Tonsillitis and Adenoid Infection

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Tonsillitis and adenoid infection facts

  • Tonsils and adenoids are composed of tissues similar to the lymph nodes or glands.
  • Acute tonsillitis is an infection of the tonsils caused by one of several possible types of bacteria or viruses.
  • Chronic tonsillitis is a persistent infection of the tonsils and can cause tonsil stone formation.
  • Symptoms of tonsil or adenoid infection include sore throat, fever, bad breath, difficulty swallowing, and swollen glands in the front of the neck.
  • Peritonsillar abscess is a collection of pus behind the tonsils.
  • Obstruction to breathing by enlarged tonsils and adenoids may cause snoring and disturbed sleep patterns.
  • Bacterial infections of the tonsils and adenoids are treated with antibiotics, viral infections are not.
  • Tonsillitis and adenoid infections are diagnosed with a history and physical exam. A throat culture and rapid strep test may be ordered in cases of tonsillitis suspected to be bacterial.
  • Tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy may be indicated: (1) in persons with repeated or persistent infections; (2) when serious complications of infection occur; and (3) when enlargement of the tonsils and adenoids causes breathing, swallowing, or dental problems.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/4/2014

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Tonsillitis - Symptoms Question: What were the symptoms associated with your tonsillitis?
Tonsillitis - Diagnosis Question: What kinds of tests or exams led to a diagnosis of tonsillitis? Did you have recurrent infections?
Tonsillitis - Treatment Question: What was the treatment for your tonsillitis?
Tonsillitis - Surgery Question: Were your tonsils removed? If so, how was this decision made (did you have recurrent infections, sleep apnea, etc.)?
Tonsillitis - Snoring and Other Problems Question: Did enlarged tonsils or adenoids cause sleeping or breathing problems? What was the remedy?

Does My Child Need a Tonsillectomy?

Tonsillectomy, the surgical removal of masses of lymphoid tissue located in the back of the mouth, may have seemed like a childhood rite of passage for many children of previous generations. Tonsillectomy became a popular treatment for recurrent sore throats and respiratory infections as early as the 1800s, and its frequency peaked in the United States in the late 1950s to the 1970s. Today, doctors are more conservative in recommending tonsillectomy.

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