Lump Under Tongue
The tongue is a useful muscle that enables us to taste and swallow foods, as well as, speak. Although the tongue is the strongest muscle in the body, it comprises of many muscles. Tongue problems can be frustrating and painful especially as the tongue is used often and for multi purposes. A lump under tongue near salivary glands can indicate several conditions, out of which cancer is the most life threatening. Therefore, if you detect a bump under tongue, consider visiting a doctor before it is too late.
What is the Salivary Gland?
The mouth needs to be moistened constantly. Saliva helps to protect the teeth from decay, as well as, digest foods. There are three major salivary glands in the tongue. These are the parotid gland, submandibular gland and sublingual glands. The parotid gland is the largest gland and saliva produced in this gland enters the oral cavity through a duct known as Stensen’s duct. This duct is near the upper teeth. The submandibular glands produce 70% of saliva and are located beneath the lower jaws. The saliva enters the mouth through ducts known as Wharton’s ducts. The sublingual glands are located beneath the tongue. Saliva that is produced in the sublingual glands is mucous in nature, and enters the mouth through several ducts and drains into the floor of the mouth.
What can a Lump under the Tongue Indicate?
There are several conditions that are associated with the tongue. All these occur when the ducts are blocked and the saliva is unable to drain into the mouth. These include viral infections, cysts and tumours. When a person detects a lump under tongue, it is natural to assume a malignant tumour. However, salivary gland cancer is very rare. Most often, older people are more at risk of getting salivary gland cancer than younger. However, it is vital to get medical attention when detecting any growth under tongue.
Conditions that Cause a Lump under the Tongue
When a growth under tongue is felt, it can be something less severe than cancer. For example, a small bump under tongue can indicate a blocked gland. Sometimes, tiny salivary stones form in the glands. They block the salivary glands, decreasing or stopping the production of saliva. This condition in referred to as Sialolithiasis. The decrease in saliva makes swallowing foods difficult, as this is where saliva is produced to aid in digestion. It is necessary to get medical treatment as the gland may enlarge and can become infectious.
Another reason for a bump under tongue can be due to collection of clear fluid on the interior surface of the lip that ultimately causes a cyst. This is known as mucocele. They are harmless and will heal on their own. However, mucocele has the habit of recurring. This is especially, clear for individuals who constantly bite their lower lip. Mucocele can form anywhere in the mouth. If it forms on the gums it is known as an epulis, and if it forms on the floor of the mouth it is known as a ranula. These cysts require surgical removal as they may cause extreme discomfort.
Pleomorphic adenoma is a painless medical condition that occurs in the mouth. The lump occurs under the tongue, below the jaw, and manifest slowly over time. A biopsy will have to be performed in order to ascertain its malignancy. However, most pleomorphic adenomas are benign.
Every medical condition has its own treatment methods. For example, a benign tumour may require surgery in order to remove it, while a malignant tumour may require radiation or chemotherapy. In the case of Sialolithiasis, patients will be relieved to know that the stones may pass out of the ducts without any treatment. Larger stones may require ultra sonic treatment. It is necessary to follow the treatment and complete it without stopping irrespective of the treatment method.
Lump under tongue regardless of its size should never be ignored. The moment you feel its presence, making an appointment with the doctor will help to avoid complications.