In the past, swollen tonsils were a condition mostly associated with children. You get tonsillitis, you have your tonsils taken out, and then, you get to eat ice cream. Fortunately, thatâs not how things are done today. Most doctors will try to cure tonsillitis first, waiting until thereâs no choice but to cut them out. That being said, with all of the other possible throat infections, it may be hard to tell what tonsillitis is and what it isnât.
In this article, we will discuss the symptoms of tonsillitis, the causes of tonsillitis, and even some tonsillitis home treatments. Everything you need to know about tonsillitis and taking care of it.
What is Tonsillitis?
Tonsillitis is, in very basic terms, the inflammation of the tonsils. What you may not know is that the tonsils are actually a collection of lymphoid tissue at the back of the mouth. There are numerous causes of inflammation. Bacterial infections like strep throat (streptococcus) can cause tonsillitis as well as viral infections like the flu. Even the common cold might trigger tonsillitis. The variety of causes is due in part to what the tonsils actually do. The tonsils act as nets, catching various germs and infections before they can infect your airways. But sometimes, these infections will get the better of the tonsils.
Types of Tonsillitis
As previously mentioned, the tonsils are actually a group of tissues, and the different elementsÂ that make up the tonsils may have different reactions toÂ the condition. The five types of tonsillitis are as follows:
- Acute tonsillitis.Â Acute tonsillitis is a sore throat caused by a bacteria or a virus.
- Peritonsillar abscess (PTA) or quinsy. PTA is caused by a bacterial infection andÂ canÂ create abscesses in the mouth filled with pus. This type of tonsillitis usually occursÂ when acute tonsillitis is left untreated.
- Recurring tonsillitis. Recurring tonsillitis is exactly what its name is. Itâs tonsillitis that has occurred multiple times in one year (seven times in one year, five times within two years, three times, or each year for three years).
- Tonsil or tonsillar hyperplasia or tonsillar hypertrophy is the abnormal enlargement of the palatal tonsils.
- Chronic tonsillitis. Chronic tonsillitis is when reoccurring tonsillitis infections cause issues like bad breath, tender cervical nodes, and a chronic sore throat.
Causes of Tonsillitis
We’ve noted there are two basic causes of tonsillitis: bacterial and viral. However, within those two causes, there are a number of sources. The most common are streptococcus pyogenes (group A streptococcus), which are the bacteria that causes strep throat. In terms of viruses, the main culprits are influenza, the Epstein-Barr virus, parainfluenza, enteroviruses, and the herpes simplex virus.
Symptoms of Tonsillitis
The symptoms of tonsillitis are pretty straight forward, with a sore throat and swollen tonsils being the most common. Beyond those, symptoms can include:
- Enlarged, tender glands (lymph nodes) in the neck
- White or yellow coating or patches on the tonsils
- Stomachache (this occurs more often in young children than adults)
- Difficult or painful swallowing
- Stiff neck
- A scratchy, muffled or throaty voice
- Bad breath
Tonsillitis Home Remedies
In the past, your tonsils were removed if you had tonsillitis more than once or twice. These days, however, doctors will use surgery as a last resort only.Â The tonsils help filter viruses and bacteria from getting into your airways, and the longer they can do that job, the better. What can you do in the meantime? Doctorâs will often prescribe antibiotics, but there are a few home remedies you may want to try as well.
Like any other viral or bacterial infection, one of your best allies can be rest. Give your body the time to recover and combat whatever it is causing tonsillitis.
2. Lemon juice
Lemons have a rather high vitamin C content that can help boost the bodyâs infection-fighting systems. An easy way of drinking lemon juice is to add the juice of one lemon to a glass of warm water. Add a teaspoon of honey, a pinch of salt and drink (take this concoction slowly, do not chug it). It works best if you can drink this twice a day for a week.
Basil has a long history of use as a natural anti-inflammatory and antiviral herb, and both properties come in handy with tonsillitis. You can consume basil easily by adding a dozen fresh basil leaves to one and one-half cups of water. Boil the water for 10 minutes and add the juice of one lemon. Drinking this two or three times a day for a week mayÂ help with tonsillitis.
Mint can help fight bacteria and help soothe your throat. Use it in something warm like a mint tea.
5. Saltwater Rinse
A long-used remedy for all infections related to the throat, rinsing with saltwater isÂ one of the easiest things you can do to help tonsillitis move along outside of sleep. Take a teaspoon of salt and mix it in one cup of warm water. Gargle with the salt water and then spit out. Repeat a couple of times a day for a week.
While these and other home remedies may help or get rid of tonsillitis, if it continues to be a problem, go seek professional medical care as prolonged exposure to tonsillitis can lead to throat damage and the possibility of the infection spreading elsewhere.
Tonsillitis Can Be a Pain!
Tonsillitis can be a real pain. It can make your throat sore and scratchy and cause other problems like headaches. Whether bacterial or viral, itâs best that you take care of it quickly via home remedies or a doctorâs care. The last thing you want to do is let tonsillitis spread and do some long-termÂ damage. And even if you donât end up having your tonsils taken out, you’re an adult now. You can have as much ice cream as you want!
- Sore Throat on One Side: 7 Causes and Treatments
- Sore Throat and Earache: 6 Causes and Treatments
- What to Know about White Spots in the Throat
- Sore Throats: Causes and Home Remedies
âTonsillitis,â Med India; http://www.medindia.net/patients/patientinfo/tonsillitis.htm, last accessed March 7, 2017.
Pietrangelo, A., Nall, R., âTonsillitis,â Healthline; April 18, 2016, http://www.healthline.com/health/tonsillitis?m=2#Overview1, last accessed March 7, 2017.
âTonsillitis: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments,â Web MD; http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/tonsillitis-symptoms-causes-and-treatments#1, last accessed March 7, 2017.
âTypes of Tonsillitis,â Right Diagnosis; http://www.rightdiagnosis.com/symptoms/tonsillitis/types.htm, last accessed March 7, 2017.
Cunha, J., âTonsillitis and Adenoid Infection,â Medicine Net; http://www.medicinenet.com/adenoids_and_tonsils/page2.htm, last accessed March 7, 2017.
âTonsillitis â Causes,â NHS; http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Tonsillitis/Pages/Causes.aspx, last accessed March 7, 2017.
âTonsillitis,â Mayo Clinic; http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/tonsillitis/basics/treatment/con-20023538, last accessed March 7, 2017.
â26 Home Remedies to Get Rid of Tonsillitis Real Fast,â Home Remedy Hacks, February 19, 2015; http://www.homeremedyhacks.com/26-home-remedies-get-rid-tonsillitis/, last accessed March 7, 2017.
âHome Remedies for Tonsillitis,â Top Ten Home Remedies; http://www.top10homeremedies.com/home-remedies/home-remedies-tonsillitis.html, last accessed March 7, 2017.