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Ear, Nose, and Throat Disorders

Swelling in the mastoid area without pain

08/04/2009

Question:

I can press on the mastoid area and liquid squirts from one side to the other in my mouth. I have had this condition for some time. A couple years ago it was considerably worse. When I used to encounter a situation that caused increase salivation the area under my ears would grow in size to the point of some pain, until I pressed on the area with my fingers to force the fluid into the mouth. It is also possible to blow air into that area with high pressure in the mouth. I`ve assumed that it was a clogged duct of some kind, but the fact that it occurs bilaterally makes me wonder. Where should I go from here?

Thanks in advance for any advice you may have.

Answer:

This sounds like bilateral parotid (salivary or spit) gland swelling. The duct for this gland is in the mouth next to the upper second molar. Pressing on the gland does cause salivation. Sometimes a stone can block the duct causing pain and swelling. Massaging the gland as you describe can help. If it doesn't get better, seeing an ENT for further evaluation is indicated. For now this sounds pretty normal. Good luck and I hope this helps.

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Response by:

David  L Steward, MD David L Steward, MD
Professor of Otolaryngology
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati