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Excess Salivation and Hernia
October 2002

Q. I have a 72-year-old patient who recently had a hernia operation. The patient now has excess salivation and burning sensation in the mouth and has to sleep with a cloth in the mouth. I would appreciate any advice or insight. Have you heard of this before?

A. The salivary glands provide several important functions in the human body including moisturizing the mouth, initiating the digestive process, and protecting the teeth. Problems in this area are somewhat uncommon but can include infection, blockage by stones, and tumors.

I cannot see a link between a hernia operation and the excess salivation. Hernia repairs are common and rarely have any complications. They are often done with a local anesthetic, so a complication from anesthesia seems unlikely. Saliva can be affected by medication, so this should be investigated, and an exam by an ENT doctor (otolaryngologist) would be worthwhile as well.



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