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What is Tonsillitis?

Tonsillitis refers to the inflammation of the tonsils. Tonsils are two oval-shaped pads of tissue at the back of the throat on either side. Tonsils are generally considered the immune system’s first line of defense against viruses and bacterias that enter our mouths. This makes the tonsils vulnerable to infections and inflammation. This condition is usually prevalent in children who fall under the age group of 5 to 15 years old, however, it can affect people of any age group. Tonsillitis is so common that most people have this condition at least once in their lifetime. Some patients complain about frequent sore throats, throat infections, reduced sleep quality, etc. which are usually related to tonsillitis. Therefore, doctors recommend removing tonsils to prevent several bacterial and viral infections along with the improved quality of life. Tonsillectomy is considered one of the most effective ways to treat tonsillitis.

Tonsillectomy refers to the surgical removal of the tonsils. The tonsil’s immune functioning declines after puberty, and this is why some people prefer removing the tonsils via tonsillectomy. The surgeons often recommend tonsillectomy to prevent frequent recurrence of tonsillitis, improved breathing, and better sleep. However, removing tonsils does not increase the risk of infection, and adults with snoring problems benefit from the surgery the most. 

tonsillitis formation

How does tonsillitis occur?

Tonsillitis occurs as a result of the inflammation of the tonsils due to several bacterial or viral infections. The tonsils may become enlarged after persistent infections over a period of time which eventually results in tonsillitis. 

Types of disease

Acute tonsillitis

Acute tonsillitis

Chronic tonsillitis

Chronic tonsillitis

Recurring tonsillitis

Recurring tonsillitis

Tonsillitis Causes

  • Viral infections
  • Bacterial infections
  • Frequent exposure to germs

Tonsillitis Symptoms

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Bad breath
  • Sore throat
  • Stomach ache
  • Swollen tonsils
  • Stiffness in neck
  • Fussiness in babies
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Inflammation of tonsils
  • Tender lymph nodes on the side of the neck

Diagnosis - Tonsillitis

  • Throat culture– In this test, a sample of your throat culture is taken by gently swabbing the back of your throat. The samples are then sent to a laboratory to identify the causes of infections.
  • Complete blood cell count (CBC) – The sample of your blood is required to identify the cause of infection in the blood. This test can help determine if the type of infection in your body is a viral or bacterial infection.
Test of tonsillitis

Severity - Tonsillitis

In acute tonsillitis, the symptoms usually last around 3–4 days but may last up to 2 weeks.

Acute tonsilitis


There are various complications that can occur if you leave your tonsilitis untreated for a long period of time. Since tonsils are the first line of defense for bacterial and viral infections, untreated tonsils can cause swelling and inflammation over a period of time. Some of the complications of enlarged tonsils are as follows – 

  • Scarlet fever – Untreated tonsillitis can lead to strep throat that can progress into scarlet fever, causing a red rash and fever. Scarlet fever is usually seen more in children than adults.  
  • Rheumatic fever – Rheumatic fever occurs more frequently in children than adults and may lead to permanent heart damage. It may occur in patients with untreated strep throat or incomplete antibiotic course.  
  • Quinsy or peritonsillar abscess – Some cases of untreated tonsillitis can lead to the formation of an abscess (a collection of pus) around the tonsil. Peritonsillar abscesses are more prominent in adults and adolescents than children. In that case, tonsillectomy is inevitable. 
  • Spread of infection – Untreated tonsils contain bacterias that can travel from throat to middle ear, sinuses, etc., causing sinusitis or necrotizing fasciitis. 
  • Difficulty breathing – Enlarged tonsils can cause breathing difficulties while sleeping and thus, may often cause difficulty while sleeping as well. 

  • Prevention of tonsillitis


    Prevention of tonsillitis

    Since tonsillitis is a contagious disease, you are more likely to catch the disease if you come in contact with an individual who is already having it. So, it is important that you adopt good hygienic habits and washing hands often, especially before touching your nose or mouth. You must avoid sharing drinks, food, or utensils with someone who is already a patient of tonsillitis. Doctors often recommend replacing your toothbrush regularly as it can help prevent the accumulation of bacteria. Moreover, if you have tonsillitis, try keeping your distance from the healthy population until you’re no longer contagious. If you’re a parent, then ensure practicing good hygiene habits for your children, such as regularly washing hands, especially after coming into contact with someone who has a sore throat.

  • Myths & facts about tonsillitis

    Myths and facts about tonsillectomy

    Myths & facts about tonsillitis
    1. Myth- Tonsillectomy surgery results in a lot of bleeding.
      Fact- Postoperative minimal bleeding is quite normal after tonsillectomy since the tonsils are surgically removed. Minimal bleeding is normal after a safe and successful tonsillectomy.
    2. Myth- Children can eat only ice cream after having their tonsils removed.
      Fact- There are no such restrictions regarding exclusive consumption of ice creams for you or your child after a tonsillectomy. However, the surgeon will recommend soft, semi-solid, cold foods such as ice-creams or shakes that are easier to swallow within the first 2-3 days after a tonsillectomy. A child or adult must avoid hard or crispy foods after a tonsillectomy. The surgeon will provide you with general dietary instructions post-surgery.
    3. Myth- Tonsillectomy will be excluded by your healthcare insurance.
      Fact- Most healthcare providers accept insurance for tonsillectomy, you can easily avail insurance for this procedure since it is a medical necessity.
    4. Myth- Tonsillectomy is an expensive procedure.
      Fact- Tonsillectomy is not an expensive procedure. The cost may differ in different cities, but if your healthcare provider company covers insurance for tonsillectomy, the overall cost of tonsil removal surgery may reduce significantly.

When to consult a doctor?

Tonsillitis can cause the throat to swell so much that it can cause trouble breathing. While some tonsillitis can go away on their own, some cases need surgical treatment. Consult a doctor if you experience the following signs- 

  • Muscle weakness
  • Fussiness (in kids)
  • Stiffness in the neck
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • High fever (over 101°F)
  • Trouble while swallowing
  • Painful and swollen tonsils
  • Sore throat for more than two days

Questions to ask your doctor

Can I treat tonsillitis through medications?
What can I expect after my tonsil removal?
What is the best course of treatment for tonsilitis?
How long does the recovery take after tonsillectomy?
My child is frequently getting tonsillitis. Should I be concerned?
When can my child go back to school or resume daily activities after tonsillectomy?
I am undergoing treatment for another medical condition. Is it okay to undergo a tonsillectomy at the same time?

Treatment Options - Tonsillitis

Non-surgical treatment involves home remedies to cure tonsillitis via medications. The ENT specialist prescribes several antibiotics that can help fight the infection at home. However, if the main cause of tonsilitis is a viral infection, then these medications will be the only treatment suggested by the doctor. Moreover, home remedies can help create a comfortable environment for your child and ensure a faster recovery. 

The antibiotics gradually help reduce the symptoms of tonsillitis. Therefore, antibiotics are more critical for patients who are at risk of complications from tonsillitis. However, the patients must complete the full course of antibiotics even if the symptoms of tonsillitis disappear entirely. Failure to comply with these instructions may result in increased infections, side effects, etc.

Insurance coverage for tonsillitis

Insurance coverage - Tonsillitis

A tonsillectomy is performed if your swollen tonsils cause breathing problems and frequent sore throats. Tonsillitis can be a serious health issue in children as well as adults. The patients may need a tonsillectomy to get rid of painful and disturbing symptoms. Many insurance companies in India cover tonsillectomy. However, there is a possibility that the medical insurance coverage may differ from one policy to another. There are other payment options to pay for the treatment if you are looking for a tonsillectomy. A few of the insurance providers that may cover tonsillectomy treatment are as follows:

  • Star Health Insurance
  • New India Health Insurance
  • Bajaj Allianz
  • Religare
  • ICICI Lombard
Insurance coverage for tonsillitis
tonsillitis symptoms and causes

Tonsillitis Symptoms and Causes

Tonsillitis Symptoms 

Tonsillitis generally affects children more than adults, and its symptoms usually resemble those of the flu, common cold, strep throat, etc. Some common tonsillitis signs that both adults and children should look out for are:

– Red swollen tonsils, with white or yellow tonsil patches and enlarged neck lymph nodes

-Sore throat resulting in difficulty swallowing 

– Fever, stomach ache, or headache

– A scratchy, throaty, or muffled voice

– Bad breath (halitosis) with drooling

– Ear or sinus pain and infection

Often people suffering from tonsillitis can turn irritable, fussy, and refuse to eat anything due to neck pain and difficulty in swallowing. In severe cases, the patient can have trouble in breathing through the mouth, blister or ulcer formation on the tonsils, etc.

Tonsillitis Causes

Tonsils are a part of the immune system and are the first line of defense against pathogens invading through the mouth. However, this makes them more vulnerable to infections. Tonsillitis can also be confused with strep throat as they have similar causes and symptoms. 

The most cause of tonsillitis, among both children and adults, is a viral infection, but sometimes they can occur from bacterial infections as well. Some common viruses that can cause tonsillitis are Adenovirus, Influenza virus, Epstein-Barr virus, Parainfluenza viruses, Enteroviruses, Herpes simplex virus, etc. Streptococcus bacteria are the common cause of bacterial tonsillitis.

While tonsillitis can affect almost anyone, it is usually more common in people with weaker immune systems, like children and the elderly. It is also common in people who are frequently in touch with other infected people.

tonsillitis symptoms and causes

Video testimonials - by patients

Video on the disease and treatment - by Pristyn Care doctor

Latest Research

  • Sleep deprivation may affect general health and increase blood pressure in children. 

  • ‘Shrinking’ tonsils result in lesser pain and bleeding than full tonsillectomy. 

  • A study shows that gastroesophageal reflux increases morbidity after tonsillectomy in children.

  • Monopolar electrocautery is better than plasma ablation for tonsillectomy in children.

  • Are women with appendix or tonsils removed more fertile?

FAQ around Tonsillitis

Can foods cause tonsillitis?

While food items do not cause tonsillitis, there are some foods that can worsen the symptoms of tonsillitis ad should be avoided for recovery. Foods that should be avoided during tonsillitis include alcohol, spicy and citrusy foods, crunchy, fried and greasy food items, etc.

What can I do to get rid of tonsillitis symptoms?

In mild stages, you can treat tonsillitis with home remedies like salt water gargling, licorice lozenges, warm honey ginger tea, etc. But in severe cases, surgical tonsil removal is considered for long-term relief from tonsillitis symptoms.

Is it necessary to remove tonsils after adolescence?

It is not necessary to remove tonsils after adolescence if there are no recurrent episodes of tonsillitis. 

Is tonsillitis contagious?

Yes, tonsillitis is a contagious disease which means you can get it if you come in close contact with someone who has it. The tonsillitis-causing bacteria can be communicated from one person to another through coughing or sneezing.

Can tonsils grow back after tonsil removal surgery?

It is possible for your tonsils to grow back after a tonsillectomy if the lymphoid tissues are not completely removed during the surgery. 

About tonsillitis

Why choose Pristyn Care for tonsillectomy?

Pristyn Care is a full-stack healthcare provider that is associated with multi-specialty hospitals and healthcare institutions around the country. We aim to ease the process of accessing advanced treatment and surgeries for each individual at affordable prices. We also have some of the best ENT surgeons and specialists with years of experience in tonsillectomy to ensure a very high success rate. Pristyn Care also promotes minimally invasive surgeries that are usually have fewer chances of infection with a faster recovery duration. Some of the benefits of choosing Pristyn Care are – 

  • Highly experienced ENT surgeons Our team of ENT surgeons is fully trained and certified to perform advanced surgeries with a high success rate and offer comprehensive treatment while understanding your concern. In addition, our ENT surgeons will discuss all the necessary information about tonsillectomy to make you well aware of the procedure and risks involving the treatment.
  • Insurance approval Pristyn Care has a dedicated team that assists with the insurance approval for tonsillectomy. The insurance approval will depend on the type of your insurance company and the terms and conditions set by them. Be rest assured that our team of experts will try their best to help you get the maximum benefits from the medical insurance claims. 
  • Flexible payment options– Pristyn Care offers various modes of payments for tonsillectomy with no cost EMI. In addition, we accept credit cards and cash payments for tonsillectomy treatment.
  • Free pick-up and drop facility Pristyn Care provides free cab services for pick-up and drop-off to each patient within the city on the day of surgery. 
  • Free follow-up consultation- Recovery plays an essential role in the treatment. Pristyn Care provides free follow-up consultation along with proper diet charts to all the patients who have undergone tonsillectomy surgery for a quicker and smoother recovery process. 
  • COVID-19 safe environment – In times of COVID crisis, Pristyn Care makes sure all the OTs and clinics are properly sanitized before each surgery to curb the spread of the COVID. It is our top priority to maintain hygiene and social distancing while providing a seamless patient experience. 

Booking an Appointment with the best ENT surgeon for Tonsillectomy

Pristyn Care has some of the best ENT surgeons with years of experience in specializing in treating tonsillitis. All the specialists are well trained and upskilled in performing advanced treatment for the best outcomes with almost no risks. You can book an appointment with the ENT expert at Pristyn Care for a tonsil removal surgery:

  • Fill out the patient form on our website Our medical coordinators will reach out to you at the earliest once your appointment form is submitted. They will fix an appointment with the concerned doctor according to your schedule.
  • You can also directly connect with our medical coordinators through the contact number on our website. Our team of dedicated medical coordinators will listen to your query and connect you with the doctor near your area and book an appointment consecutively. 
  • You can also book an appointment through our Pristyn Care app. Our medical coordinators will arrange an offline or online consultation from doctors near your area at the earliest via video call, and a nominal consultation fee will be charged.
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