The parotid glands are the glands responsible for producing saliva. You have two such glands, one in each cheek with tiny ducts around the level of the upper back teeth. As you chew, your jaw muscles stimulate the parotid gland and saliva is excreted to lubricate the mouth. Put simply parotitis is a salivary gland infection. It is an inflammation of one or both of the parotid glands.
Parotitis symptoms include inflammation, pain, swelling and tenderness over the parotid glands. Patients with parotitis will have trouble chewing due to pain. Parotitis Symptoms can also manifest in the appearance of pus from the parotid gland ducts. If untreated, parotitis symptoms can become worse and cause more discomfort.
Parotitis has two primary causes – bacterial and viral. Parotitis is usually caused by a bacterial infection of staphylococcus aureus, bacteria often found in the nose and on the skin. It can also be caused by the same bacteria that causes tuberculosis. The most common cause of Parotitis caused by a viral infection is mumps. Sjogren’s disease is another cause, although far less common. It is a disease that mostly affects people aged 40 to 60 years old, but it can show up in small children. The syndrome includes dryness of the eyes, mouth, nose and vagina. Blockage is also a primary cause of Parotitis. The blockage can be caused by salivary stone, mucous plug or rarely a tumor. Diet has no bearing on your parotid glands and is not one of the parotitis causes.
Parotitis treatment takes the form of either medication or, depending on the severity and frequency of recurrence of the infection, surgery may sometimes be performed. If in the case of medication, antibiotics are normally prescribed. Along with that, localized heat, massage of the parotid glands and rehydration are performed to aid the relief of symptoms and relieve some of the discomfort that parotitis causes. In most cases, if treated correctly, symptoms and infections associated with parotitis will usually recline. If the parotitis is caused as a secondary infection, as in the case of mumps, treatment is focused on the primary cause and not focused on parotitis treatment. In extreme cases, when parotitis reoccurs chronically, surgery may be necessary. The more common reason for surgery to be performed due to parotitis is to remove salivary stones or tumors, which are usually benign.