National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

Skip to the navigation


It is possible that the main title of the report Sialadenitis is not the name you expected. Please check the synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and disorder subdivision(s) covered by this report.


  • Salivary Gland Infection

Disorder Subdivisions

  • None

General Discussion

Sialadenitis is a condition characterized by inflammation and enlargement of one or more of the salivary glands, the glands that secrete saliva into the mouth. There are both acute and chronic forms. Sialadenitis is often associated with pain, tenderness, redness, and gradual, localized swelling of the affected area. The exact cause of sialadenitis is not known.


Symptoms of sialadenitis include enlargement, tenderness, and redness of one or more salivary glands. These are the glands in the mouth, located near the ear (parotid), under the tongue (sublingual), and under the jaw bone (submaxillary), plus numerous small glands in the tongue, lips, cheeks and palate. Salivary stones (calculi) may block secretions from any of these glands. The gland may sometimes become infected, leading to fever and other complications.

Decreased salivary flow is a hallmark of both the acute and chronic forms of sialadenitis. The pain is more obvious while eating, and more than three-quarters of patients complain of dry mouth (xerostomia).


The exact cause of sialadenitis is unknown. In some cases, the condition may be associated with the formation of salivary gland stones (sialolithiasis).

Affected Populations

Sialadenitis affects males and females in equal numbers. It shows no racial biases.

Standard Therapies


The disorder is often diagnosed by means of a thorough patient history and physical examination. Recent advances in endoscopic equipment make the diagnosis somewhat easier.


Initial treatment of sialadenitis involves antibiotic therapy and rehydration of the patient. Patients are referred to specialists (otolaryngologists) if any signs of facial nerve involvement are present or if drainage of the swelling is contemplated. If a stone is present, gentle massage may help move it out of the gland. Otherwise, surgery may be indicated.

Investigational Therapies

Information on current clinical trials is posted on the Internet at All studies receiving U.S. government funding, and some supported by private industry, are posted on this government web site.

For information about clinical trials being conducted at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, MD, contact the NIH Patient Recruitment Office:

Tollfree: (800) 411-1222

TTY: (866) 411-1010


For information about clinical trials sponsored by private sources, contact:

A clinical trial on the treatment of chronic sialadenitis with intraductal penicillin or saline produced promising results. Additional study of this treatment method is needed.

Other experimental investigations deal with improved endoscopic techniques for the imaging and detection of chronic sialadenitis.



Ballenger JJ, ed. Diseases of the Nose, Throat, Ear, Head and Neck. 14th ed. Lea & Febiger, Malvern, PA; 1991:300-301.


Morimoto Y, Tanaka T, Tominaga K, et al. Clinical application of magnetic resonance sialographic 3-dimensional reconstruction imaging and magnetic resonance virtual endoscopy for salivary gland duct analysis. J Oral Maxillodac Surg. 2004;62:1237-45.

Zenk J, Koch M, Bozzato A, et al. Sialoscopy- initial experiences with a new endoscope. Br J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2004;42:293-98.

Antoniades D, Harrison JD, Epivatianos A, et al. Treatment of chronic sialadenitis by intraductal penicillin or saline. J Oral Maxillodac Surg. 2004;62:431-34.

Grotz KA, Wustenberg P, Kohnen R, et al. Prophylaxis of radiogenic sialadenitis and mucositis by coumarin/troxerutine in patients with head and neck cancer - a prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study. Br J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2001;39:34-39.


Sclerosing Sialadenitis. The Doctor's Doctor. Last Updated 3/27/2003. 11pp.

Yoskovitch A. Submandibular Sialadenitis/Sialadenosis. emedicine. Last Updated: November 18, 2003. 15pp.


NIH/National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research

Building 31, Room 2C39

31 Center Drive, MSC 2290

Bethesda, MD 20892


Tel: (301)496-4261

Fax: (301)480-4098

Tel: (866)232-4528



Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center

PO Box 8126

Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8126

Tel: (301)251-4925

Fax: (301)251-4911

Tel: (888)205-2311

TDD: (888)205-3223


Madisons Foundation

PO Box 241956

Los Angeles, CA 90024

Tel: (310)264-0826

Fax: (310)264-4766



For a Complete Report

This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.® (NORD). Cigna members can access the complete report by logging into For non-Cigna members, a copy of the complete report can be obtained for a small fee by visiting the NORD website. The complete report contains additional information including symptoms, causes, affected population, related disorders, standard and investigational treatments (if available), and references from medical literature. For a full-text version of this topic, see