Ear Nose and Throat


What are the tonsils?

The tonsils are 2 oval-shaped pads of tissue in the back of the throat. They are part of the immune system which also includes, adenoids, lymph nodes, the spleen, and white blood cells. Recovering the tonsils does not make your immune system less strong.

What is tonsillitis?

Tonsillitis is inflammation of the tonsils due to an infection caused by a virus or bacteria. It is a common childhood illness. Tonsillitis may be acute causing swelling and a sore throat that goes away within 7-10 days. It may also be recurring or chronic, meaning you get inflamed tonsils several times every year; the most common cause of tonsillitis is strep throat. Enlarged tonsils can cause sleep apnea or snoring, resulting in poor sleep quality and daytime fatigue. Tonsillitis caused by bacteria often affects school aged children more because of frequent and repeated exposure to germs.

What are the symptoms of tonsillitis?

Common symptoms are red swollen tonsils, sore throat, a white coating or painful blisters/ulcers on the tonsils, difficulty swallowing, fever and chills, earache, swollen lymph nodes in the neck and bad breath.

In addition to the symptoms above, young children may also have excessive drooling because swallowing is too painful, a stomach ache, vomiting, refusing to eat, and fussiness.

How is tonsillitis diagnosed?

Your ENT at Fayetteville Otolaryngology examine your throat and be able to see swollen, red tonsils if you have an acute infection. They may swab the tissue to identify the bacteria causing the infection, and/or prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection. If a peritonsillar abscess is present, it can be drained in the office in older children and adults or in the operating room in younger children.

If you have repeated tonsil infections, your doctor may recommend a tonsillectomy. A tonsillectomy is a surgery that takes less than an hour and you can go home the same. The otolaryngologists at Fayetteville Otolaryngology will give you kind, compassionate care and help you figure out whether or not you need a tonsillectomy. Schedule a consultation today.

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