Health & Fit My Cold Turned Out to Be Giant Salivary Stones

03:21  07 december  2017
03:21  07 december  2017 Source:   Self

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Douglas went to a bathroom and grabbed his cell phone to record a video. Filmed an approximately a giant salivary stone coming out of his mouth. This is the stomach- turning moment a man pushes a salivary stone out of his submandibular duct.

  My Cold Turned Out to Be Giant Salivary Stones © Letizia Le Fur/Getty Images

Sitting in bed on a Saturday afternoon, my eyes filled with tears as I spooned cold, plain macaroni noodles into my mouth. Without chewing, they slid down my throat one-by-one until the pain became unbearable. I dropped the bowl, still full, onto my nightstand and laid back on my pillow feeling helpless as tears slid down my cheeks, past my chin, and over the solid golf ball-sized mass protruding from the left side of my neck.

The mass had developed a couple of weeks prior and had been growing by the day. When I first noticed it, it was about the size of a shelled peanut. But it grew and grew and was now very noticeably protruding from my neck. The pain also worsened as the weeks went by: What had been a minor irritation in my mouth soon became excruciating pain every time I tried to eat or drink. And although the mass was on my neck, my throat didn’t hurt like a typical sore throat. All of the pain was localized inside the back of my mouth, as though a sharp needle was stabbing the fleshy part behind my tongue.

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Giant salivary gland stones (GSGS) are those stones measuring over 1.5 cm and have been rarely reported in the medical literature.2,3 GSGS measuring over 3 cm are extremely rare, with only scant reported

These stones are referred to as salivary gland stone or Salivary Duct Stones , Salivary Calculi and Sialolithiasis. The size of these stones can be anywhere from 1 mm to a few centimeters in size. In most cases, about 9 out of 10, the stones are less than 10 mm in size.

Unable to handle the pain any longer, I made my way to an urgent care clinic where a doctor pressed two gloved fingers against my neck and shone a light down my throat. I winced as she tried to pry apart my jaw, which felt locked in place even though it was less than half-way open. Between the pain in my mouth and the hunger from not having eaten a full meal in over a week, I was miserable.

When I told the doctor I suspected I had salivary stones, I could tell by her face that she didn't believe me.

When I Googled my symptoms (swollen glands, mouth pain, difficulty eating) the phrase “salivary stones” kept popping up. I quickly learned (and saw in disturbing YouTube videos) that salivary stones are mineral deposits that block your saliva flow. I could tell the doctor thought I was one of those annoying patients who uses the internet to diagnose themselves. She said she thought I had a cold, and told me she’d only seen salivary stones two or three times in her 25-year career. But after taking a look at the salivary ducts in the back of my mouth under my tongue, she referred me to an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist.

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Benjamin Liess, M.D., F.A.C.S., the otolaryngologist who treated me, confirmed what I had assumed: I had salivary stones, also known as sialolithiasis. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, salivary stones are “deposits of minerals in the ducts that drain the salivary glands.” They occur when the chemicals in saliva form a hard crystal that blocks the salivary duct. Dr. Liess tells SELF that he treats the condition about three to six times per year.

“It’s typically a function of slow saliva movement,” Dr. Liess says. “But [poor diet] or [bacterial] infections can also contribute to salivary stones, especially infections that leave behind scar tissue.” He says that physical trauma or laceration to the gland that leaves behind scar tissue, as well as dehydration, can also lead to salivary stones.

When I first noticed my swollen gland two days before New Year’s Eve in December 2016, I was understandably surprised. My left gland had been swelling every few months for about two years at that point. It usually lasted a few days to a week and was never painful. This time, though, the lump showed no sign of receding. Prior to going to the urgent care center, I went to the doctor twice looking for a reason as to why I was in so much pain, and both times I was told I had a cold and that it would pass. I’d had plenty of colds in my life and knew that this was something different, but no one seemed to believe me.

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This is the stomach- turning moment a man pushes a salivary stone out of his submandibular duct. What causes salivary stones ? "When spit ( saliva ) cannot exit a blocked tube (duct), it backs up into the gland, causing pain and swelling of the gland.

X-Ray of a giant salivary gland stone or megalith in the duct of the left submaxillary gland.

I tried every home remedy in the book to get rid of the stones naturally, even drinking straight vinegar.

Dr. Liess told me there was no apparent cause for my salivary stones and that I should try some home remedies first. The hope was that the stones would pass naturally if I could produce enough saliva, which would increase the pressure against the stones and push them out, if they were small enough. I spent the next few days sucking on lemons, eating sour candies, and drinking straight vinegar to increase my saliva production. Dr. Liess also recommended warm compresses.

“Sometimes [the stones are small] and you can [basically] squeeze them out,” Dr. Liess says. He says that if the stones are 1-1.5 cm or larger, they'll likely require surgery to remove. “Other times, they get stuck in the duct or grow so large they get stuck in the gland.” The duct, a tube-like passageway, drains saliva into the mouth from the gland, which produces saliva.

But nothing I tried worked and the pain only intensified, so I was sent for a CT scan, the standard test to diagnose salivary stones and determine their size, to see why the stones weren’t able to pass naturally. The scan showed that not only did I have two stones, but that one was too large to pass naturally. While one stone was stuck in the duct, the other was fully embedded in my submandibular gland, the main gland that produces saliva. The only way to remove the stones involved removing the gland itself, which required surgery.

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This review analyzes which people have Salivary duct stones with Lisinopril. It is created by eHealthMe based on reports from FDA, and is updated regularly. If you take Lisinopril and have Salivary duct stones , find out what symptoms you could have in 1 year or longer.

[Editors note: Graphic post-surgery images are coming up]

According to Dr. Liess, trying to remove the embedded stone without also removing the gland would have put me at risk for developing stones again in the future, so the suggestion was to remove the entire gland. Interestingly, this doesn't reduce saliva production in the long-run for the patient, he says, because there are hundreds of other saliva-producing glands.

a group of different types of food: Courtesy of Kate Gardner © Courtesy of Kate Gardner / Smaller stone (left) was removed from duct, larger stone (right) was remo... Courtesy of Kate Gardner According to the U.S. Library of Medicine, the submandibular glands are one of three pairs of salivary glands. They’re located on each side of the jaw and transfer saliva into the mouth. Because of the other sets of glands, losing one of mine didn’t have any affect on my ability to produce saliva (remember, the other glands make up for it). Dr. Liess says that the biggest surgical risk during stone removal is potential nerve damage to the face, since the nerves run closely to where the gland is located. Leaving the stones in, though, wasn’t an option for me, especially because people who put off the procedure develop infections and severe pain, Dr. Liess says.

Surgery went well, but recovery was absolutely miserable.

My surgery, which happened on January 19, 2017, had no complications and took around an hour. Dr. Liess says there are two ways to perform the surgery, but that he prefers the method that goes through the neck (rather than through the mouth). He used a nerve monitor during the procedure to prevent any facial nerve damage. I was completely sedated with anesthesia, which took me about two hours to wake from.

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a tattoo on his mouth: Courtesy of Kate Gardner © Courtesy of Kate Gardner / Drainage tube placed the day of surgery Courtesy of Kate Gardner It wasn’t until I was home in bed and my grogginess faded that I realized there was a large tube protruding from my neck. As my finger traced the tube's entrance in my neck down about two feet to the rubber bag of blood and fluid pinned to my shirt, I panicked. My mom assured me that Dr. Liess had told me about the tube and how to clean it, but I had no memory of it as I was still shaking off the anesthesia. (Thank goodness my mom was there to take notes!)

The next four days were nothing short of pure hell. Prisoner to the tube, I laid stiff on my back day and night, only getting up to go to the bathroom. The slightest movement or shift in weight pulled on the tube, leaving me in constant anxiety that I would accidentally rip it out. (Doing so would have been near impossible, though. The tube was about two-inches deep in my neck and held in place with stitches.) Aftercare included keeping antibacterial ointment on the incision site; Dr. Liess says that oral antibiotics are rarely necessary unless an infection is spotted during the surgery.

Getting the tube removed four days later was incredibly painful. With the stitches taken out, Dr. Liess wrapped his fist around the tube and removed it with one quick yank. Following a sharp yelp, my vision blurred and the doctor and his assistant appeared to be wobbling back and forth in the suddenly too bright room. Overheated, I ripped off my winter hat and chucked it to the floor. I leaned back and tried to steady my breathing and spinning head. I looked down at my knuckles, which were white from gripping the chair, and then up to Dr. Liess’s face. Despite just putting me through the worst pain of my life, he was smiling. (I took this as a sign that all had gone well with the tube removal.) I blinked through the fuzziness as he congratulated me on not passing out, then taped gauze over the hole in my neck. I gave him a weak smile back before heading to the lobby in a daze where my friend was waiting to drive me home.

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Is this surgery you are talking about with the tiny tube to take out stones or the actual salivary glands? Doctor says I have the blocked gland for life. It gives pain when I eat, and looks like I have a constant cold sore.

Now, my surgical scar reminds me of my determination to find a proper diagnosis.

The hole from the tube closed within a week. Now almost a year later, my two-inch scar is hardly noticeable. Dr. Liess created the incision along a natural crease of my neck allowing the faint pink scar to blend in. I still dab ointment on the scar from time to time if it itches, but for the most part, I don’t notice it and can barely feel it with my finger. It’s as if I never had salivary stones.

Surprisingly, I’m proud to show off my scar. It’s a reminder not only of the pain I endured, but of my persistence in determining what was happening to my body. I knew I needed a second, and then third, opinion to prove that I had more than a simple cold, and I now understand the importance of trusting my body.

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