Sialadenitis is an illness marked by enlargement and inflammation of one or many of the salivary glands present in the mouth. It can in chronic as well as acute forms.The main salivary glands include the parotid, sublingual, and submandibular glands.

Patients may experience redness, tenderness, pain, and slow local swelling of the area that is infected. The exact cause of sialadenitis is not known. But most of the cases are caused by bacterial infection. The painful condition is often prevalent in the elderly suffering from stones of the salivary gland. Infants may also develop the ailment during the initial weeks after birth.Young adults and teens with anorexia are especially vulnerable to developing sialadenitis.

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The condition may also occur due to duct blockages or hypo-secretion, which may not have any apparent cause. The parotid gland is commonly affected by sialadenitis is usually observed in people in the age group of 50 to 60 years; in Sjögren syndrome patients; in people who are chronically ill with xerostomia; and in people who have undergone radiation treatment of the mouth.

It is important treat sialadenitis as untreated instances can trigger serious infections and other health complications, particularly in older or weakened patients

Symptoms of sialadenitis

Some of the common signs and symptoms of sialadenitis are listed below:

  • Development of a painful and tender bump below the chin or in the cheek, inside the oral cavity
  • Infected gland may be sore and firm along with edema, swelling, and erythema of the skin covering it.
  • The affected duct may elicit discharge of a putrid tasting pus into the oral cavity.
  • There may be focal enlargement which is usually indicative of the occurrence of an abscess.
  • There may be one-sided pain and swelling
  • Fever along with chills
  • In extreme cases, patients may suffer from generalized weakness

Types of sialadenitis

The different types of sialadenitis along with associated causes and treatment options are listed below:

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  1. Acute bacterial sialadenitis
  • It is an unexpected inflammatory response to infection by bacteria. Patients may suffer from pain, redness, tenderness and swelling of the affected gland. In the past, this infection was widespread in weakened or dehydrated people, usually after surgery. Now, it usually occurs in people with compromised immune systems and post radiotherapy.
  • Treatment involves alleviation of pain;application of ice bags on affected site; antibiotics and other medications to kill bacteria; and rehydration for realigning the balance of fluids in the body.
  1. Viral sialadenitis
  • The salivary glands are susceptible to infection by different kinds of viruses. Mumps virus is the most prevalent type that causes parotid gland infection. Herpes, HIV, and some flu viruses can also cause viral sialadenitis.
  1. Tuberculosis sialadenitis
  • It refers to infection of the salivary glands by bacteria that cause TB or tuberculosis. It is treated with anti-tuberculosis antibiotics.
  1. Chronic recurrent sialadenitis
  • It is marked by recurrent bouts of swelling and discomfort of any of the salivary glands. It typically develops after meals, but does not cause a lot of pain. The affected gland tends to enlarge on a frequent basis, but there is no redness. Chronic recurrent sialadenitis has links to conditions associated with reduced flow of salivary and not dehydration, including ailments such as:
    • Salivary stasis
    • Formation of a crystal, stone, etc., in the kidneys, gallbladder or other organs of the body
    • Changes in the electrolyte and fluid balance present in the gland.
  • Treatment involves use of antibiotics if needed; massage of the affected gland; stimulation of saliva flow via methods like use of lemon juice, etc.; and surgical removal of the affected gland if the doctor deems it necessary.
  1. Recurrent sialadenitis in children
  • Enlargement of swelling of the salivary ducts due to bacterial infection may cause recurrent sialadenitis in children. Symptoms are similar to those experience by acute bacterial parotitis patients. Treatment involves use of penicillin.
  1. Sialadenitis types associated to rare causes
  • Infection of a salivary gland by a TB-like germ called atypical mycobacteria usually causes sialadenitis in children. The germ often has antibiotic resistance. In severe cases, doctors may opt for surgical removal of the infected gland.
  • A condition called Sjogren’s syndrome which is marked by arthritis and lowered functioning of the glands that secrete tears and saliva. Biopsy of an internal lip tissue and/or blood tests can help diagnose this disorder. Patients may suffer from symptoms like sporadic enlargement of the salivary gland and or a dry mouth.
  • Actinomycosis, which is an infection that affects the parotid gland as well as the skin that covers it. Microscopic investigation of the sulfur granules released by bacteria can help diagnose the condition. Treatment is prolonged and involves use of penicillin for nearly 1 year.
  • Thyroid gland issues and diabetes can result in a case of sialadenitis.
  • Vitamin and other nutritional deficiencies as well as bulimia is another cause.
  • Some metabolic causes of sialadenitis include malabsorption, obesity, and liver cirrhosis.


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