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Top Reasons to Remove Tonsils

Child with ENT

Everyone is born with a set of tonsils, which are basically two little masses of lymphoid tissue that sit towards the back of your throat. For the most part, your tonsils will help fight off infections and keep you nice and healthy. However, there are situations where you may need to think about removing your tonsils.

Here at Santa Cruz E.N.T. Medical Group, we specialize in tonsil surgery – also known as a tonsillectomy – which means we know when it’s time to remove tonsils or keep them there. Your typical ear, nose and throat doctor will see multiple patients every day that might complain of throat issues relating to the tonsils. So, here are some of the top reasons they may need them removed for good:

Persistent tonsillitis

Tonsillitis is a medical condition where your tonsils become incredibly sore and may sometimes swell up. They look visibly redder than usual and you tend to see white patches on them as well. It becomes challenging to eat or drink anything as your throat feels as though it’s on fire. You also tend to get a sore neck and you feel feverish as well.

Generally speaking, having one or two cases of tonsillitis isn’t enough to get your tonsils removed. Normally, your ear, nose and throat doctor will prescribe antibiotics that you need to take as per their instructions. After you’ve finished the course of antibiotics, then your tonsillitis has usually been cured.

But, if you keep getting tonsillitis over and over again, then you may need tonsil surgery. Most ear, nose and throat doctors agree that seven infections in one year are an indication that your tonsils have to be removed. Along with this, five infections – for two years in a row – or three infections for three years in a row, also show you need them removed.

Swollen tonsils

Another reason to remove the tonsils is when they are excessively swollen. This could be due to infections, but the main problem is when your tonsils are so enlarged that they block the airway in your throat. This can be quite common in younger children, particularly those under eight years of age.

When this happens, it can prevent you from breathing properly – especially while you sleep. This causes a condition called sleep apnea, where you may stop breathing during the night. As a result, it causes interrupted sleep, which has a considerable impact on daily life. Sleep apnea can also be damaging to the heart and lungs while leading to hormonal imbalances in young children as well.

By removing the tonsils, this can put an end to any breathing issues and sleep apnea. As such, this will dramatically improve the quality of health for a patient. Naturally, the decision is up to your ear, nose and throat doctor. In some cases, enlarged tonsils might not cause too much of an issue – it’s only when they impact breathing that they must be removed.

Tumors or growths on the tonsils

The above two reasons are the most common instances where tonsil surgery is advised. However, there are a few rarer cases where it may be essential as well. Primarily, this is when there are tumors or growths on the tonsils. Understandably, cancerous tumors need to be removed from the body whenever possible. So, if there’s one on your tonsils, then surgery is the best option.

Furthermore, benign tumors or growths could also lead to tonsil surgery as well. Again, this goes back to the previous point about enlarged tonsils. If a growth causes your tonsils to take up too much space in the back of your throat, then this can lead to the breathing issues mentioned earlier. So, removal of the tonsils is the best option to deal with this problem.

Please note, it’s very rare that you’ll get tumors or growths on your tonsils, but it’s well worth checking them regularly just to make sure.

Tonsil removal isn’t essential for everyone with sore or infected tonsils. But, it might be necessary for you if you experience any of the problems listed above. If you’re unsure, then the best thing to do is contact an ear, nose and throat doctor right away. At Santa Cruz Ear, Nose & Throat Medical Group, we handle all throat issues regarding tonsils. Please feel free to contact us today if you want to book an appointment – or even if you’d like to learn more about the services we provide.

Give us a call at (831) 476-4414 and we’ll help you make a booking or answer any questions you may have.