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Written and checked by Op. Dr. Tamer Haliloglu

Symptoms & Causes of Tonsillitis

Tonsils are almond-shaped lymphatic tissues on both sides of our throat, they are called tonsils because they are almond-shaped, they are a part of our immune system like other organs in the lymph system and their task is to protect the body against infections.
Our tonsils are at the forefront against diseases and are the first defenders of our body, viruses that enter our body through our nose and mouth first encounter our tonsils and come into contact with the red blood cells there.

Why are our tonsils inflamed?

In theory, what should happen is that the viruses that enter our body through the throat and nasal passages are collected by the tonsils and neutralized before they can enter our system, but the tonsils can succumb in the wars against the virus and become inflamed. Inflammation of the tonsils is called tonsillitis and there are three different types of inflammation, they are divided into acute, subacute and chronic.

Acute, bacterial or viral inflammation of the tonsils lasting several days, in some cases up to two weeks.

Subacute is the inflammation of a person’s tonsils several times a year.


Chronic, frequently occurring subacute is called subacute and tonsils become incapable of doing their job due to frequent inflammation. On the other hand, chronic inflamed tonsils do not benefit the person because they will turn into a breeding ground for viruses, on the contrary, they begin to harm the body by lowering their immunity.


What are the symptoms of tonsillitis?

The main symptoms of tonsillitis include sore throat, difficulty swallowing, fever and chills, runny nose and postnasal drip. Tonsillitis can signal with symptoms of abdominal pain, rash on the skin, and even with stiff neck. At the same time, in case of inflammation, visible white spots can be observed on the tonsils.


In which cases is tonsil surgery performed?

Tonsillectomy is done for 2 main reasons:
The first reason is the chronic inflammation of the tonsils, which we call chronic. Since the tonsils will become a breeding ground for microbes in the body rather than fulfilling their primary duties, in this case the tonsils must be removed.



The second reason is that the tonsils swell excessively, narrowing the airway and making it difficult to breathe, swollen tonsils make it difficult to breathe, especially while sleeping.



It can be seen as snoring and sleep apnea in children, and sleep apnea prevents healthy and quality sleep in children, which can have a negative effect on children’s growth and behavior. Therefore, although tonsil surgery is not performed arbitrarily or optionally, it should not be postponed when it is understood that it is needed.



Is there an age for tonsil surgery? Can tonsil surgery be performed in very young children?


Tonsil surgery is one of the most performed surgeries in the medical world, tonsil surgery can be easily performed from 0 to 70 years old, regardless of gender, when needed, we may need to perform tonsil surgery on a five-six-month-old child, or a 70-year-old patient may need tonsil surgery and can be performed. Therefore, the age margin of tonsil surgery is between 0 and 70, and it can be performed very comfortably regardless of gender.



Should swollen tonsils in children be removed?


This issue is one of the issues that causes debate between pediatricians and otolaryngologists. It is done only when the tonsils are obstructing the airway or when the inflammation is chronic and leaves the patient’s body weak on a regular basis. In the remaining cases, the doctors follow the procedure and make decisions on their own initiative, this operation is only performed when it is deemed necessary. 


Removal of tonsils at a young age does not impose any burden on the patient, on the contrary, it prevents complications related to tonsils and protects the patient from possible infections. Repetitive tonsil surgeries can cause some diseases such as beta microbe in the heart, joints and rheumatic fever, such as joint rheumatism and cardiac rheumatism.


Does removing tonsils weaken the body?


The most frequently asked question by the relatives of patients who will undergo tonsillectomy is the feeling that the sick child will be more vulnerable to diseases when the tonsils are removed, although there are some opinions as if the tonsils are the body’s protective shield or the gendarmerie, there is no such thing. 


As stated before, the tonsils are the lymph tissues in our throat and existence Although their reason is to protect our body, if inflammation becomes chronic, they turn into microbe factories and their presence begins to harm our body. Therefore, if it starts to do more harm than good, it should definitely be taken.

Op. Dr. Tamer Haliloğlu
Op. Dr. Tamer Haliloğlu

This blog post is written by Op. Dr. Tamer Haliloğlu.

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