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Swollen Tonsils – Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, Remedies, Pictures

Written by Dr.Mary

All individuals has 3 types of tonsils which are located in various areas of the mouth or throat. They include:


  • Palatine tonsils – situated on both sides of the back of the throat
  • Lingual tonsils – situated at the base of the tongue
  • Pharyngeal tonsils or adenoids – situated high in the throat behind the nose

The palatine tonsils are the tonsils that are often the ones discussed when an individual has a sore or swollen throat and are the ones that are normally removed for infection. These tonsils are round lymphatic tissue masses that assist in fighting off infection during the early years of life.

Swollen Tonsils Symptoms

Swollen tonsils are normally caused by some type of infections and the typical symptoms include:

  • Tonsils coating that is white or yellow
  • Throat or tonsils are red
  • Fever
  • Bad breath or halitosis
  • Swallowing that is difficult or painful swallowing
  • Neck lymph glands are swollen

If is advised to get medical care for a tenacious sore or swollen throat, even when not supplemented by fever. Throat infections or swollen tonsils left untreated may lead to difficulties with the kidneys and heart, for instance rheumatic fever. Also a situation known as “peritonsillar abscess” may occur and the swelling from this abscess may grow big enough to block the airway. This infection also can migrate into the neck and chest and could become fatal.

Swollen Tonsils Causes

The cause of swollen tonsils as well as infections of the throat can be due to a bacteria or virus and may spread from one individual to another by coughing, sneezing as well as fluids from the nasal passages. In infants and children of preschool age, the cold virus or the flu virus normally causes chronic tonsillitis. In adolescents or adults it is most normally caused by bacteria such as:

  • Staphylococci
  • Streptococcus
  • Haemophilus
  • Pneumococci

In some cases that are rare, the bacterium that is responsible for tonsillitis can include:

  • Scarlet fever
  • Diphtheria
  • Mononucleosis

“Strep throat” is a particular type of throat infection caused by the Streptococcus pyogenes bacteria. Inflamed and swollen tonsils can or may not be accompanied with a strep throat infection.

Mono which is caused by infectious mononucleosis can also be a reason for swollen tonsils or tonsillitis. Mono normally starts with feelings of unexplained and excessive fatigue with headaches.

Swollen Tonsils Treatment

Swollen tonsils and throat infections are usually treated with measures that relieve the symptoms to make the individual feel better and when needed, drugs that combat the infection. Increased intake of fluids, gargling with salt water, medications to combat inflammation as well as rest may help to lessen how severe the symptoms are.

Antibiotics or antibacterial agents are often used for the treatment of tonsillitis or throat infections that are caused by bacteria but they normally will have no effect when used to treat those infections occurring because of a virus and in those cases can even be harmful.

Sometimes, swollen tonsils and/or adenoids can turn out to be so swollen and inflamed that they can obstruct swallowing. It is in these cases where hospitalization as well as intravenous fluids can be needed.

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Chronic tonsillitis of an unknown cause is often treated with antibiotics, but normally this is only helpful on a temporary basis. Some mechanical methods such as swabs or picks, can be used, but the only cure that is permanent is a tonsillectomy. But, not every individual with chronic tonsillitis has symptoms which are severe enough to call for surgery. But if you or your child has recurring chronic swollen tonsils or throat infections in spite of treatment medically, then a tonsillectomy can be advisable. The common guidelines for making this decision include the following:

  • 5 or more occurrences in 1 year
  • 3 or more occurrences each year for 2 years
  • Infections that do not react to treatment

Because an infection may spread from the tonsils to the adenoids or adenoids to tonsils, they are normally removed at the same time in the same operation especially with children. The physician can decide the cause of the symptoms and what appropriate treatment to use.

Swollen Tonsils Remedies

There are many home remedies for swollen tonsils as well as tonsillitis and they include:

Treatment with milk

This is a respected method. A glass of boiled milk, mixed with a small pinch of pepper powder as well as turmeric powder, needs to be taken each night for 3 nights. The results are very helpful.

Treatment with lime

This is a good method to use. A lime that is fresh needs to be squeezed into one glass of water that is warm, together with 4 teaspoons honey and ¼ teaspoon of table salt. This fluid should be drunk little by little

With juices from vegetables

Juices from beets, carrots as well as cucumbers can be taken separately or combined. The proportion suggested when used together is 300 mil of carrot juice, 100 mil of beet juice, and 100 mil of cucumber juice.

With Banafsha Flowers

This is valuable for treatment of the throat. Approximately 12 gm of flowers needs to be boiled in 50 ml of milk. The milk needs to be consumed hot after having been filtered. The filtered portion may also be fried lightly in clarified butter and worn around the throat as a compress at night.

With Fenugreek seeds

Gargling with a solution made using fenugreek seeds is great in cases that are severe. It is made with 2 tablespoons of fenugreek seeds which are permitted to simmer for ½ hour in a liter of water and then allowed to cool. The entire portion needs to be used in the same day.

These remedies or treatments for swollen throat or tonsillitis may be helpful but it should be advised that treatment for throat problems should not be taken lightly so medical attention is very essential. Approaches for home treatment may be used along with any medical treatment advised by your physician to help with healing as well as providing some extra relief.

Swollen Tonsils Pictures

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