Parotitis is inflammation in one or both of the parotid glands. These are two large salivary glands that are inside each cheek over the jaw in front of each ear.
Parotitis can be:
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An inflamed parotid gland has several causes. These vary depending on whether the condition is acute or chronic. The most common causes include:
Factors that may increase your chance of parotitis include:
Acute parotitis may cause:
Chronic parotitis may cause:
Chronic parotitis can destroy the salivary glands.
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. This may be enough to make a diagnosis. Tests may include a blood test and a fluid sample from the parotid gland.
Imaging tests evaluate the parotid gland and surrounding structures. These may include:
Treatment depends on what is causing the parotitis. Options may include:
Flossing and thorough tooth brushing at least twice per day may help with healing. Warm salt-water rinses can help keep the mouth moist. If you smoke, talk to your doctor about ways you can quit.
Medications may include:
Your doctor may need to remove a stone, tumor, or other blockage. Increasing saliva flow may be all that is needed to remove a mucus plug.
To help reduce your chances of parotitis:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Library of Medicine
Public Health Agency of Canada
Acute suppurative parotitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated June 21, 2010. Accessed August 28, 2014.
Cain A. Parotitis. Net Doctor website. Available at: http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/diseases/facts/parotitis.htm. Updated October 4, 2005. Accessed August 28, 2014.
Chitre VV, Premchandra DJ. Review: recurrent parotitis. Arch Dis Child. 1997;77:359-363.
Wilson KF, Meier JD, et al. Salivary gland disorders. Am Fam Physician. 2014;9(11):882-888.
Last reviewed June 2014 by Fabienne Daguilh, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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