What is the treatment for salivary gland disorders?
This will entirely depend on the cause. See the separate leaflets on the individual conditions, where available, for details. Briefly, treatment of some of the more common causes is as follows:
Mumps. This gets better on its own over a week or so with no treatment. Paracetamol or ibuprofen may help with the symptoms. Avoid school or work for five days after symptoms start. See separate leaflet called Mumps for more information.
Bacterial infections. These are treated with antibiotics. Encourage the flow of saliva by drinking enough fluid and by sucking lemon drops or chewing gum. Warm compresses may be helpful.
Stones. Many of these pass through the duct eventually on their own without needing any treatment at all. Others may need help from a specialist surgeon. Stones can be removed in a number of ways. See separate leaflet called Salivary Gland Stones (Salivary Calculi) for more information.
Sjögren's syndrome. If you have been diagnosed with this condition you will usually be referred to a specialist in joint problems (a rheumatologist). This is because it tends to be associated with other conditions causing joint problems. The dry mouth symptoms are usually treated with artificial saliva products, or by advice about what you can do to encourage saliva to flow. This includes chewing gum, sucking lemon drops, and drinking enough fluid. Sometimes a medicine called pilocarpine is prescribed which encourages the salivary glands to produce more saliva. If you have Sjögren's syndrome, you should take extra good care of your teeth and visit your dentist regularly. See separate leaflet called Sjögren's Syndrome for more information.
Tumours. If you are thought to have a tumour in your salivary gland, you would be referred to a specialist team. Usually the tumour, or in some cases the entire salivary gland, is removed with an operation. Surgery may be followed by radiotherapy. The exact plan will depend on the type of tumour and where it is.
Are there any complications with salivary gland disorders?
Again, this depends on the individual diagnosis. Some complications of some salivary gland disorders include:
- Mumps: in males there can be infection of the testicles (epididymo-orchitis) which can cause problems with fertility later in life. Occasionally the infection of mumps can spread to other parts of the body causing other problems.
- Sjögren's syndrome: a number of complications are associated with this condition, including infections and tumours of the salivary glands, miscarriage in pregnant women, nerve problems and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
- Stones: further stones may form in future. Blockage of the gland can result in infection or damage.
- Tumours: operations to the parotid gland involve having to work around one of the main nerves of the face. If this is damaged, there can be weakness of one side of the face afterwards.
- Any cause of damage to the salivary gland may result in long-term problems with its function. This can result in a dry mouth and problems with teeth.
Further reading and references
Hi Guys,I am desperate to find out what is wrong with my wife, doctors do not seem to know. My wife has been ill for around 10 weeks with tonsillitis, severe headaches, bacterial infection in legs....Phileas69
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. Patient Platform Limited has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.