Sharing experience with salivary stone in the submandibular gland

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Hello, I wanted to share my recent experience with a salivary stone in the submandibular gland. I will say my experience with these stones was fustrating and painful.  Although it can be excurcitingly painful, there is often no quick solution to it. The first time I experience the problem was about 3.5 years ago.  After eating, underneath my chin would swell for 45 minutes to a couple hours.  While the swelling was uncomfortable, I don't remember it as particularly painful.  I went to a number of ENT appointments and had an x-ray taken, but the ENT was never able to confirm the stone, although we both felt pretty confident it was the problem.  

I was put on predisone.  I wish the doctor would have gone into more detail about how this medication can affect you.  I had horrible side effects, including: headaches, auditory hallucinations, extreme mood swings, chills and general discomfort.  The predisone did not seem to clear up the stones immediately, but a couple weeks after taking it the problem did go away.  

The gland did not give me much of a problem the next 3 years.  It might swell with a single meal every 8-10 months, but nothing of note. This last weekend it began swelling after every meal like the old days.  On a Saturday, the fourth of July, the gland swelled and did not go down after eating.  I rarely drink and I was drinking that day, I'll personally say that I felt beer very much agravated the stone and was at least partially responsible for it getting infected. 

Sunday the gland stays inflamed, over the next 48 hours the beginning of what would be excruciating soreness and pain began. It spread to the other side of my neck/chin, throat, jaw gone, teeth and even what felt to be my ear by the end of it.  I also had discomfort and pain when swallowing.  I have since come to understand that the lingering swelling was caused by the infection.  There was puss coming out of the gland underneath my tongue, which was one clue to the infection. 

On Monday I went to the ER and then followed up with an ENT specialist.  I was placed on Keflex (antibiotic) and ibprofen, at that point I declined the predisone as I wasn't sure it had done much the last time and it caused horrible side-effects.  I was also instructured to suck on lemon drops, drink lots of water, apply a hot compress and massaged inside/outside of the mouth on the gland.  I did all of these things as religiously as I could.  My plan with the doctor was to regroup in a week after trying these things. 

Monday night/Tuesday morning I had extreme pain and started to feel a lot of anxiety about feeling this way for an entire week.  I called the doctor Tuesday morning and told her what I just wrote (I was extremely emotional from the pain and lack of sleep).  I decided to try the prenisone again and she wrote a script for pain management.  I will say calling my doctor was a very good decision, if you experiencing worsening of your symtoms, even if it is mostly increased pain, please call your physician and find a better plan of care.  She ordered a CT for early the next week too.  

I took the predisone around 2pm this afternoon.  I continued with the others instruction (lemon drops, warm compress, massaging gland, etc).  Pain seemed to get to a more managable level about 4 hours after taking the medication and another dose of ibprofen (600 mg), still a lot of discomfort though. Well about 6pm I begin pushing a LOT of pus out while massaging the gland, it just kept coming for about an hour.  At this point I could finally visualize the stone on the base of gland and was excited because I thought this meant the doctor would be able to remove it.  Luckily for me, it popped right out.  I could immediately feel the gland relieving some of the pressure and an hour later am experiencing  only some lingering swelling (much reduced) and tenderness on the outside of my neck/chin.  No pain when swallowing anymore.  No pain underneath the tongue.  

If anyone is ever dealing with a similar situation, I'd love to answer questions about when helped me.  I feel like I was really scared and anxious through this process and I'd like to help others that might be going through it. 

0 likes, 21 replies

21 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Stefanie. I too have had severe problems with a salivary stone. For years I had repeated infections and severe pain. I could feel the stone but it never came out. In the end my maxilla-facial surgeon removed the gland which was now damaged and he said I would have no more problems even though the stone didn't come out with the gland. Unfortunately six months later I had another infection. This time because there was no gland for the pus to retreat into, the pus poured into my mouth bringing the stone with it. Wonderful. No more infections, pain or swelling. The surgery did leave me with some numbness of my lip which eighteen months on has improved but not completely gone. I have been assured that it should resolve in time.
  • Posted

    I am trying to manage through this right now and appreciate your commentary. This is my second round with this. Last time doctor squeezed stones out. Miserable! I am first attempting sucking lemons and massage.
  • Posted

    Hi, I've had a swollen submandibular gland swollen under the left side of my jaw for 3 months. At first I didn't really know if it was swollen and thought I was imagining it. I really noticed it when one day it swelled up very big after eating, making it difficult to open my mouth wide and swallow. The day this happened I made an appointment with my doctor who gave me a blood test to rule out cancer and also another test to rule out an infection in the body! Both of these tests came back negative. Shortly after my blood tests had came back negative I noticed a hard lump under my tounge on the left side of the floor of my mouth is this the same thing you had to determine it was a salivary stone? Also about two weeks ago I developed oral thrush and I was just wondering if you had the same while having salivary stones? I've heard that having a dry mouth can cause oral thrush and salivary stones can cause a dry mouth? Thanks in advance and sorry for asking I'm just quite worried and would hope you could shed some light on what I may have!
  • Posted

    Please go for ultrasonic diagnostics. I assume there are small stones that are impossible to see of CT.
  • Posted

    Hi Stefnie,

    Thank younfor sharing your horrible experience with us. My 17 year old son noticed a lump on the left floor of his mouth last Aug 29 after his visit to the dentist. He also complained of pain in the left side of his tongue. I immediately called the dentist who did a panoramic xray. Nothing came out since it only showed the teeth portion. He also see his pediatricians. She prescrived Augmentin for a week. The medicine eased the pain bit swelling didnt go away. He is scheduled fmto see an ENT next week.

    I have been asking around and doing some research online and I am very worried if this might be tumor or cancer. Aftwr reading your blog, i am some

    • Posted

      Hi Lyt,

      I have experienced the exact same thing! I first experienced this problem shortly after my 18th birthday in November last year! I have seen ENT's doctors and have also been referred to the hospital to have tests done like x rays and ultrasounds, after seeing the ENT specialist they informed me that I am most probably suffering with a salivary stone due to the solid lump at the left side floor of my mouth. After this I was referred to a hospital where I was given x rays and ultrasounds. However, the X-ray couldn't pick up the stone in my salivary duct so they discharged me and I have heard nothing since. Reading your story, I would say your son is most probably suffering with the same thing. I highly doubt it would be cancer or a tumour however I would suggest getting blood tests to rule it out. I'm learning to live with the salivary stone in which I know I have because I waited a whole year to be referred to a hospital to no avail. I hope I have helped you with sharing you my story!

    • Posted

      Thank you James997 for the positive and encouraging message. I really really pray that this is not cancer. The ENT/otolaryngologist appointment is due next week. Hopefully, I will post the positive results here smile

    • Posted

      Hi lyt, im suffering with the same issues right now awaiting my ent appt. Just wondering what steps did they take or what was the outcome.
  • Posted

    I went to Immediate Care today because after eating breakfast. My face and swollen up and tongue felt weird. I basically told I have a stone in my salivary gland and to eat lemons and suck sour candy. How often did you eat lemons or sour candy before the stone passed?
    • Posted

      You're supposed to do it very frequently but if attempted more than 10 times and is causing a lot more pain - STOP! This indicates that your duct is too blocked and the stone may not be able to pass with that method.

  • Posted

    Hey stefanie, I recently started having problems with swelling on the left lower side of my throat after I eat. I was just wondering, how did you massage the gland inside and outside of your mouth? I want to get mine cleared up as well, as it has been bothering me for about a week now. I've been using a hot compress and eating sour candies to try to free it up, but I want to know how you massaged it. Thanks!

    • Posted

      Hey Charles, I've had a really hard time and my stones in the submandibular gland are past the point of any massage but it may work for you. Go on YouTube and search 'submandibular gland stone massage' and you'll find some videos. It's basically one finger from under your tongue and one from under your chin. Make sure it's the submandibular gland by googling images as massaged are different for parotid and sublingual glands. Also lemons are far better than sour candies. Hope you're feeling better!

  • Posted

    I had a stone in my submandibular for years, i was a child when it first swelled, i had no pain at that stage and doctors didnt really investigate, they put it down to scar tissue caused by glandular fever. Mine was different to yours though as it was constantly swollen. It wasnt until 5 years ago it started causing problems. It suddenly became extremely swollen and painful, i too got an infection. For 3 years after that it would swell and hurt everytime i ate. I finally saw an ENT (i had been on a public waiting list since the infection) who found i had a large stone trapped in the gland. My submandibular gland was removed, i was in surgery for 5 hours and spent 2 days in hospital. My stone was sent to the lab and when the results came back the surgeon said he had never heatd of anuthing like it before, my stone was a peice of food, their best guess was a vegetable, that had became stuck in my gland, probably when i had glandular fever as a child, and calcified over the years.

    6 months later i had a lump come up under my tongue on the same side, that had a yellow top on it, one night it popped and heaps of pus came out, i pressed either side of it and heaps of little stones came out. I dont know if it was stones from the sublingual gland or if they were stones from the saliva tube that was left from the gland removed but it didnt happen again.

    Its been 2 years since my surgery now and im having issues again, this time the pain is all down my neck and ear, feels like inside and outside on the right side again.

  • Posted

    I have been experiencing this nightmare for 5  months now, back in December I went to the doctor with a swelling on my left cheek and under chin, I was prescribed antibiotics and they did help with the swelling but after 2 days i got a bad allergic reaction and my throats felt like it was closing plus severe anxiety it was bactrim ds 800 mg,  I called the doctor and discontinued the medication, I was fine for about 2 weeks then the swelling started all over again so went back to the doctor, gave me a week of erythromycin did nothing , I had CBC blood test showed liver enzymes a little high and cholesterol a little high, doc said to cut back on meat and fried food, I then had Ana, sed reactive and other test to check for lupus, athritis ,and other stuff came back normal, so I then had a ultrasound which found a probable reactive submental gland 1.5 cm, now I have a MRI scheduled and I'm super stressed, the swelling is always there gets worse after eating or doing heavy exercise, also noticed my chin and neck feel more stiff in the morning, my doc says she still suspects a salivary gland problem so we're are waiting for my MRI exam, I noticed that I drank alcohol and my swelling and stiffness really became worse , it felt like it was pressing against my throat and I also had trouble swallowing, all this has been a nightmare as I just want this to end and be treated, can you give me some advice on how to cope and lessen the sumptoms? Really appreciate it ...Dave 

  • Posted

    Hi Stefanie

    I just wanted to say it was encouraging to read your experience as I was starting to get anxious. I have had blocked glands several times before but the pain was always mild.

    This time it is unbearable. I am on antibiotics and co-codemol for the pain but I have not yet been able to eat solids and I'm worried it doesn't seem to improve. Being in pain all the time and not being able to eat and sleep just makes me feel so trapped!

    Having read your story I am now trying warm compress and massage as no doctor mentioned that to me.

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