Salivary gland disorders can cause everything from dryness to excessive saliva production to trouble talking, swallowing and in some cases, can produce tumors. No matter how your particular condition affects you, otolaryngologists in the Sutter Health network can help you cope with and treat it.
- Dry mouth — Most people have experienced dryness in the mouth, but dry mouth is a persistent dry and sticky feeling that can make it difficult to eat and swallow. There are many causes of dry mouth, including medications, cancer treatment and other medical conditions, like salivary duct stones. Depending on the cause of your dry mouth, your doctor may take a few different approaches.
- Excessive saliva production — A range of conditions can cause excessive saliva production, including abscesses, strep through and sinus and other infections. Some medications can also cause saliva production. When you see your doctor, she may suggest avoiding certain foods, visiting a speech therapist, medication or more intense treatments, like Botox or surgery.
- Salivary gland cancer — Cancer of the salivary glands is relatively rare, but can occur, especially if you’ve undergone radiation treatment or been exposed to radiation. People with salivary gland cancer usually first notice a lump or trouble swallowing. The cancer may also be caught by your doctor or dentist. If your doctor suspects you have salivary gland cancer, he or she will order one of several different types of imaging tests or do a biopsy to help make a diagnosis. If you do have salivary gland cancer, your doctor may suggest surgery, chemotherapy, radiation or some combination of these options.
- Salivary gland infections — Infections of the salivary glands often come from another illness or condition, such as mumps or salivary duct stones. Another cause is poor oral hygiene. If you have a salivary gland infection, you may notice swelling, pain or bad tastes in your mouth. You might also have a fever. If your doctor finds out that you do have an infection, she may prescribe you antibiotics. If the case is severe, you may also need surgery.
- Sjogren’s syndrome — This condition causes your body to attack your salivary glands and tear ducts, but can also have negative effects on other parts of your body. The disease is most common in women over 40. If your doctor suspects that you have, Sjogren’s Syndrome, she may do a number of tests to make sure. Treatment usually focuses on relieving symptoms.