Pain after tonsillectomy is inevitable. Tips for easier tonsillectomy recovery from patients who have been through it. What to eat, dealing with scabs and bleeding, managing pain, and shortening recovery time.
Tonsillectomy and its subsequent recovery is no picnic, especially for an adult. Welcome to Tonsillectomy Recovery Resources. Whether you’re considering, planning, or recovering from the procedure, you’ll find all the information you will need to make the best decision about tonsil surgery. You’ll also learn how to get the best care after tonsillectomy. I’ll also help you prepare for your tonsillectomy by laying out simple steps that will make the day of surgery easier and help you to be more comfortable as you recover.
Together we are stronger. Share your experience. Read about why I got my tonsils out and what I learned
Top 10 Tonsillectomy Recovery Tips
Though I’ve added to the initial 10, these are my top tips for anyone preparing for, or recovering from tonsillectomy surgery:
- Drink cold fluids
- Continue to drink cold fluids
- Drink more cold fluids! This is perhaps the single most important tip to make life easier while speeding up your recovery period.
- Get a good cool air humidifier and run it all the time in the room you’re in. Consider having more than one for the primary rooms you’ll be spending time in.
- Don’t worry about sleep. Forget the normal time convention. Sleep for short intervals, preferably in a recliner. Sleep can be your worst enemy. Sleeping a few hours in a bed usually results in a dry throat that hurts like crazy. It can take almost an hour to get the pain back under control.
- Keep a written log of your medications as you take them. It’s easy to forget what you’ve taken and when. If you would have problems that require help from the doctor, it can come in handy.
- Read about others’ experiences and share your own. (Check out the tonsillectomy forum)
- Plan ahead! Stock up on items you’ll need ahead of time.
- Take something with your pain medicine. Carnation Instant Breakfast or Ensure will at least provide a base in your stomach and reduce nausea.
- Drink ice cold liquids!
A few bonus tips for a better recovery:
- Plan some minor events. Even a simple event like a walk or a bath can take your mind off the discomfort and help your mindset during tonsillectomy recovery
- Chew sugarless gum. When pain gets referred to the ears, and it often does, chewing gum can ease the ear pain. It also keeps the swallowing process active, which many believe aids in tonsillectomy recovery. A warm compress on the area can also relieve ear pain.
- Ice! Whether it’s a high-tech ice bag or a bag of frozen peas, applying ice directly to the throat and neck is a great way to reduce inflammation and take the edge off of break-through pain. (thanks Kate!)
- Those are my top tonsillectomy tips. For a detailed daily checklist, check out my upcoming book.
I’ve put together a collection of items that I think would be helpful, if not essential, to making tonsillectomy recovery a little more pleasant. Check out the General Store.
Some Extra Tips – After Tonsils are Removed:
- It’s REALLY important that you drink. I know it’s almost impossible at times, but you must. A trick I used was to use Cloraseptic (sp?) numbing spray. (There’s also a lollipop your doc or pharmacist might know of)- to numb the throat a bit. Then I’d take the medicine. Once the meds kicked in (1/2 hour?), then I’d try to eat. My favorite foods at first were Jell-o and creamed soups. (sweet potato or broccoli by V-8 were good)
- You must keep drinking it helps your throat heal and keeps you hydrated. One gal, a nurse, said she went to an emergency room and demanded IV fluids. Wow! Maybe not such a bad idea!
About the author
My name is Greg Tooke and I’m a tonsillectomy patient myself. For most of my life I lived with huge tonsils with craters that the Ear Nose and Throat doctor called, “cryptic.” I got tonsillitis and strep throat several times every year. I snored at night and woke suddenly, catching my breath. Like many people, I had sleep apnea and didn’t even know it. Speaking of breath, tonsil stones were making my breath smell awful at times. I’d heard horror stories about adult tonsillectomy , tonsils that grow back, bleeding, excruciating pain, and even death. I was afraid.
Finally, with the advice of my doctor and a resolve to improve the quality of my life, I scheduled my tonsillectomy for the day after Thanksgiving. (a last meal??) You can read all about my tonsillectomy story in the pages that follow.
Is Adult Tonsillectomy Recovery Harder?
I was told by my ear, nose and throat doctor that the risks were the same, but recovery from adult tonsillectomy took longer and was harder than for children. He was right.
I’ve been down the road you’re on and learned an amazing amount. Unfortunately, I learned the hard way. I suffered more than I needed to with tonsils, before the day of my surgery, and in my recovery, for the most part, on my own. As a divorced father of four children, I knew it would be a challenge to meet my obligations while recovering from surgery. Finding very little information or support for patients like me online, I spent much of my recovery creating a website devoted to helping others going through what I was.
I later created a forum where people could post questions, offer each other support, or just complain. The forum has evolved into an amazing community of patients who share their concerns, questions, fears, wisdom, and support. I recommend that people considering or recovering from the surgery read these accounts from others, and even encourage their family and friends to read the forum as well. The more you and those close to you know about what to expect before and after tonsillectomy, the better prepared you will all be.
You can read more about my story in the pages that follow. You’ll also learn about tonsillectomy methods , risks , how to advocate for yourself to get the best care from your health care provider, what the risks are, how adult tonsillectomy differs from children’s. You can also learn about what foods to eat after tonsillectomy , how to deal with pain, depression, bleeding, and a number of other delightful possible side effects of the surgery.
I’ve also assembled a list of items you may want to order before your tonsillectomy. They can be found in the Tonsillectomy General Store by clicking the, “Things You’ll Need,” tab. You’ll also notice links to products that I think will help make the journey a bit more pleasant on various pages of the Resource for your preparation and recovery.
As you’ll notice, I’ve provided information, not only relating to tonsillectomy and recovery, but also many of the topics that lead patients to explore or undertake tonsil surgery. Go ahead- try typing your tonsil related question and see what comes up!