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Swollen neck gland, mouth dryness, difficulty in moving tongue, mouth irritation after eating. Help?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 1986
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4 mos. ago I got what I believe was the flu. One symptom was a swollen gland on the right side of my neck. All other symptoms (fever,cough etc.)went away. The swollen gland remained & has now become 2 swollen glands-one on each side of my neck. Other symptoms started to emerge. An extreme dry mouth. Foods that I used to like taste bitter or strange to me now. From what I see , it seems to be salty foods-mayonnaise,bacon,potato chips etc. One other strange symptom is that I cant move my tongue around with full motion. I cant stick it all the way out of my mouth or put it up between my cheek & gums (the way you might after you eat & want to get bits of food out from there.) After a meal, my mouth (especially under the tongue) is irritated or hurts. The saltier the meal, the more the glands will swell. I am 41 yrs. old, 325 lbs, 6' 2" tall & have been a smoker for 26 yrs. By the way, oddly enough, the smoking does not seem to irritate my condition. Any help would be much appreciated.
Posted Sun, 19 May 2013 in General Health
Answered by Dr. Nirmala P 3 hours later
Thanks for asking in Healthcare Magic.

The swollen gland you are mentioning could be the parotid or sub mandibular gland swelling. If the swelling is in the upper part on the side of neck, lifting the ear lobule it is Parotid gland. If the site is below the chin, then it is sub mandibular gland swelling.

Swelling of the gland, dryness of mouth and salty taste could be due to two reasons.
1. Infected salivary gland (Sialadenitis) or
2. Sjogren's syndrome.

Whenever the saliva is highly concentrated, it results in salty taste.

I feel that you may be having sialadenitis. In sialadenitis, since the gland's function is affected due to bacterial infection resulting in reduced (concentrated) secretion of saliva your mouth becomes dry and the food tastes salty. Since saliva is necessary for mastication (munching of food), lack of saliva is giving you difficulty while eating. Also, the glands will typically enlarge after each meal. However you should consult your treating Dr for confirmation of the diagnosis.

You should take plenty of water and fresh fruit juice to overcome the dryness. Antibiotics like Amoxycillin with Clavulanic acid, analgesics for pain and sialogogues to increase salivary secretion are the lines of treatment. Smoking is not advisable now. Your treating Dr will know about these drugs.

Sjogren's, is an auto immune condition. Parotid gland swelling, dryness of eyes and other features like arthritis are common in this condition. In my opinion the possibility of Sjogren's is very minimal for you as you are otherwise healthy.

I hope this helps. I will be happy to assist you if you have any further queries.

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