Parotitis - Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, and Pictures

Updated on October 22, 2016

What Is Parotitis?

Parotitis is the medical term that is given to the infection and inflammation of the salivary glands. The salivary glands are also known as your "parotid glands." These glands are buried in the back of each of your cheeks, just below and in front of your ears. You can get an infection and inflammation in one or both of the glands. Your salivary glands are responsible for producing saliva, which is important in keeping your mouth clean. If you have an inflammation in those glands, their ability to function correctly decreases and could lead to an infection in your mouth. It can affect any age, gender, or race.

Symptoms of Parotitis

When your parotid glands are swollen and inflamed, a variety of symptoms can occur, and they can vary in intensity with each person. There are some patients who do not even realize they have parotitis, while others have severe pain and swelling.

Neck and throat symptoms:

  • Bad taste in the mouth
  • Difficulty opening the mouth
  • Dry mouth
  • Fever
  • Facial or mouth pain, especially while eating
  • Redness over the upper neck or the side of the face
  • Sore throat
  • Swelling in the jaw region, particularly in front of the ears or on the floor of the mouth
  • Headache

Symptoms that may indicate a condition that is serious:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • High fever (over 101 degrees Fahrenheit)

Causes of Parotitis

There are many different causes of parotitis:

  • Bacterial infections - This cause is more common in elderly people because they often take medication that can cause dry mouth. If your flow of saliva is decreased, bacteria can collect and grow in the tube the saliva travels through to get from the parotid gland to your mouth, causing an infection.
  • Salivary stone in your parotid glands - If this happens, your saliva flow is blocked and can sometimes lead to an infection and having swollen gland(s).
  • Mucus plugs - When your parotid glands make saliva it is with mucus, and if the mouth is dry it causes the mucus to thicken, which can slow down, or even block the flow of your saliva.
  • Viral infections - The most common viral infection used to be mumps, but due to vaccinations it is rare to get mumps today.
  • AIDS - Approximately five out of every one hundred people who have HIV/AIDS have problems with their parotid glands.
  • Tumor - This is is not usually cancerous, but a tumor can block the flow of your saliva.
  • Certain medical conditions - Although these medical conditions do not cause an infection, they can cause problems with your parotid glands. Some of these medical conditions include bulima, diabetes, and alcoholism.


The first thing that needs to be done before treatment can be started is to find out what is causing the swelling of your parotid glands and causing parotitis. The physician will examine your glands for pain and tenderness symptoms. If the skin over the gland area is warm and red along with the area being sore and tender, you have probably have an infection in your parotid gland. In order to confirm the cause is the physician will do imaging tests such as a CT scan, MRI, or X-ray, and also order blood work to rule out tumors, stones, or other abnormalities. Once the physician has the results, then they can determine the right treatment.


If the swelling is from bacterial parotitis or any other type of infection, the physician will usually prescribe a course of antibiotic treatment. If there are stones, then the physician will suggest that they be removed using a surgical method that is non-invasive. Small stones can be removed with a probe, but the larger stones will probably require surgery. Some of the salivary stones can be pulled out with tweezers or flushed out. There are some people who have a lot of these salivary stones. If you have the initial stages of a tumor, the physician will start you on a medication to help slow down, and maybe even stop, the condition. If it is necessary there is surgery to excise the gland(s) affected. You may also need surgery to drain any infected material from the salivary glands.

At home you need to concentrate on reducing the tenderness and swelling along with managing the symptoms of pain, if you have any.

Here are some more treatments you can do at home:

  • Drink plenty of water, and stay well hydrated.
  • Apply warm compresses to the swollen areas.
  • You can gargle with warm salt water four times daily.
  • If you have a blocked parotid gland you can gently massage the gland(s) that are affected to help return the normal flow of saliva to your mouth.
  • If the cause is a mucus plug, you can make more saliva by drinking plenty of water along with sucking on sugar-free, sour hard candies.
  • For pain you can take over-the-counter "nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications," such as ibuprofen, naproxen, Advil, etc. If the pain is severe, your physician may prescribe a narcotic pain reliever for short-term use.
  • You should also practice good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing at least two times a day to help with the healing, and to help prevent the infection from spreading.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I've remembered that ubapxectenle time when my three years old nephew has got brain tumor that is almost a non curable disease Lots of medical treatment and check-ups had been done but there is no positive response by the cancer specialists and they advised us that leave him on the grace of god with regular medicines Now he is around 14 years old but disabled by his left eye,hand and leg as well as he's still alive.I've seen that moment when a little baby was fighting with death for life I don't know this is a boon of god or curse that he's still alive as he gotta that serious disease brain tumor just at 3 yrs ..?????????????

    • Susan Recipes profile image


      6 years ago from India

      Informative share. Thanks for sharing. Voted up & useful.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)