Causes of tonsillitis

Either viruses or bacteria can cause tonsillitis, with the most common bacterial culprit being Streptococcus pyogenes, also known as strep throat. While most cases of tonsillitis are viral and resolve spontaneously, bacterial tonsillitis can lead to complications if left untreated. It's important to note that pharyngitis, the inflammation of the throat and oral cavity, is often confused with tonsillitis. Pharyngitis can result in a sore throat and is caused by several factors, including viruses, bacteria, fungal infections, candida (yeast), and even some sexually transmitted diseases.

Symptoms of tonsillitis

Symptoms of tonsillitis may include:

  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Painful swallowing
  • Headache
  • Hoarseness
  • Muffled voice
  • Swollen neck nodes
  • Ear pain
  • Patches on the tonsils
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Complications of tonsillitis

Complications of tonsillitis can include inflammation around the glands and the development of an abscess. When streptococcal bacteria are associated with tonsillitis, they can lead to rheumatic fever and kidney infections. If you experience a high fever (over 101 degrees), severe painful swallowing, difficulty eating or drinking, rash, progressive symptoms, muffled speech, and voice changes, or breathing difficulties, it is essential to seek medical attention promptly.

Treatment of tonsillitis

The treatment of uncomplicated tonsillitis typically involves antibiotics (if there is suspicion of a bacterial origin), steroids, anti-inflammatory medications, plenty of fluids, rest, and gargling several times a day with warm salt water. In cases of complications such as an abscess, severe dehydration, or airway problem, it is crucial to consult an Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) specialist for possible surgical drainage or hospitalization.

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When can recurring infections lead to chronic tonsillitis?

Recurrent infections leading to enlarged and diseased tonsils may require a tonsillectomy, a surgical procedure performed by an ENT physician under general anesthesia. Indications for a tonsillectomy are based on the frequency and severity of infections, the impact on school or work attendance, and the presence of secondary airway problems like snoring or sleep apnea.

In rare cases, additional indications may include blockage of the eustachian tubes, seizures due to elevated temperatures, or asymmetry or enlargement mimicking a growth or tumor.

Tonsils are usually removed after the acute infection has been resolved.

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What are adenoids?

Adenoids are small patches of tissue located in the back of the throat, right behind the nose. They are part of the immune system and play a role in fighting infections, especially in children. Like tonsils, adenoids are lymphoid tissues that produce antibodies or white blood cells that help fight off infection.

Adenoids are relatively large in early childhood, and their size peaks when a child is between three and seven years old. When a person reaches their teenage years, adenoids usually shrink and may disappear completely over time as the body develops other mechanisms to fight germs.

Adenoid infections and tonsillitis

While adenoids and tonsils are both part of the lymphatic system and function similarly, they are not the same. Tonsils are two small masses of lymphoid tissue located at the back of the throat, while adenoids are located higher up, behind the nose. Tonsillitis refers to inflammation or infection of the tonsils, which often causes symptoms like a sore throat, difficulty swallowing, and swollen tonsils. On the other hand, when adenoids become infected or inflamed, the condition is known as adenoiditis. This can lead to symptoms such as difficulty breathing through the nose, snoring, and frequent ear infections.

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Why choose Louisiana ENT for tonsillitis treatment?

If you experience ongoing issues with your tonsils, it's essential to seek specialized care. At Louisiana ENT Specialists, our team is experienced in diagnosing and treating tonsillitis. Our patient-centered approach ensures that your treatment plan is tailored to your unique needs.

Whether you're dealing with recurrent tonsillitis, complications like abscesses, airway problems, or other concerns related to your tonsils, our ENT experts are here to help. We can provide medical and surgical options to address your tonsillitis-related issues effectively. Don't let tonsillitis disrupt your life – contact Louisiana ENT today to schedule an appointment and find relief from your symptoms.

With 6 convenient locations around the Louisiana area, we're never far away.

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