My Face Swells When I Eat?

Patient

Q: Hello, I am an 18-year-old girl who has been recovering from a low-calorie diet for the past several months. The summer of this year, I had restricted my diet to 600-900 calories a day, since I'd found out that my RMR was only 1,200 calories a day. Now I am eating better, I typically eat 1,000 calories or more a day. However, I have noticed a weird occurrence that has never happened before, before I went on any crazy restrictive diets. Whenever I eat or drink, my face swells up, and it adds about an inch on both sides of my cheeks. The more I eat or drink, and it doesn't matter what I eat or drink, the more my face swells. I do eat pretty high-sodium meals, however, it has never happened to me before my dieting. Now whenever I put anything in my mouth, my face starts to swell and doesn't go back down until several hours later. What could this mean? Will the swelling symptom ever go away?

Doctor

A:   The swelling of your cheeks could a sign that the parotid gland are effected. Swelling of the parotid glands may be due to infection, obstruction, eating disorder such as bulimia nervosa and anorexia and in rare cases tumors of the salivary glands. You may need to show the swelling to your doctor who may investigate for infections, check for any obstruction of the gland and order tests like x-ray and MRI to help in the diagnosis.

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