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Has diabetes and constant thick saliva. After swallowing saliva gets nauseated and has vomited. Cause and treatment?

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Hi, My husband has diabetes and has had constant thick saliva for years. His doctors have not been able to tell him what is causing it or been able to treat it so he can have relief. He has had this for nearly 13 years and if he swallows this saliva he gets nauseated and has vomited from it in the past. Have any of you come across a patient with this problem?
Posted Wed, 28 Aug 2013 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
Answered by Dr. Sumit Bhatti 5 hours later

Thank you for your query.

1. Thick saliva may be due to chronic salivary gland damage due to his diabetes, duct obstruction, genetic predisposition, autoimmune (sicca syndrome), dehydration, acid reflux and so on.

2. A number of test including sialography, X-rays, Neck USG (Ultrasound), FNAC (Fine Needle Aspiration Cytology), Nuclear Salivary Scintigraphy, MRI/ CT Scans and the recent advent of Sialendoscopy, will need to be done before the exact cause can be discovered.

3. Salivary problems such as dry mouth are seen by me in the elderly, especially in the diabetic, however such a combination of symptoms including SCA, TIA's is rare.

4. Rule out a post nasal drip. He may require mucolytics, anti-reflux medication and artificial saliva to dilute his thick secretions. The secretions of the submandibular salivary glands are predominantly thick and mucoid, while the secretions of the parotid salivary glands are thin and serous in consistency. A imbalance in salivary function may explain his thick salivary secretions.

I hope that I have answered your queries. If you have any further questions, I will be available to answer them.

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