What are the Symptoms of Mumps in Adults?

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  • Written By: A. Pasbjerg
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 15 October 2019
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When adults contract the paramyxovirus which causes mumps, they may experience a variety of symptoms. One of the primary indicators of mumps in adults is pain or swelling in the salivary glands located around the neck and face. The infection is often accompanied by a low grade fever with associated muscle aches, chills, and feelings of tiredness; patients may also have symptoms such as a headache or sore throat. Sometimes men will experience swelling in their testicles, and women's ovaries may also swell due to an infection. Complications such as meningitis or pancreatitis that can result from a case of mumps can lead to further issues as well.

Typically, mumps in adults causes swelling of the parotid salivary glands, which lie around the jaw, cheeks, and under the ears. The swelling is often associated with some level of discomfort or pain, and may occur on one or both sides of the face. Depending on the patient, this symptom can range from being mildly uncomfortable to extremely painful, making it difficult to speak or chew.

Another common indication of mumps is a mild fever. This typically lasts for two to three days as the body is fighting the infection. Many people also experience other symptoms related to the fever, including lethargy, body aches, and chills.


Mumps in adults can also lead to a variety of other uncomfortable symptoms. Many patients develop a headache and a sore throat from the virus, and some may feel pain in their ears as well. Some patients may also lose their appetite while sick.

A less common symptom that can also indicate mumps in adults is swelling and discomfort in the gonad tissue. In a fairly small percentage of men, the testicles may swell, become painful, and increase their temperature during a mumps infection; this is known as orchitis, and it can potentially affect fertility. Women may experience oophoritis, or swollen ovaries, though it is even more rare than testicular swelling in men and is not associated with sterility.

Additional symptoms may present in adult patients whose mumps infections are complicated by pancreatitis or meningitis. People who develop meningitis in conjunction with mumps may develop stiffness in their necks, become very sensitive to light, or be more likely to develop a headache. Those who get pancreatitis, a much less common situation, might notice pain in their upper abdomen or experience nausea and vomiting.


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