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Conditions We Treat

Tonsils & Adenoids

About tonsillitis and adenoiditis, the symptoms associated with it, as well as our treatment options.

pediatrician examining little girl

What are Tonsils & Adenoids?

The tonsils and adenoids are part of the lymphatic system, which is responsible for producing white blood cells and antibodies that help fight infection. The tonsils and adenoids are located at the back of the throat and act as a barrier, trapping germs and bacteria before they can enter the body. Occasionally, the tonsils and adenoids can become infected themselves, causing a condition known as tonsillitis or adenoiditis. Symptoms of these conditions include sore throat, fever, difficulty swallowing, and bad breath. If left untreated, tonsillitis or adenoiditis can lead to more serious complications, such as respiratory problems or ear infections.
ENT doctor checking patient tonsils

What are the Symptoms & Causes of Tonsillitis?

Tonsillitis is an inflammation of the tonsils that leads to swelling, sore throat, and difficulty swallowing. It is usually the result of a viral or bacterial infection and tends to affect children more frequently than any other age group.

Symptoms of tonsillitis can include sore throat, swollen tonsils, redness in the back of the throat, fever, headache, and difficulty swallowing. In some cases, pus-filled bumps (tonsiloliths) may be visible on the tonsils. Tonsillitis is usually caused by a viral or bacterial infection. The most common cause of tonsillitis is a strep throat, which is caused by bacteria. However, many other viruses can also cause tonsillitis, including the common cold virus, adenoviruses, and the Epstein-Barr virus (mononucleosis). In some cases, tonsillitis may be caused by an allergy or an upper respiratory disorder. Allergies can cause the tonsils to swell and become inflamed. Upper respiratory disorders, such as croup, can also cause tonsillitis.

How is Tonsillitis Treated?

Treatment for tonsillitis depends on the underlying cause. Viral tonsillitis usually goes away on its own, while bacterial tonsillitis requires antibiotics. Allergic and upper respiratory-related tonsillitis can be treated with antihistamines or decongestants. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the tonsils (tonsillectomy).

A physical examination and lab tests (including a rapid strep test) can help confirm the diagnosis. Early diagnosis and treatment is important to prevent complications, such as dehydration, weight loss, and difficulty breathing. Treatment can also help relieve symptoms and speed recovery.

What are the Symptoms & Causes of Adenoiditis?

Adenoiditis is an infection of the adenoids, which are located behind the nose and roof of the mouth. The adenoids are part of the immune system and aid in fighting off infection.

Symptoms of adenoiditis include sore throat, fever, difficulty breathing through the nose, and snoring. Adenoiditis is most common in children, but can occur in adults as well.

There are several causes of adenoiditis, including bacteria and viruses. Adenoiditis can also be caused by allergies or environmental irritants.

How is Adenoiditis Treated?

Treatment for adenoiditis typically includes antibiotics or other medications. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the adenoids. Adenoiditis can be easily treated with antibiotics or other medications. However, if left untreated, adenoiditis can lead to serious complications, such as hearing loss or sleep apnea.

Recovering from Tonsil Surgery or Adenoid Surgery

If you’ve had surgery to remove your tonsils and adenoids, recovery usually takes seven to ten days. Here are some tips to make it as painless and smooth as possible:

  • Drink plenty of fluids. This will help prevent dehydration and will also keep your throat moist, which can reduce pain and promote healing.
  • Eat a soft diet initially. Avoid spicy, acidic, or crunchy foods that could irritate your throat. Stick to soups, yogurt, oatmeal, and other gentle options.
  • Increase activity slowly. Don’t push yourself too hard too soon. Start with short walks and gradually build up to your normal level of activity.
  • Take pain medication as prescribed. This will help you stay comfortable as your throat heals.

Keep in mind that scabs will form where the tonsils and adenoids were removed. These should fall off five to ten days after surgery. There may be some spotting in your saliva, but if you see bright red blood, contact your physician.

Drinking water with tonsillitis

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