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bulging submaxillary gland?

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#1 summer


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Posted 26 October 2010 - 05:04 PM

I have noticed for some time now that I have a bulging Submaxillary gland in the Jaw neck area. This is directly under the chin going down towards the neck. This has to do with the salivary gland, I think.

I am wondering whether this could be related to Sjrogrens or not?

Many thanks


#2 Shelley Ensz

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 02:53 PM

Hi Summer,

I'm sorry for the delay in answering your post; I thought I had, but sometimes the system misfires or I hit the wrong button, thinking I've put it through but I actually cancelled the message <sigh>.

Anyway, it's possible that you might be referring to a parotid gland. Google it, and see if you think that applies to you, or not.

Issues with the parotid gland can be related to Sjogren's. We all have some natural asymmetry to our faces, so a bit of prominence on one side is not necessarily helpful/diagnostic, meaning, the doctor is likely to say they don't see anything wrong.

So, two things to look at are whether you can "prove" the difference to your doctor. This might depend on the degree of prominence or perhaps even on whether it feels different to the touch than the opposite side. Sometimes pictures are even helpful, such as, before and after. Unfortunately most of us don't happen to have good Before pictures for every conceivable body part that can be affected.

The other thing to consider is whether you have any other symptoms that go along with the swelling. I have Sjogren's, and I have had some severe parotid gland problems, most of them in the 1970's. At first, even with pain, swelling, fever, redness, and very abnormal blood tests, I was still dissed by a series of doctors that my dentist steadfastly kept referring me to. One of them said that I was just a young woman "obsessed with my looks", which was certainly an interesting concept to consider. Another said my case was "hopeless" because my blood work showed "everything" and he asked, how could he possibly treat me for lupus, infections, and allergies, all at the same time? Well, all of that was news to me, and his attitude was not very comforting; and this was long before the internet, when things like "lupus" were only weird words, carrying no meaning like they do today, when we can look things up.

I found out, early on, that no part of the medical profession "owns" the parotid gland. The dentists think the doctors should take care of it, the doctors think it belongs to the dentists, and the ENTs even sent me back to the dentist. Eventually the simmering infection in my parotid gland went full force, and I had to be hospitalized for it, whereupon they started to take it more seriously.

I mention this to just warn you to tread carefully in the area of parotid glands. Unless things have changed drastically in the last umpteen years, it is a body part that hardly any specialty recognizes or really takes ownership for. Perhaps if it is combined with other "for sure" symptoms and tests for Sjogren's, you'd have better luck. At that time, way back then, I flunked 2 out of 3 Schirmer's tests on my eyes during the first hospitalization. So since I passed one of them, to their reasoning, that meant I couldn't have Sjogren's; and again, my blood work was all over the road which they found more confusing than helpful.

I'm not saying you should ignore this. I am just saying to tread carefully. Get your ducks in a row. If you already have documented Sjogren's, then you're good to go on reporting it to your doctor. If it's still up in the air, well then, think it through. Arm yourself with a properly failed Schirmer's test, perhaps. Maybe set a visit to cover it with your primary care doctor. But if you have photos, bring them with, because in my personal experience, the medical professionals I encountered, decades ago, did not seem to be entirely up to speed on parotid gland issues.

If you think something is going wrong but aren't really sure yet, take photos today. Take photos today, anyway. And note exactly the angle, distance and lighting you are using so that you can take very compatible pictures, if anything changes (for better, or for worse.) I have found photos invaluable for certain symptoms, like huge swellings or rashes or anything that might change in size or shape before the doctor's appointment.

Best wishes and please let us know how you fare with this, will you? I'd love to hear from others with parotid issues, and I hope that their experiences are lots better than mine were!
Warm Hugs,

Shelley Ensz
Founder and President
International Scleroderma Network (ISN)
Hotline and Donations: 1-800-564-7099

The most important thing in the world to know about scleroderma is sclero.org.

#3 debonair susie

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Posted 29 October 2010 - 05:28 AM

Hi Summer,

I had read your post, but I was struggling with a response, not even giving the parotid gland any thought :o , until Shelley breeched it!

I also have Sjogren's, as well as Trigeminal Neuralgia. I'm not at all even suggesting TN as your problem; I'm only saying that it further complicates MY particular pain issues, in that the trigeminal nerves (in MY case) can effect the pathways of the face.
As Shelley pointed out in her post, it's important to arm yourself and be prepared for resistance,even though our symptoms are so painfully noticeable to us...exact location, as well as the ability to convey to the doctor what is really taking place.

Shelley gave you a lot of "food for thought" through her own experience with Sjogrens/parotid gland. First-hand knowledge shared about how difficult doctors can sometimes be can really challenge us, as patients, who are really experiencing (a great deal of) pain. Compounding that with a doctor who lacks the resolve to help can make things so frustrating.:sick2:

That's why it's so important to have the tools (of knowledge/assertiveness) to advocate for our (own) health.

Fingers crossed, you are able to "break though" to a doctor who has the knowledge of your symptom and can treat you soon!

Please keep us posted, as we are concerned about how you fare.
Special Hugs,

Susie Kraft
ISN Support Specialist
ISN Chat Host
International Scleroderma Network (ISN)

#4 summer


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Posted 29 October 2010 - 10:25 AM

Thanks Shelley and Susie, I will let you know how I get on.

Summer :thank-you: