Nausea After Tonsillectomy

Is throwing up normal after getting a tonsillectomy?

After Tonsillectomy- Nausea

After Tonsillectomy- Nausea and Throwing up are common

One of the more unpleasant symptoms experienced by patients after tonsil surgery is moderate to severe nausea. Throwing up, or vomiting, is never a pleasant experience, but during tonsillectomy recovery it can be terrifying and extremely painful. The throat tissues, already sore from the surgery, certainly don’t benefit from stomach acids passing over them. Furthermore, repeated vomiting can potentially cause hemorrhaging in the tonsil bed.

While nausea and even throwing up, is common during tonsillectomy recovery, it doesn’t have to be.

What causes tonsillectomy recovery nausea?

Initially, the drugs from general anesthesia are to blame for the woozy feelings and upset stomach post tonsillectomy. Most patients are prescribed narcotic medicines for pain management during their recovery. These medicines can also cause feelings of nausea.

How to treat post tonsillectomy nausea

So what is to be done to prevent or treat these unpleasant and potentially dangerous side effects?

Firstly, nausea can often be avoided by keeping some food in the gut, especially before taking pain medicines. Staying ahead of the symptoms can ward off a vicious cycle. (Empty stomach increases nausea – vomiting creates an empty stomach.)

The good news is that there are many anti-nausea medicines available. It’s best to ask your doctor before surgery about these options.

We posed the following question to our Facebook community of tonsillectomy patients:

“I have a friend, who just had her tonsils out. 2 or 3 days after her operation, she was throwing up all day. They gave her medication to control it, but still felt terrible. Has anyone else experienced this, & what advice do you recommend that. I give her?”

Here is what our readers had to say:

  • Lisa – The same thing happened to my daughter. The doctor gave her a Phenergan suppository and she was a million times better the next day!
  • Sarah – I had the same thing – couldn’t figure out if it was the pain meds or not, but I definitely needed the pain relief! It was so bad I was admitted to the hospital because I couldn’t keep fluids down. Throwing up is awful, but the pain of throwing up after a tonsillectomy was horrid! My MD prescribed Zofran which was a miracle – little nausea pills that dissolve under your tongue. Not sure what I would have done without those! I used them for the next 2 weeks or so. I hope that helps
  • Yolanda – I didn’t start throwing up until day 6. when I went to the Dr they gave me phenergan but in a gel form that I rubbed on my wrists. that way I didn’t throw up the medication. it worked great.
  • Jessica – Same exact thing happened to me. 2 days after the surgery I was throwing up. Doctor ordered some Zofran which helped but I was still miserable. For me personally, it was the pain meds on a mostly empty stomach. Once I was feeling better, I would eat something (bread, scrambles eggs, mashed potatoes- all plain) and take my pain meds right after. It helped calm down my stomach a lot.
  • Brandi – I started throwing up the night I had my tonsils out. Dr. called me in Phenegran suppository. They worked great – that was the only time I threw up during the recovery period.
  • Vickie -My son, 11, just had his tonsils and adenoids out. He threw up on the way home from surgery and a couple times that night. Started the suppository anti-nausea the next morning, and that stopped the vomiting. He was still nauseous and down and out most of that day, day 2. Then in the middle of the night/early morning on day 5 he started vomiting again. At first, the nurse thought the initial vomiting day1/2 was from the anesthesia, but after this happened on day 5, they are thinking he didn’t tolerate the hydro well. Anyway, on day 5, I got super worried…He was very lethargic, pale, and couldn’t keep fluids/meds down. Of course it was a Saturday and the doc was now also out of town. The on call doc called in a steroid as a last resort. Said if didn’t stop vomiting by later that afternoon to take him to the ER, because he was probably lethargic/pale due to dehydration. Anyway, he did stop vomiting. I am sure it was because the suppositories we started giving worked and not the steroid. I was desperate, though, and gave the steroid because the doc said so. Not sure why he offered that.
  • Jina – Zofran worked for me plus try to get something in your stomach before taking the pain pills. The pain pills are hard on your stomach!
  • Ally –I was prescribed Roxicet for pain and ondansetron to ease nausea. Neither of them did their job though:/
  • Shiva –I threw up right out of surgery for hours. I got a patch and it helped


16 thoughts on “Nausea After Tonsillectomy”

  1. Day of surgery I was throwing up everything I drank. Couldn’t keep anything down but later that night around 3 am I felt amazing. Went back to sleep only to wake up at 11am feeling the weakest I have ever been. Ended up losing 8 pounds in 1 day. Currently the day after surgery and I feel terrible, zofran definitely does not help me at all.

    1. MASTIC GUM FOR NAUSEA AFTER TONSILLECTOMY! I am currently on recovery day 5 after my tonsillectomy and I wanted to share my invaluable cure for postop nausea, and ultimately for vomiting. On day 2 I experienced considerable nausea and was very afraid of the pain associated with vomiting so I utilized a product I had discovered in the recent past for heartburn and nausea which I had been experiencing due to recently discovered food allergies. It’s called Mastic Gum and it can be purchased at health food stores or online and is inexpensive. (I get this in capsule form, not a chewable gum). It has antibacterial properties and aids in the relief of many digestive issues. I opened the capsule up in some applesauce and mixed it very, very well as it is a dry powder and I certainly did not want a choking/coughing fit. I am so relieved and happy to report that my nausea went away within minutes. It has so many gastrointestinal protective qualities that it will help protect your stomach from the damage of consuming pain medications given after this procedure, on a potentially empty stomach; not to mention any surgery-related nausea and nausea related to lack of eating. Anti-nausea medications repeatedly fail to properly treat nausea long term and fail to address the cause, but mastic gum addresses both of these. I really, really hope this helps!

  2. Nightmare – vomited 8 times after surgery
    From the night of surgery to day 3 !! Was horrible and scary , nothing they seemed to give me helped , intravenous nor jabs in the leg and ass with God knows what ! Very unpleasant , wouldn’t wish it on my worse enemy , it settled when I started eating a little , goodluck to anyone having them done

  3. End of day 4.
    Am constipated and was feeling nauseous all day.
    Ate dinner but wasn’t feeling well after.
    Can up to bed, took my pain medication, a laxitive liquid and a tablet for nausea.
    Had them all swallowed and vomited all over my bed.
    The pain is a different level in my throat now. I never want to feel that again.

  4. I’m on day 9 after having it done along with having tubes put in both ears again for the 3rd time and they fixed my nose as well (deviated septum) and I am sick again. I am still having a hard time eating and drinking. The nausea meds don’t work to good. Day 4 I ended up in ER very dehydrated ended up getting 4 bags of fluids. I think if I keep feeling this way will end up back in ER. Anyone have any advice I’m sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. Lost 12 lbs in 5 days. Help

  5. I’m currently on day 2 of recovery, yesterday morning I woke up bleeding for around 5-10 minutes, and this morning 3:50am I’m throwing up. Could this be from a lack of water while I sleep? What’s causing it only to occur when I wake up?

  6. Currently on my 4th day after tonsillectomy, threw up all night long and got no sleep. Doctor prescribed Anti Nausea and it has helped a bunch!

  7. This is day 6 after my tonsillectomy. I’ve been in nothing but pain the whole time. Had an allergic reaction to the pain killers henprescribed me and then was told to take 4x Motrin 4x a day. I am feeling very nauseous, eating and drinking still hurts. I’m so glad a tonsillectomy can be done once! Jeez I can’t wait for this to be over.

  8. I was very nauseous after my surgery, I threw up several times. My doc prescribed me Zofran but it wasn’t working. I recommend using peppermint essential oil in a diffuser or Quease-Ease ( These worked for me. I also sucked on a lot of peppermint lifesavers. It helped me during my recovery to keep my throat lubricated at all times. I bought a lot of suckers & mints and these helped when I couldn’t even swallow water.

  9. I had an adult tonsillectomy/adenoidectomy about three weeks ago. On the first day, after getting home from surgery, I couldn’t keep anything down. Even vomited up the anti-nausea meds. This was after getting the nausea patch and anti-nausea drugs through IV at the surgery center. The ENT on call said the nausea/vomiting was likely due to anesthesia sensitivity, and that I shouldn’t eat or drink anything until the next morning. Sure enough, I had no more nausea after all the anesthetics cleared out of my system.

    You can read more about my recovery here:

  10. My daughter have an operation on 13 Aug 2014 and she have to admitted again after bleeding on 22 Aug 2014. Her condition is ok but she look pale and easy to became tired. Is it normal?

    1. I know this is a long time ago but to those who read this now I can tell you it’s perfectly normal. part of your child’s throat is ripped out trying to fight off the infection w/o antibiotics. It is normal but, unfortunately, you have to wake her up every few hours to sip water if now her throat will dry and bleed.
      Unfortunately, that’s the worst part. Especially day 3-7. I wish the best!

  11. I have thrown up twice since my surgery last wednesday. My doctor only gave me three zofran’s and I have ginger gum (which hasn’t really helped). I’ve been so afraid of throwing up and constantly being nauseas that I stopped taking my pain medication and switched to tylenol…terrible.

    I can’t handle this pain – and now tomorrow i have to go to work. Not even ready.

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