If you have a sinus infection, it can cause inflammation of the nasal area. This can be exacerbated by swollen salivary glands in some cases. The swelling is known as hydrophthalmos, caused by blockage of the salivary ducts. When the ducts are blocked, saliva cannot drain out of the salivary glands and they swell up instead. However, usually swollen salivary glands are not directly a result of a sinus infection but rather an unfortunate consequence. Keep reading to know more about whether or not can sinus infection cause swollen salivary glands?
Can Sinus Infection Cause Swollen Salivary Glands?
In this case, the answer is yes. Swollen salivary glands can be caused by a sinus infection. This can be a common occurrence in people who have chronic sinus infections. The most common symptom of a sinus infection is an increase in the pressure inside the skull and facial bones, which causes pain and swelling in the soft tissues around the jaw.
How Does A Sinus Infection Cause Swollen Salivary Glands?
- Salivary glands are under the control of the autonomic nervous system. This is a system that controls many of your body functions, like heart rate and blood pressure. The autonomic nervous system also controls things like sweating and swallowing. When you have a sinus infection, your sympathetic nervous system gets stimulated, which can cause your salivary glands to become swollen.
- Saliva is an important part of digestion and helps break down food in the mouth. Swollen salivary glands can make it hard for saliva to reach the back of your throat where it belongs, so it pools in your mouth instead of breaking down food in your stomach or intestines.
- Swollen salivary glands can also cause pain by pushing on nerves in both sides of the face (the cheekbones). Pushing on these nerves can cause pain and swell in the cheeks or earlobes, which are areas right next to the cheeks (ear lobes).
- When swollen salivary glands press on nerves that run through them, they may cause headaches or earaches by pressing on nearby structures like sinuses or brain tissue (which is known as meningitis).
- Swelling from a sinus infection may also cause other health problems like difficulty breathing through your nose (nasal congestion), coughs or shortness of breath (croup), sore throats, headaches, nausea and vomiting, feverishness/chills/sweats/fever, earaches, and dizziness.
- Lastly, when swollen salivary glands press on nerves that are close to the pain receptors in your head, they may cause pain in your ears. This is called otitis media (middle ear infection), and it can cause hearing loss or other hearing problems.
- In addition to the symptoms listed above, there are other ways that sinus infections can cause problems.
- Sinusitis is a condition that causes swelling of the sinuses, which may be in the front of your face (at your nose), or it may be on both sides of your face (at your cheeks).
- The middle ear is a small space in the middle of your ear that connects to the back of your nose and sinuses. This area may become blocked when you have a sinus infection because mucus can build up in this area and block it, which causes pressure and pain. This can lead to hearing loss or permanent damage to your hearing if you don’t treat it quickly enough.
- If an infection moves from the sinuses down into the tissues around them (called an appendage), it can cause swollen salivary glands near the ears called parotid glands. These glands make saliva and help with digestion, so when they swell from an infection they can press on nearby nerves and cause pain or hearing loss as well as other problems like earaches/headaches/dizziness/nausea/vomiting/chills/sweats, etc.
Other Possible Causes Of Swollen Salivary Glands
- Swollen salivary glands can be caused by a viral infection.
- Swollen salivary glands can be caused by a bacterial infection.
- Swollen salivary glands can be caused by an allergic reaction to some medication or food.
- Swollen salivary glands can be caused by a tumor in the neck or sinuses.
- Thyroid problems, diabetes, and other medical problems may cause swollen salivary glands as well
Tips To Reduce The Swelling Of Salivary Glands Due To Sinusitis
- Avoid all the triggers of the sinus infection which include: pollution, cigarette smoke, dust, and pollen
- Use a saline nasal spray or spray the inside of the nose with a decongestant nasal spray.
- Use a neti pot to clean out your nasal passages using salt water.
- Use anti-bacterial ear drops or drops that help loosen secretions in your nose and sinuses to reduce pain and swelling in your sinuses.
- Take over-the-counter pain medication such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen daily as needed to help relieve pain and swelling in your sinuses from this infection
- Use an over-the-counter cold medicine such as Alka Seltzer which contains aspirin to relieve the pain caused by an infection in your sinus area
- Use a humidifier in your home to help relieve pain and swelling in your sinus area by moistening the air in your home
- Consider taking an over-the-counter pain medication such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen daily as needed to help relieve pain and swelling in your sinuses from this infection
- If you have an infection in the sinus area, avoid all foods that may irritate the tissue around your sinuses and ear canals.
- Avoid using a neti pot or nasal irrigation device to clean out the nasal passages if you have an infection in the sinus area which causes swollen salivary glands
- Avoid sleeping on your side if you have an infected sinus which causes swollen salivary glands
- Avoid drinking alcohol for 24 hours after using a decongestant nasal spray or spray the inside of your nose with a saline nasal spray because it may increase irritation of the lining around the external ear canal and cause more swelling of your salivary glands
There are some rare cases in which a sinus infection leads to swelling of the salivary glands. However, in most cases, swollen salivary glands are due to some other cause. If you have a sinus infection and swollen salivary glands, it is best to see a doctor about treatment for the infection. The doctor will be able to determine the cause of the swollen glands and treat both the infection and the swelling.