Tonsils are an important part of the body with a significant role but, like anything, can also be the source of a range of problems. If your doctor has recommended that you get your tonsils removed, there are a lot of questions that might be running through your mind. It can be frightening to get an organ removed, but don’t worry! We’re here to help you get the answers you’re looking for so you can have peace of mind as you go through the process of a tonsillectomy.

About a Tonsillectomy

A tonsillectomy is a surgical procedure done to remove the tonsils from the back of your throat. It can be done on any person of any age and is a solution to various problems.

What Do Tonsils Do?

Tonsils are two oval-shaped pads of tissue—lymph nodes—in the back of your throat that serve as your body’s first defense against germs and bacteria that enter through your mouth. Inflammation of the tonsils is more common in children and young teenagers because the role of the tonsils lessens as you get older.

What Is Tonsillitis?

Tonsillitis is a term used to describe any inflammation that happens in the tonsils. This is usually caused by a virus like a common cold but can also be due to a bacterial infection. The symptoms of tonsillitis include:

  • swollen or reddened tonsils
  • white or yellow patches on the tonsils
  • sore throat
  • trouble breathing
  • scratchy or raspy voice
  • pain when swallowing
  • headache
  • sore, swollen lymph nodes in the neck
  • fever
  • bad breath
  • stomachache
  • headache or neck pain

If you have tonsillitis just once, your doctor will most likely send you home with directions to treat it like a common cold. After seven to ten days of rest, good hydration, soft foods, and the use of a humidifier, you should be feeling perfectly well again.

However, if tonsillitis is a recurring issue (at least three to five episodes in a year) and causes problems such as difficulty breathing or sleep apnea, your doctor may recommend a tonsillectomy.

Why Is a Tonsillectomy Needed?

A tonsillectomy can be used to improve your sleep quality, your ability to breathe clearly, and can reduce bad breath caused by swollen tonsils. It is also a solution if your doctor suspects or has confirmed that you have cancerous tissue in your tonsils.

What Is the Process?

The procedure is usually conducted by an ear, nose, and throat doctor in an outpatient surgical center. Your doctor might instruct you not to take medicines containing aspirin for the two weeks leading up to the surgery, and he or she will also tell you whether you are allowed to eat or drink before the surgery. You will be put under anesthesia and the surgeon will most likely use a tool that destroys inflamed cells with heat or laser energy for the majority of the procedure, which takes between one and two hours.

Recovery After a Tonsillectomy

Since a tonsillectomy is a relatively minor surgery, your recovery time should go smoothly. Keep yourself hydrated by drinking cold water throughout the day, but avoid using a straw since this can be harsh on your throat.

How Long Will it Take?

The recovery time for a tonsillectomy is usually around ten to fourteen days. During this time, you should aim to rest and not strain your throat any more than is necessary.

What Can I Eat?

To avoid unnecessary pain or stress, you should stick with softer foods and ice pops for a while after your surgery. For at least two weeks, don’t eat crunchy foods like chips or nuts, since these can cut the back of your throat and cause bleeding that might require a hospital trip. Because of the sore throat that you will experience during recovery, it is not uncommon to lose a bit of weight in the weeks after your tonsillectomy. If this becomes an issue, your doctor may recommend that you drink nutritional beverages high in calories so your weight can remain stable.

How to Prevent Tonsillitis

There isn’t a way to definitively prevent tonsillitis, but you can take steps to avoid it. For example, wash your hands thoroughly before touching your face or mouth—especially if you’ve been in public around people who might be sick with a virus that could cause tonsillitis— and don’t share food, drink, or eating utensils with people who are sick. To keep your mouth clean and avoid harboring bacteria, change out your toothbrush regularly and use high-quality oral care products.

Preventing Tonsillitis with Good Hygiene

One great way to prevent tonsillitis or keep your mouth healthy after a tonsillectomy is by using professionally-tested oral care products like LIVFRESH’s patented line of dental gels. Our products are designed to give a thorough, long-lasting clean and leave your mouth feeling fresh and healthy. Browse our line of dental gels today to find what’s best for you!