ENT Austin | Ear, Nose, and Throat Doctor Austin Tx | Laurence Chu MD
Page: Treating Obstructions


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 clear. 

          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.

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