Tonsillitis / Enlarged tonsils / Tonsil stones

What are the symptoms?
  • Recurrent sore throat
  • Repeated positive strep throat tests
  • Pain with swallowing
  • Persistent swelling of the tonsils
  • Coughing up of yellow, brown, foul-smelling, soft pebbles
  • Fever
  • Snoring
What’s going on behind the scenes?
Tonsils are lymph tissue and, like lymph nodes, located in the back of the throat. They assist our immune system in recognizing and defending against invasion from bacteria and viruses. Sometimes bacteria and viruses temporarily overpower our immune system, causing infection.

Streptococcus pyogenes is the bacteria that causes strep throat. This is associated with significant sore throat and fevers. Nasal congestion and runny nose are not usually associated with strep throat. When detected and in the presence of symptomes, strep throat should be treated with oral antibiotics.

Additionally, tonsillitis can be caused by other types of bacteria and even viruses like in the case of mononucleosis. Tonsil stones are bacteria (dental plaque) that accumulate in the nooks and crannies of the tonsil which normally have an irregular surface. Tonsil stones are small, yellow/white, stinky grits that can be coughed up. Again, there are no rinses, gargles, medications to remove tonsil stones.
How Tucson ENT can help
When the severity and frequency of tonsillitis becomes excessive or if one is missing too much work/school from throat infections, requiring overuse of antibiotics,, then a tonsillectomy and possibly adenoidectomy is recommended. Unfortunately, there is no other medical alternative to surgery for this problem.

Other considerations for a tonsillectomy include enlarged tonsils that cause snoring, nasal obstruction or even sleep apnea. When one has tonsils so large, they are blocking normal airflow in the throat, removal is necessary to establish normal breathing. Lastly, tonsil stones are a clear indication for tonsillectomy as well.
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Tonsillitis / Enlarged tonsils / Tonsil stones