How to Know if you Need a Tonsillectomy

Is it a simple sore throat or tonsillitis?

Is it a simple sore throat or tonsillitis?

Sore throats are a dime a dozen, especially as the temperatures drop and we head into the cold and flu season that begins in September and runs through February. But sometimes, what you’re experiencing is far more serious than a run-of-the-mill throat infection. It just may be tonsillitis.

Because they produce certain types of disease-fighting white blood cells, your tonsils are considered your immune system’s first line of defense against bacteria and viruses that enter your mouth. Unfortunately, this means that your tonsils themselves are particularly vulnerable to inflammation or infection. What you think is a garden variety sore throat may actually be tonsillitis if it’s accompanied by:

  • Pain on one side of the throat
  • Painful or difficult swallowing
  • Hoarseness in your voice
  • High fever
  • Enlarged or swollen lymph nodes or glands in your neck
  • A white or yellow coating on your tonsils
  • Severe or recurring sore throat

Another clue is in the frequency of symptoms. A single case of tonsillitis likely will pass in about 10 days in children, slightly longer in adults. However, if you experience multiple episodes of tonsillitis in year, a tonsillectomy may be in order.

But a sore throat isn’t the only reason to consider a tonsillectomy. Obstructive sleep apnea, a potentially serious disorder in which the throat muscles intermittently relax, blocking your airway and causing your breathing to repeatedly stop and start during sleep, also can be effectively addressed with a tonsillectomy.

If you have children, be aware that tonsillitis is more common in pre-pubescent youth because that’s the period during which the tonsil’s immune system function is most active. However, the condition can hit at any age.

If you believe you or your children are suffering a bout of tonsillitis or may be in need of a tonsillectomy, St. Augustine Ear, Nose & Throat can help. Call 904-461-6060 to schedule a consultation at our St. Augustine or Ponte Vedra locations.