Tonsillitis: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention

  • What is Tonsil? 
  • Fast Facts on Tonsils
  • What Causes Tonsil Stones?
  • What are the top symptoms?
  • Prevention
  • Types of Tonsillitis
  • Diagnosis
  • Tonsil Treatment
  • Diet After Tonsil Surgery
  • Complications after Tonsil Surgery

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What is Tonsil? 

Tonsils are small tissues that are present at the back of the throat. They act as filters for the antibodies, germs, pathogens, and infectious materials. Sometimes tonsils trap germs over the limit, leading to infection inside the throat. The tonsils are a part of human anatomy and help with immunity. Besides, as people get older, they do not need tonsils for immunity. The infection of tonsils is called tonsillitis and is quite recurrent in kids below the age of 9. The main reason of the tonsils getting infected is that these tissues hold infectious pathogens and fight them. In case they are overstocked with bad pathogens, they grow in size. Besides, without proper care or treatment, they tend to grow further, leading to the growth of tonsils and the formation of tonsil stones. Tonsilitis can cause throat pain, strep throat, mild fever, and swollen tonsils. Another problem with tonsillitis is that it is recurrent. If proper treatment is not taken in time, it can lead to serious complications.

Fast Facts on Tonsils

Though tonsils are common problems and generally resolve on their own, people do not see a doctor when they experience benign symptoms. The common problems people ignore are mild fever, muscle weakness, and neck stiffness or a sore throat that doesn’t go away after 2 days. But, the condition should not be ignored. A thorough diagnosis is not going to hurt you. If you are suffering from a tonsil infection, make an appointment with ENT doctors at Pristyn Care.

There are cases where the tonsil infection can cause the throat to swell so much that it causes trouble breathing. In some cases, it leads to the formation of tonsil stones.

What Causes Tonsil Stones?

Tonsil tissues are the first line of defense against bacterial or infectious pathogens that may enter in the throat. Tonsils are a part of the immune system, produces white blood cells and fight infection, combat bacteria and viruses. Unfortunately, tonsils can get infections too. The condition can be caused by a virus or by a bacterial infection.

  • Viral Tonsillitis: It is the most common reason for tonsillitis as the common cold is generally the source of tonsillitis, but other viruses can also cause it.

  • Bacterial Tonsillitis: In general, 20-25% of cases of tonsillitis result from bacteria and it is more common in kids between the ages of 5 and 15.

What are the top symptoms?

Tonsillitis is a condition that affects kids between the age of 2 - 13 years. However, adults are not immune to it. A person can look for the below-mentioned conditions to identify or confirm the symptoms of tonsillitis.

  • Difficulty or pain while swallowing

  • Scratchy-sounding voice

  • Bad breath

  • Fever

  • Chills

  • Earaches

  • Sore throat

  • Stomachaches

  • Headaches

  • Stiff neck

  • Tenderness in neck

  • Red and swollen tonsils

In young kids, a parent has to look for the symptoms as they are unable to describe how they feel. The noticeable signs of tonsillitis may include:

  • Drooling due to difficult or painful swallowing

  • Refusal to eat

  • Unusual fussiness

Prevention

The best way to prevent tonsil infection is to avoid coming in contact with the germs that cause viral and bacterial tonsillitis as they are contagious. So, a person can follow good hygiene for the same. A patient can practice washing his or her hands thoroughly after using the toilet and before eating. Also, a healthy person should not share food or drink water from dirty bottles or utensils. For best results, a person can also replace his or her toothbrush after being diagnosed with tonsillitis.

Besides, as the condition is also common in kids, they can not take their care by themselves. So, parents have to take good care of them. If you are a parent, you have to ensure:

  • Your kid stay at home when he or she is ill and take proper rest

  • Ask the doctor if it's ok for your child to return to school

  • Try instilling a habit of using a tissue when he or she coughs or sneezes

  • Teach your kid to wash his or her hands after sneezing or coughing

Types of Tonsillitis

There are three types of Tonsil infections

  • Acute Tonsillitis: The condition is very common in kids and it is recorded that most kids get it once or twice in adolescence age. In the case of acute tonsillitis, the symptoms can last from a week to 10 days. Besides, the condition improves with several home-remedies or in some cases, antibiotics.

  • Chronic Tonsillitis: This condition tends to last longer and than acute tonsillitis. A patient of chronic tonsillitis may experience long-term sore throat, bad breath and swollen nodes in the neck. The condition is also referred to as tonsil stones.

  • Recurrent tonsillitis: This condition causes sore throat at least 5 to 7 times in 1 year, or at least 5 times in each of the previous 2 years. Besides, a study revealed genetics are also responsible for the poor immune response to bacteria, which causes strep throat and tonsillitis.

Diagnosis

The expert ENT doctor will diagnose the problem of tonsil stones starting with a physical examination. The doctor for tonsil treatment may take a throat culture test. The same will be done by gently swabbing the back of your throat with a cotton swab. Further, a lab may assess the sample of your blood for a complete blood count. This test can best indicate if the infection is viral or bacterial, which is crucial for treatment options. 

Tonsil Treatment

Tonsil Treatment in Ayurveda

Ayurveda can cure the tonsil infection with its wide range of treatment options and powerful natural extracts. The most beneficial function of Ayurveda is that it heals the patient by strengthening the body from inside. To treat tonsil infection with Ayurveda, a patient can take certain natural treatments that are listed below:

  • Tejohwa (Toothache Tree): A person can brush teeth with it and the same is absolute for infection and pain.

  • Pippali (Long Pepper): This is very useful for colds and viral infections.

  • Maricha (Black Pepper): Used to treat throat infection and most recommended in tonsils.

  • Karkatakasringi (Pistacia Integrima): One of the most used ayurvedic herbs for cough, fever, and upper respiratory tract infections.

Tonsil Treatment in Homeopathy

Homeopathy treatment aims to increase the immunity of the body so it can fight the infection on its own. It helps improve immunity and the natural healing process of the body. Here are the most recommended homeopathic medicines for tonsils cure. In some cases when the patients are in a lot of pain, homeopathic medicines are not the best choice as they take time to build complete immunity.

  • Belladonna is the most common homeopathy medicine for tonsillitis. Belladonna has the best anti-inflammatory properties that help in acute and chronic tonsillitis.

  • Mercurius Solubish help in pain in the throat, congestion of tonsils and unable to drink or eat anything.

Tonsil Treatment in Allopathy

Bacampicillin - Bacampicillin is a penicillin antibiotic, prescribed for susceptible infections and uncomplicated gonorrhea.

Cefadroxil - Cefadroxil is broad-spectrum antibiotic, prescribed for certain types of bacterial infections such as urinary tract infections, skin and soft-tissue, pharynx (throat) and tonsils (tonsillitis).

Cefuroxime axetil - Cefuroxime axetil is a semi synthetic cephalosporin antibiotic, prescribed for different types of infections such as lung, ear, throat, urinary tract and skin.

Best Surgical Treatment of Tonsil Stones

The modern daycare treatment involves the removal of tonsil stones with best-in-class surgical devices. The treatment is USFDA approved, painless and is only prescribed if tonsillitis results in difficulty in swallowing, breathing, or leads to obstructive sleep apnea. Post-surgery, the ENT doctor may recommend ibuprofen and paracetamol to treat postoperative pain. The surgery is performed using the most advanced instruments or electrocautery.

Diet After Tonsil Surgery

The ENT doctor will advise the patient to eat or consume only soft and cold food. These types of food will ensure faster healing and not impose further pain to the patient. The best food that a patient can eat after the tonsil surgery is:

  • Jell-O and pudding

  • Pasta, mashed potatoes, and cream of wheat

  • Applesauce

  • Low-fat ice cream, yogurt, sherbet, and popsicles

  • Smoothies

  • Scrambled eggs

  • Cool soup

  • Fruit juice

Complications after Tonsil Surgery

Though the modern surgery involves fewer complications, the surgical procedure involves bleeding from the area where the tonsils have been removed. The dehydration and too much activity after the operation can also increase the chances of bleeding. Also, the best surgeons at Pristyn Care take care of patients well and ensures that complications do not arise.

Frequently asked Questions

Why do tonsil stones smell bad?

It is highly likely that tonsil stones smell bad. This is because tonsil stones provide a home for anaerobic bacteria, which produce foul-smelling sulfides.

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Does mouthwash help tonsil stones?

For some patients, swishing a nonalcoholic mouthwash around the mouth can help loosen tonsil stones. This will also reduce the amount of bacteria in the mouth.

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