What To Do About Swollen Tonsils

Are Your Tonsils Swollen?

Tonsils are lymphoid tissue at the back of the throat, located on each side. They are a defense mechanism that helps protect your body from infection. When tonsils themselves are infected, it’s called tonsillitis. There are many ways to treat tonsillitis and it can occur at any age, though it is more common in children. The swollen tonsils are accompanied by a sore throat and often a fever. Tonsillitis is contagious and can be caused by common viruses and many different bacteria.

When To See An ENT Doctor

Tonsillitis can be caused by a variety of viruses. Symptoms include a sore throat, difficulty swallowing, fever, chills, scratchy voice, and possibly stomach aches or headaches. The tonsils will often look red and swollen and they may also have white or yellow spots on them. If the tonsillitis isn’t recurring, it will go away in 7-10 days, but if patients have chronic sore throats or episodes that last longer than expected, there might be a larger issue at play. It is important to see an ENT doctor if those with tonsillitis have a fever over 103 degrees, a sore throat that doesn’t subside after two days, a stiff neck, or muscle weakness. Some cases can go away on their own, while others need treatment. It’s always best to err on the side of caution and see a professional to know for sure.

Treating Tonsillitis

If you have tonsillitis and the symptoms are mild, you can try resting more, gargling with warm salt water, drinking lots of fluids, using a humidifier at home, and utilizing throat lozenges. These can ease your sore throat and other symptoms, in addition to over the counter medications. However, if you experience chronic tonsillitis, it can cause complications that can impact everyday life. Since tonsillitis is contagious, it is easy enough for anyone to get it, but those who have it often will want to look into alternative treatments.

Is A Tonsillectomy The Right Move?

A tonsillectomy is one of the most common surgeries children receive, but some adults may require surgery as well. Removing the tonsils can prevent recurring tonsillitis and their accompanying symptoms.

Chronic Tonsillitis

If you have tonsillitis on a regular basis and your tonsils are infected and inflamed, you will likely have a fever. Tonsillitis is often treated with antibiotics, but chronic tonsillitis can be dangerous due to certain medications. If you have five or more infections in a year, a tonsillectomy might be a good treatment to stop the infections from occurring.

Enlarged Tonsils

Tonsils that are enlarged can become infected more easily and they can lead to trouble swallowing or obstructed breathing when sleeping. Removing the tonsils out can treat those conditions.

Antibiotic Issues

If you have tonsil infections that antibiotics don’t respond to or if you are allergic to the antibiotics doctors normally prescribe, a tonsillectomy might be your best option.

Abnormal Growths

Cancer of the tonsils is rare. However, if there is a growth on the tonsils, the tonsils will be removed and not biopsied.

Visit With An ENT Doctor About Tonsillectomies

If you have chronic tonsillitis or other issues with your tonsils, visit with your ENT doctor about the possibility of a tonsillectomy to see if it is the right course of action for you.