TREATING SALIVARY GLAND OBSTRUCTION
If there is stone blocking the salivary gland duct that can be removed, then removal of this stone will remove
the obstruction and this is the appropriate therapy for this.
Sometimes the stone will come out through the opening of the duct on its own with appropriate manipulation, but
more often it requires surgical removal through the inside of the mouth.
This sometimes can be done under local anesthesia or may require general anesthesia if it is in a child, or
otherwise is more difficult to accomplish.
Very frequently no stone exists, and the problem is primarily thickened mucous blocking the ducts or gland
itself. In this case the steps to reduce obstruction of the gland are as follows:
1. Drink plenty of fluids so that the gland can secrete
adequate liquid to flush out the blockage. Generally, this means drinking three 8 oz. glasses of liquid per
day, but the way you can be sure that your are drinking enough liquid is that when you urinate, your urine is
2. Use Sialogogues: that is, frequently put substances in
your mouth that will cause you to salivate intensely. Basically, anything that is very sour or bitter will
accomplish this best. A good example of this would be to get a container of lemon or lime juice (a small
plastic lemon that can be obtained from the grocery store) and take sips of this frequently throughout the day, may
be as many as 4 – 5 times per hour, or more. This will stimulate the salivary glands to secrete saliva and flush
out any blockage.
3. Massage the glands frequently. Basically,
take your fingers and gently massage the gland from back to forward frequently throughout the day. This
should be done as many as 4-5 times per hour, or whenever you can think of doing it. Once again, this helps
to gently squeeze the saliva out of the gland and flush out the obstruction.
4. Apply hat packs to the affected gland. This is best done
with a washcloth dipped in very hot water and held to the affected area approximately 15 minutes, 3 – 4 times per
day. The washcloth should be as hot as you can stand but not so hot that it burns. Also, when the washcloth begins
to cool down, heat it up in the water again and reapply. You will notice that the skin over the gland becomes
somewhat red when you do this. This increases the blood supply to the gland and generally helps improve its health
and helps to thin the secretions. (It is especially helpful if there is an infection in the gland).
5. Be careful to avoid any medications that might dry you
out unless you must take them for other medical reasons.
6. Occasionally your physician will supply Medications that
thin the secretions, such as Guaifenesin.