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3 Signs You Need Tonsil Surgery

Mother, Father and Child

Tonsil surgery, also known as a tonsillectomy, is a procedure to remove the tonsils. Though it’s most commonly recommended for children, there are plenty of adults who may need it, as well. Here, we’re going to look at some of the most common reasons to seek tonsil surgery and the signs that you might want to talk to your ear, nose and throat doctor about your options.

You have a sore throat regularly

Most of us get a sore throat from time to time, whether it’s due to a cold or strep throat. Often, this is accompanied by inflamed tonsils, also known as tonsillitis, or inflammation at the back of the throat. Bacterial infections, like strep throat, also show as a white film-like coating on the tonsils. If these cases are infrequent, you may not need much more treatment than the occasional prescription of antibiotics, if anything. Some people experience them much more often, however. Whether it’s regular, different cases of a sore throat or a long-running case of chronic infection, this is the most common reason an ear, nose, and throat doctor will recommend tonsil surgery. Chronic tonsillitis is when you have five or more of these cases in one year or three or more cases over the course of two years. Tonsil surgery can greatly reduce the frequency of a sore throat.

You have sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is when you stop breathing for a period during your sleep, often causing you to wake up gasping for air. Other symptoms of sleep apnea include loud snoring, waking up with a sore or dry throat, headaches in the morning, and general sleepiness. One of the most common causes of sleep apnea is enlarged tonsils. These can block your airway when you’re sleeping, leading to that lack of breath. Sleep apnea can lead to a range of health concerns, including increased blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, depression, sleep deprivation, and more. If enlarged tonsils are the cause, then tonsil surgery could result in an immediate improvement.

You have an abscess on your tonsils

Chronic infections on the tonsils or throat may be one good reason to consider tonsil surgery, but infections can occasionally get a lot more serious. One example of this is the peritonsillar abscess. Some of the signs include fever, severe pain, and a noticeable bulge or increase in size on the tonsils. Like all abscesses, this is a haven for pus and can be very dangerous if left untreated, so seeking out your ear, nose and throat doctor as soon as possible is recommended. Draining the abscess and treating with antibiotics may be enough to make it go away, but if it returns or you have a history of frequent or chronic tonsillitis, going for tonsil surgery may be the safer option.

Not all cases are as severe or urgent as a peritonsillar abscess, but all the concerns mentioned above can have long-term implications for your health. If you have any concerns or questions about your tonsils or tonsil surgery, get in touch with your ear, nose and throat doctor.