Swollen Tonsils


Location of tonsils and function

The tonsils are tiny, tube like structures that are situated within the throat. The primary function of the tonsils is to curb the activities of the bacteria and viruses occurring in the mouth and thus avoid all types of infection. Occasionally, due to various swollen tonsils may develop. Inflammation, swelling or enlargement of the tonsils is a quite common disorder. However, if left untreated, then it can result in health complications.

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Swollen tonsils with white spots

The white spots occurring on tonsils consist of calcium and mucus layers. It results in sensation of matter being trapped at the back of the throat. When one uses a flashlight to check the insides of the mouth, then the white spots are clearly visible on the upper section of the throat as well as on either side at the back of the mouth. On occasions, the white spots can be found to occur on the mouth’s roof.

The tonsils’ surface is made up of several small pockets known as tonsil crypts, which are composed of soft tissues. The lining of these tissues are constantly subjected to saliva exposure. The digestive enzymes occurring in saliva aid in the breakdown of food stuffs that are stuck in the tonsil crypts. The remainders of starch or carbohydrates thus acquired mix with bacteria and mucus and later harden to develop into the white spots of different sizes. Such white spots are called cryptic tonsils.

Swollen tonsils symptoms

Some of the signs and symptoms of swollen tonsils are listed below:

  • There may be mild to serious infection of the throat. Mild cases of throat infection may not result in pain
  • The tonsils will experience swelling
  • Change of tonsil color to yellowish or whitish
  • Fever along with chills
  • Coughing
  • Speaking difficulties
  • Distinct harshness or hoarseness of voice
  • Muscle pain
  • Bad breath
  • The throat may elicit redness
  • The lymph glands in the neck may be swollen
  • Breathing as well as swallowing problems may occur, if the swollen tonsils are double its normal size
  • It may be noted that individuals who are suffering from white spots along with swollen tonsils, may usually be affected by tonsil stones, which refer to tiny pieces of calcareous substance which develop in the tonsils

Causes of swollen tonsils

Individuals may get affected by swollen tonsils because of the presence of a sore throat or due to the occurrence of sinus infections, allergies, etc. There are many other causes of swollen tonsils which are as follows:

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  • Bacterial or viral infection resulting from contact with an infected individual can lead to development of swollen tonsils
  • Teenagers and adults generally tend to develop swollen tonsils due to strep throat or infection by bacteria
  • In a majority of cases, young children develop persistent tonsillitis because of underlying flu virus or cold
  • Swollen tonsils may also be caused due to food allergies
  • In rare instances, bacteria that cause conditions such as diphtheria or scarlet fever may also lead to occurrence of swollen tonsils

Swollen tonsils remedy

  • Individuals with swollen tonsils who experience the various symptoms like swallowing difficulties, fever, etc. should consult a doctor for diagnosis and treatment.
  • Treatment for swollen tonsils includes antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medications. Severe cases of swollen tonsils, where swallowing food becomes very difficult, require hospitalization for intravenous administration of fluids.
  • As the last resort, a doctor may recommend surgery to completely remove the tonsils. Surgical removal of tonsils is not a painful procedure, and patients are generally able to resume eating and drinking, two weeks post surgery. It is a permanent solution to swollen tonsils.

In case, one is affected by a mild case of swollen tonsils, which does not cause pain or extreme eating difficulties, then one can follow the below listed home remedies to resolve the condition.

  • Gargling with salt water is quite an effective remedy for swollen tonsils accompanied with or without a sore throat. One needs to take a glass of water in a pot and put a teaspoon of salt in it. Then boil the water and take it off the stove when done. Later, let the solution cool down to a lukewarm temperature. Use this water to gargle the throat. Repetition of this home remedy for at least thrice a day will ensure relief and reduction of the infection
  • Swollen tonsils can be exacerbated with further infections. Hence, affected individuals should avoid contact with cold weather
  • Oily, spicy, cold or sour food items should be completely avoided. Patients should intake lukewarm food that is easy to swallow
  • One may also drink a cup of warm milk which is mixed with a pinch of turmeric, before going to sleep. The turmeric will help in alleviating the infection. Also, patients will be able to sleep better
  • Individuals who are suffering from swollen tonsils should drink lots of water and other fluids. Additionally, consumption of food items abundant in vitamin C is also recommended. Chewable tablets of vitamin C are another option. The immune system becomes stronger due to vitamin C, which helps in fighting off the infection in a more effective manner.

Swollen Tonsils Pictures

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