AskDefine | Define parotitis

Dictionary Definition

parotitis n : inflammation of one or both parotid glands

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. Inflammation of one or both parotid glands.

Extensive Definition

Parotitis is an inflammation of one or both parotid glands, the major salivary glands located on either side of the face, in humans. The parotid gland is the salivary gland most commonly affected by inflammation.
Bacterial causes: Parotitis is most often caused by a bacterial infection of Staphylococcus aureus, but can result from viral infection, and other causes. The bacterium which causes tuberculosis can also cause parotid infection. Acute suppurative parotitis is a very painful bacterial infection of the gland. It is contracted by bacteria and is treatable with antibiotics.
Viral causes: The most common viral cause of parotitis is mumps. Routine vaccinations have dropped the incidence of mumps to a very low level. Mumps goes away on its own in about ten days.
Blockage: Blockage of the main parotid duct, or one of its branches, is often a primary cause of acute parotitis, with further inflammation secondary to bacterial superinfection. The blockage may be from a salivary stone, a mucous plug, or, more rarely, by a tumor, usually benign. Salivary stones, also called salivary calculi, are mainly made of calcium, but do not indicate any kind of calcium disorder.Salivary Gland Stones (Salivary Calculi) Accessed March 20, 2008. Stones may be diagnosed via X-ray (with a success rate of about 80%) or a computed tomography (CT) scan. Stones may be removed by manipulation in the doctor's office, or, in the worst cases, by surgery. Lithotripsy, also known as "shock wave" treatment, is best known for its use breaking up kidney stones. Lithotripsy can now be used on salivary stones as well. Ultrasound waves break up the stones, and the fragments flush out of the salivary duct.
Sjögren's syndrome: Chronic inflammation of the salivary glands may also be an autoimmune disease known as Sjögren's syndrome. The cause is unknown. The syndrome is often characterized by excessive dryness in the eyes, mouth, nose, vagina, and skin.
Other diseases: Swelling without pain and without infection also constitutes a form of parotitis, which may be acute or chronic. Diabetes, alcoholism, and bulimia may cause enlarged parotid glands, usually without pain.What is Parotitis? via Colgate. Accessed March 20, 2008. A small percentage of people with AIDS may experience perotitis.



  • Brook I. Acute bacterial suppurative parotitis: microbiology and management. [Journal Article] Journal of Craniofacial Surgery. 14(1):37-40, 2003.
  • Mandel L. Surattanont F. Bilateral parotid swelling: a review. [Review] [160 refs] [Journal Article. Review] Oral Surgery Oral Medicine Oral Pathology Oral Radiology & Endodontics. 93(3):221-37, 2002.
parotitis in German: Parotitis
parotitis in Dutch: Parotitis
parotitis in Norwegian: Kusma
parotitis in Chinese: 腮腺炎
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