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Acute Sialadenitis

Acute Sialadenitis, also known as acute inflammation of the salivary glands, is usually caused by a bacterial infection and it is known to mostly affect the submandibular gland (under the chin) or the parotid gland (located in front of the ear).

Causes & Symptoms of Sialadenitis

A dry mouth or dehydration are the major risk factors that lead to sialadenitis. Hence, this condition is more common in individuals who are on medications that cause dry mouth or who are already ill. In addition, there are several medical conditions that can put you at a higher risk of developing acute sialadenitis, such as:

  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Sjogren’s syndrome
  • Recent surgery
  • History of radiation treatment of the oral cavity or mouth

Common symptoms of acute sialadenitis include:

  • Severe pain and swelling that comes on suddenly on the affected gland
  • If the gland is rubbed or massaged, pus may come out of it
  • Redness of the skin over the affected gland
  • Chills and fever
  • The gland may be tender to touch and may feel like a hard lump

Diagnosis of Acute Sialadenitis

A diagnosis of acute sialadenitis is based off the patient’s symptoms and medical history plus a doctor’s examination. If a sample of the pus can be obtained from the affected gland, it is sent to the laboratory to determine what might be causing the infection. This will help in deciding the best course of treatment. The most common type of bacteria that causes acute sialadenitis are the staphylococcus aureus and other different strains of streptococcus.

Acute sialadenitis can also in rare cases be caused by viruses such as the herpes virus, mumps virus, HIV and haemophilus influenza. Viral infections cannot be treated with antibiotics, but rather the symptoms are treated while waiting for the body to fight off the virus on its own. However, in severe cases, antiviral medications may be used. These types of medications are not routinely prescribed because of their severe side effects.

Treatment Options of Acute Sialadenitis

Acute sialadenitis is typically treated with an appropriate course of antibiotics. This can be best achieved if a culture is obtained. Antibiotics should always be taken exactly as prescribed by your physician and the entire dose finished.

Restoring proper flow of saliva is also very important in the treatment of acute sialadenitis. This is best achieved by eating, drinking, or sucking on things that stimulate the flow of saliva such as cough drops as well as drinking plenty of fluids. If you are on medications that cause dry mouth, you should talk to your doctor about switching to a different medication or other ways to manage this side effects.

In rare and extreme cases, acute sialadenitis can lead to formation of an abscess. If this happens, the abscess may have to be drained surgically.

Next Step

At King’s College Hospital Dubai, we focus on offering an exemplary service, from initial consultation through to final diagnosis and treatment and beyond. Our team of expert doctors and nurses are here to offer tailored management and treatment of your condition, and to answer any questions that you might have throughout your time with us. Whatever you need us for, we’re only a phone-call away.

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