My amazing swollen faceWednesday night, after work, Ann and I went to the grocery store and then made a homemade dinner at my house. It was pretty fun (even if I was slightly grumpy), and dinner (baked macaroni and cheese) was delicious. I was taken off guard when I noticed that my jaw felt funny – I can’t really describe how it felt, other than it being “not right”.

I reached up and felt the side of my face where the strange sensation was (my left side) and found it feeling VERY swollen. It hadn’t been swollen at ALL when we started eating and now, a few minutes later, it was. I didn’t know what it was, so it had me kinda worried. I knew it WASNT a food allergy, we’ve made this particular meal before and it’s from my moms recipe which she used to make a lot when I was younger.

Later that night, after Ann had gone home, I fixed up a small snack and while eating I again noticed that strange sensation around the left side of my jaw and my jaw swelled up again, even larger this time. I stopped eating the snack and took some alieve to help with the now painful swelling. I also took a picture with my iSight for quick documentation (it’s the picture at the top of the post, click it for a larger version). That was a few minutes after I took the alieve.

Yesterday morning I started off by calling my doctors office – he was on vacation. They suggested going to an urgent care place, but I have lost all respect for those places. Instead I called my dentist, figuring she could at least take xrays and make sure I hadn’t broken my jaw or some sillyness like that. I told her the symptoms and when things occured, and she immediately said its likely a blocked parotid gland, and that I needed to see an oral surgeon that day. Her office made me an appointment at an oral surgeon not far from my house.

The surgeon’s assistant took an x-ray when I got there so they could rule out things like a fractured jaw, then took me to the exam room. The surgeon came in and, after looking at the chart and referral information started checking my parotid glands. She did this by watching the opening of the salivary duct from the parotid gland ( it’s on your cheek inside your mouth) while stimulating the gland – which if it were not blocked would produce saliva at the duct opening. The duct on the right side of my mouth produced saliva, not so on the left side. That was confirmation that my dentist was quite correct – I had a blocked parotid. The surgeon then used an instrument to probe around a little in the duct – a process that was altogether unnerving and uncomfortable (slightly painful too).

She said I have “something” blocking it, which could be any number of things but is most likely a stone ( kinda like a kidney stone, but not from my kidneys – same concept though). I was told to drink plenty of fluids and to eat sour candy to try to flush it out. They’re giving it a week to flush itself out before going to the next step which, if I understand correctly, means a battery of tests and potentially surgery. They didn’t go into details about that, as they didn’t want me to be worrying about it.

So basically, whenever I eat or drink or start to really salivate the left side of my face swells. This effectively limits the time I have to eat before it swells to the point where I can’t chew. Yes, it does swell that much. It’s also pretty painful when that happens. They gave me pain killers for that, but I am not taking them right now because they make me sleepy and unfocused.

At least it’s not infected.

78 thoughts on “my face swells when I eat

  1. The same thing happened to me at work today, (nothing like this has ever happened to me before) I came home and came accross this thread, glad John started it. Ive just had 1/2 tin of soup n a slice of bread, eatin’ it as fast as possible, and my face is like a balloon again on the right hand side. So I’m gonna cut out the coffee, (I drink loads’a coffee) and drink plenty of water and hope it passes. If I hadn’t come accross this thread, I’d be on my way to hospital right now!

    • I know how you feel. This happend to me yesterday and I just finished having a physical. Doc gives me 2shots for ant virus and something else and bam, the next day I’m swelling on one side like a flounder. This has never ever happend to me. I’ve never been or had allergies to anything. Imma try sour candy and lots of water. I’m hoping it passes. If not, hospital visit is on my list.

  2. ps, I’m sat here proper starving now, and daren’t eat anything, the swelling has took 5 hours to go down after the 1/2 tin of soup, tried looking on google for summat I could eat that doesn’t stimulate the siliva glands, but not had any luck, so I’m just drinkin’ cans of lager lol, but really am starving, but dont wanna go through the swelling thing, in my case I’ve literally got 2mins MAX to eat before it starts, then 5hours of discomfort. I’m wondering if I can blend a tin of fruit into a drink and get away with drinking it without my siliva glands reacting, will let you guys know lol, ;)

  3. The blended tinned fruit was ok, I swallowed it without having a reaction. Got up this morning and the swelling had almost gone, but soon came back when I had a single weetabix (mainly on the right hand side, but also a little on the left) The swelling went down after 3 hours this time, so a little improvement on yesterday. I tried a nourishment drink at dinner hoping that I’d have no reaction, but unfortunatly it did, not as so severe though. I’ve rang my GP and waiting for the doctor to call me back.

  4. went to the doctors the following morning, he took a urine sample to test for mumps. I went to work and didn’t eat anything all day. I got home at teatime, I had bought some tinned macaroni cheese, and brased myself. I ate it as quickly as possible and to my amazement, the swelling didn’t happen. It’s just gone, yippeeee!!!!!

  5. I had the same symptoms as above in December to start with. I was in Thailand and thought I had developed a nut allergy.

    It kicked off again this morning. One side of my neck, under my chin is really swollen. It goes down and then when I eat, it swells back up again. It’s not painful, just weird. My left eye felt a little watery too. It’s reassuring to know it is nothing serious.

  6. The same thing have been happening to me the past 1 year now. It started after a surgery where I inplanted some screws into my jaw, kind of like permanent dentures, I’d say. I have broken my jaws a few years back and maybe that’s the reason why I swell. Maybe I pressure something that is causing the swelling when I chew. I swell up very very much, more when I eat very sugary or salty foods. When I eat sugar I can sometimes swell up to 50 hours before it goes down. It’s very embarassing and I can never seem to figure out what it is. I think I’m at the point where I need to call a doctor and see what this is, I can’t go with this anymore, it’s too hard.

  7. Misery loves sites like this one, yep I have the same thing. Found this site while waiting in the ER, thought I had an allergic reaction to something I ate, doctor said take antibiotics and eat sour candy, the more candy I have the more swelling I have. Thanks for starting this site. My swelling started at 6:47 pm 2-23-13 and I’ll see how long it takes to drain, yuck!

  8. Oh my! Thank God I saw this page, or else I’m in the hospital right now. Same scenario happened to me. Yesterday afternoon, I was on my break time in the cafeteria and I was happy eating my normal meal, rice and beef in peanut sauce with cut tomatoes and shrimp paste. It was my second spoon of food where while I’m chewing it was really painful. I ignored it, but again on my 3rd spoon of food same thing happened and I felt like my left chick is getting tight and getting bigger. That was when I recognized that something was wrong and my chick start swelling. I was so scared because that was the first time it happened and I thought the food that I ate trigger my allergy. Even I thought it was mumps but I was so confused because It reacted so quickly, less than 2 minutes after chewing. I rushed to the clinic and the Doctor starts to examine my swelling face and advised me to drink an anti allergy medicine. It takes 4 hrs for my face to get back to normal. The doctor even told me if my face starts to swell again, he needs to inject some medicines to me. Luckily I read this page, it makes me feel okey.

  9. This happened to me yesterday morning. I felt like I herd a screeching noise faint & felt my cheek get huge while I was eating. Nothing like this has ever happened b4. I am 45. It scared the chit out of me. I thought is was cancer of a food allergy that happened immediately while I was eating. I read this post. drank a lot of fluids, bought a heating pad & kept it on overnight. it seems to be over. it was very painful for me & its still alittle swollen but feels like its getting better & I can eat with out it still happening. I believe a saliva glad was blocked but it passed. It was super scarey! I have read in other posts at other sites that it passing overnight is usually the case! best wishes for all of you!

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