tissue, and aligning one’s own behavior with the fact that the immune system is somewhat suppressed and the risk of infection therefore increases.
Inflammation of the salivary glands can also be triggered as a side effect of certain medications. There is then a risk of chronic salivary gland inflammation, which is difficult to combat. Effective follow-up treatment consists of finding an adequate replacement for the drug and making sure that the offending drug remains off limits in the future.
Drugs that have already been identified as possible causes of salivary gland inflammation include antidepressants, diuretics and antihistamines, as well as beta-blockers and calcium antagonists. In many cases, viruses such as the Epstein-Barr virus, the mumps virus and the influenza virus are the cause of the disease. A special aftercare after overcoming the virus infection is not necessary.
You can do that yourself
To support the organism, the immune system should be stabilized, especially in inflammatory processes. With a balanced and healthy diet, sufficient exercise and the avoidance of harmful substances such as nicotine and alcohol, you can improve your own health. In addition, sleep hygiene should be optimized. The daily rhythm should be adapted to the needs of the body and states of stress should be avoided.
A good work-life balance should be established in everyday life. A harmony between fulfilling professional duties and organizing leisure activities helps to maintain one’s own health and contributes significantly to improving impairments. In some cases, inflammatory processes can regress independently if the body’s defense system is healthy. Sufficient rest and no situation of overexertion or strong emotional stress is necessary for this.
If medical care is sought, the doctor’s instructions must be followed. Discontinuing prescribed medicines on one’s own responsibility can lead to an immediate worsening of the overall situation. Good oral hygiene provides support beforehand and during the healing process. Teeth should be cleaned thoroughly at least twice a day. In addition, regular participation in prophylaxis is highly recommended. Viruses and bacteria in the mouth area are removed in this way.