Doctor examining a patient's mouth


Is sleep apnea keeping you up at night? Are your tonsils constantly inflamed? If you or your child suffers from chronic throat infections that have caused tonsilitis or struggle to sleep you may be a good candidate for a tonsillectomy.

What Causes Swollen Tonsils?

Woman holding her neck and wondering why her tonsils are swollen

Everyone has tonsils; little masses of soft tissue attached to each side of the back of the throat. These bumpy little lumps are related to lymph tissues. Contrary to the widely-circulated myth, the tonsils actually do—or should—serve a useful purpose. As a component of the lymphatic system, they were designed to ward off harmful bacteria and viruses, catching them before they go further down your throat and into your system. Often, though, when they fight germs they can become inflamed. 

What Is Tonsilitis?

Unfortunately for many people, however, the tonsils themselves become infected and inflamed. We call this situation tonsillitis. Tonsillitis is most often caused by streptococcus, but can also be caused by various versions of influenza, parainfluenza, adenoviruses, enteroviruses, and others. For those whose tonsils seem to be susceptible to infection and inflammation, some scary symptoms can keep them up at night:

  • Sore throat
  • Difficulty breathing (the tonsils swell, narrowing the airway)
  • Difficulty swallowing and talking
  • Hoarseness
  • Tonsils become red or covered with white or yellow coating
  • Swelling in the neck area by the jaws
  • Fever and chills
  • Ear pain
  • Halitosis

What Is a Tonsillectomy? Will It Affect My Immune System?

If swollen tonsils and sore throats become frequent and significantly disrupt you or your child’s life, visit Independence Ear, Nose, & Throat for a clear diagnosis and to discuss whether having a tonsillectomy (surgery to remove enlarged and infected tonsils) is the right option. Although the tonsils serve as part of the immune system, studies have found that people who have had a tonsillectomy don’t suffer a decrease in immunity when they lack tonsils.

Tonsillectomies are performed under anesthesia and often result in an overnighter at the hospital. But by following recovery instructions (including plenty of rest, quiet, lots of liquids and soft foods for several days), you or your child will be feeling better soon. 

Suffering from chronic sore throats or sleep apnea? Call Us

Call 772-247-5109