Tonsillectomy: What to Expect

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:

Greg's Tonsillectomy Recovery Tips

Top Ten

  • 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!
Tonsillectomy Forum image

Join the Discussion!


A few bonus tips- read on>>>>

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.


198 thoughts on “Tonsillectomy: What to Expect”

  1. I did not mean to frighten you :-). Every one’s recovery is different. This is just what I’ve been experiencing. I pray you’ll do great!

  2. Hello Sooo after 4 years of sore throats huge tonsils and 3 doctors recommending I have a tonsillectomy and most recently this sensation of not being able to breath (scary) I have a surgery date. Hoping I have a high enough pain tolerance. I am most afraid of bleeding scabs and the pain.

  3. Interesting that you mention this. I too had a dramatic change in taste that hit about a week and 1/2 after surgery. The first few meals of real food tasted fine, but then I had a meal where only the initial bite had real flavor and while chewing that bite, and subsequent bites gave nothing but a slight bitter taste. I found if I paused for more time than normal between bites, I could at least tolerate eating because it seemed my taste could “catch up” a little given some extra time. I’m now 2 1/2 weeks post-op and have seen no improvement in taste. I’ve also continued to have some minor, but significant pain in one spot at the root of my tongue, and this morning I noted a tiny bit of blood there.

  4. Hi Greg, I found this site enormously helpful when I had my tonsils removed as an adult, a couple of years ago. One of the (many) aspects that I struggled with was the loss of taste sensation that I experienced afterwards. I guess it doesn’t affect everyone but the medical profession do not seem to recognise it at all. My experience was that my taste slowly returned but it took about 12 months. I wanted to leave this feedback as some reassurance about this would have helped me at the time. I hope it helps someone else. Helen xx

    1. Hi Helen

      Thank you so much for your information! It was very helpful! It’s been 5 months for me since my surgery. I still have not regained my taste buds. Everything sill taste funny. It’s getting better, but not there as of yet. My problem is that it feels like something is stuck in the back of my throat. It’s ALWAYS there. When I look inside my mouth, I can’t see anything in the back of my throat… just feels like it is. My ENT says I now have GERD. I don’t know if I necessarily agree because I have no other symptoms…..just the feeling of something in the back of my throat. I think this feels worse than when I had the HUGE tonsils. Please let me now if you have experienced this feeling. Thanks,

      1. omg. I am about 10 days out from having my tonsilectomy and uvulectomy. It frightens me to hear you say that you have already had your tonsillectomy and feel like you have something stuck in your throat. that’s the main reason I want this procedure done. if I feel like a still have something lodged in my throat following this procedure I am going to literally cry my eyes out! I have been dealing with this feeling for approx. 4 mo straight and am at my wits end with it.

  5. crazy question, and it probabaly doesn’t really matter – but do you all count day 1 as the day of surgery or day 1 as the first day after surfery???? At this ppoint a whole day makes a difference if you no what I mean ….thanks!

  6. I’m the mother of a 20 year old who is on day 5. Instant mashed potatoes has worked really well for my daughter. Her pain schedule is almost exactly like the previous peoples comments. Today is her first day on just Tylenol, no Lortab or Percocet, as they were making her worse. Hallucinations, paranoi, claminess, extreme light-headedness…… Anyone else have that problem with the meds. Two Tylenol every six hours (which is what I understand to be the maximum due to liver damage) is hardly anything. Thought I’d be feeling better by today instead of marking the half-way point. Hope this is worth it.

  7. Hello,
    I have read this forum many times. Before my surgery and now 6 days after. It always helps to know that my case is normal.
    True, days 1-2 are a cake walk. Makes you wonder what the big deal was.
    Days 3-4 things got a little rocky. I thought I only had the one amount of meds so I was only taking 3mL to make them last longer. Big mistake, I was in pain and didn’t do anything all day. Just drinking water hurt. Day 4 is when the earaches started. They seem to never go away. Chewing gum hurts.
    Days 5-6 better with more meds but still by far the worst. I’m am on day 6 and am wondering when I can expect to feel somewhat normal again.
    I have lost 7 lbs and still struggling to eat. I have a humidifier, throat spray, and pain meds. I try everything I can think of to eat something that is easy. Any suggestions?? I’m in my early 20’s, I should recover easier.
    The reason I did this was because I developed guttate psoriasis. It’s from getting strep. It’s not 100% it’ll go away but I figured I should give it a try. Anyone ever heard of this?
    The other hard thing for me is all the saliva or buildup in the back of my throat. Makes me caugh which is very painful.
    Thanks for this awesome forum.

    1. Hi Kitty, and welcome. Thanks for sharing your experience. I would expect that you’ll be getting close to normal at about day 10. For me, days 7 & 8 were worst, I was 44 at the time. (I’m much younger now) A warm compress can also help with ear pain. Hope you’re feeling better soon.

    2. Hi Kitty, I am 38 and on Day 9. My experience has been pretty much like yours. Days 1-3 ok. Day 4 I felt minor ear aches. Day 5 the pain started to increase, making Days 6 and 7 the worse, taking away all chances of talking. I, too, have a lot of excessive mucus in the back of my throat. But on Day 7, I started coughing uncontrollably, leading to much pain AND the release of a lot of that mucus. This helped me to realize that (A) that mucus was a big factor in my inability to talk and (B) the addition of too much mucus was not stopping my throat from drying out. I was not sipping water regularly, because of the pain it caused, but was thinkimg the mucus was helping, when it really was not. So, basically, keep sipping room temp. water all day to help moisten your throat. That helped with the pain but on Day 9, pain is still present most of the day and eating is next to impossible. I, too, am wondering when this will all go away. Good luck

  8. I am 21, today will be my fifth day after surgery. I literally just got back from the store with more meds and throat spray. I read this forum before surgery and it got me prepared. I thought I had everything I needed. I guess nothing prepares you for the pain. The first two days were easy I thought it’d be cake. Yesterday I did nothing but lay around in pain. I’ve lost 7 lbs so far. Last two days I pretty much ate nothing. Hopefully the throat spray and more meds will help. Thanks for the help guys

  9. Tomorrow will make two weeks post-op and I have to say that things are going very well, finally. Friday I finally ate real food again without being in complete agony, and by last night, I was almost able to even enjoy it again. I stopped the oxycodone meds on Wednesday and experienced mild withdrawal that furthered my resolve to stay away from that stuff if at all possible. Alternating ibuprofen and acetaminophen with a shot of chlorioseptic throat spray,once in a while to keep the edge off seems to have been the trick to keep the pain bearable. I hope a few more days and I can begin to forget that i ever even had tonsils and all the problems that led me to having the surgery.

  10. Hi, I am 21 year old and had a tonsillectomy 6 days ago. Just discovered this site after a trip to doctors for more pain meds!

    Instantly after surgery I had morphine for the pain. Then it eased off a bit enough for me to eat. That was a peculiar experience!

    Day 1,2,3 were fine, didn’t need cocodamol, only ibuprofen and paracetomol.

    Day 4,5 pain was unbearable, had to keep on top of meds every 4hours if not just a little bit before! Increased medication to 2x cocodamol, 2x Tramadol & 1 400mg ibuprofen. This took the pain away enough to eat.
    Started to get tooth ache and the pain on the sides of my tongue was agony, more painful than my actual throat! No idea what this is but it was hideous!!

    Day 6: When is this going to end?! Had to go to the doctors to get more pain meds. Tongue is literally on fire and throat is absolute agony I cannot bear to swallow or talk or eat or drink. Everytime I do it’s makes me cry! Doctors gave me more cocodamol and prescribed a stronger anti-inflammatory called Naproxen. Just taken that with food and can say it’s helped a lot! Still agony though but pain is now manageable.

    My question is, did anyone get toothache like feeling? My teeth REALLY hurt and so does the sides of my tongue. Wondering whether anyone else has experienced this?

    I hope this pain goes away soon, not sure how much more I can take, just want to eat nice things!

    1. I did not have much for toothaches, just a general jaw ache. Maybe I was clenching my teeth in my sleep. The pains on the tongue were horrible, to say the least. Like having canker sores on there! I could barely move my tongue. I couldn’t do anything for it but wait. Maybe others have a better solution. I never found one. Continue what you’re doing, because eating and drinking through that pain are going to get you healed quicker. You are in the worst of it now and it will get better!

      1. Hi Mel,

        Thankyou for replying. This is more a tooth/jaw ache and i thought it had got better once id taken the strong anti-inflammatory, but it’s worn off now and I’m in agony again. Can’t move my mouth or anything again and can only take those twice a day.

        Hoping it will get better soon, I can’t stand this anymore it’s horrific!!

  11. I have the same feeling of either mucus or something in the throat always. I was told by my ENT that I have a sinus drain and now…..after my tonsillectomy……acid reflux. I never had either one of these symptoms prior to my surgery. I think I need another opinion.

  12. Don’t worry about the surgery. You won’t feel a thing during the surgery. During recovery you will be able to mitigate the pain when it comes with drinking ice cold water and taking liquid throat numbing medicine (Roxicet is what I’m taking.) Keep drinking throughout the days as they say, but don’t think too much about the worst case scenario and just care for your current symptoms -you will be fine.

    I’m recovering now on day 2.5. I’ve thrown up a few times from blood in my stomach (dried blood) and possibly from the liquid numbing meds which make me a bit dizzy. So I’ve found it best to eat bread or something an hour before taking that to prevent the food from coming up. Strangely, it is less painful than it used to be to throw up since my tonsils are not there anymore. It surprises me a bit more when I have to though probably because of the medicine. It’s not a good thing to be throwing up though because this can rupture your tonsil base and if you begin bleeding bright red, you’ll need to go back to the hospital. This didn’t happen to me yet at least. Just be careful.

    I haven’t used a humidifier, although that may help. Taking the liquid syrup medicine every 4 fours has helped. I lay down after taking the medicine and that helps. My doctor said to be sure to take it consistently and not get too far behind on it because that is when people have more pain issues. I waited an extra hour once and it started to feel a bit worse than usual, so I believe him and just take it every four if that’s when the pain is.

    Thinking about what may or what could happen if you have the surgery and are in pain is useless, just be informed(this site helps) and take care of the pain as it comes, whether it be with the syrup meds, cold water, or a bag of peas on your throat. Get er done- in these modern times we are a lot luckier and more comfortable than our ancestors were. If nothing else take comfort in that. Good luck!

  13. In reading these I’ve noticed many have a smooth recovery with a lower pain scale and as I don’t want to scare anyone I want to be able to let you know everyone is different and don’t prepare to heal like someone else.

    Day 1-3: From waking up after surgery at about 10am I was in excruciating pain. Could barely drink water or simply swallow without crying or spitting it back up. I’d rank it one of the most painful experiences next to my appendix before I got that out. I had trouble on day one until about 7pm which lasted until 10pm and then back to the pain and tears. I woke up during the night twice for medicine (taking 3 does, 2 ibuprofen and one of the prescribed.. I continued this throughout day 6 then moved to only at night and just one of the prescribed every four hours until then) I was lucky to be able to get it all down with out spitting it out from pain. I also had not been able to open my mouth/stick my tongue out enough even just to see my tonsils due to pain when trying.

    Tip: plenty of fluids however if you experience pain like me, I soley recommend water when you are going to sleep as Gatorade and other drinks will leave your mouth dryer after drinking… Waking up – not fun) also make sure to work your jaw so it doesn’t lock as I mention in day 4.

    Day 4: was very rough and similar to 1-4 but that night I did taste a little blood. I did realize by this day my jaw was locked up to where I couldn’t open it wide enough to even fit a straw through (due to keeping my mouth closed/clenching from the pain)

    Day 5: was the same but I did feel a little tickle in my throat along with the taste of blood, as I’m guessing was part of the scab. I got a good amount of relief twice this day finally.

    Day 6: was the same as 5 including the tickle from the scab. Relief was 3-4 times that day.

    Day 7 – Day 9: were about the same

    Day 9:was the first day I got the most relief. I was able to eat a baked potato and little pieces of chicken chewed well. I took a stool softener the next two days as I hadn’t had a bowl movement since before my surgery and finally went the morning after the 2nd dose. My best day after that was day 12.

    Day 10-11: same as before

    Day 12: I didn’t feel so dependent on my medication at all and was able to eat more as well. I felt much better overall although my throat is still sore of course. My jaw is almosttt all the way open from being locked but I have a little ways to go on that.
    After writing that^ at about 9pm I began spitting up blood (pure thick red blood not just pink in my spit) and had to go to the hospital but was sent home since bleeding has subsided (advice: if bleeding doesn’t subside after 20-30 minutes, thennnn go to ER)

    From day 13-21 was progressive and by day 21 I was about 90% finally!
    After 4 weeks I’d say I was 100%

  14. Has anyone else had excessive mucus in their throat? It seems it’s always there and no matter how much swallowing I try to do, it’s still there. On the plus side, this has allowed me to not have to worry about going too long without fluids and getting the dry mouth. On the other hand, it often obstructs my airway when trying to rest.

    1. I had the same problem and the only thing that helped me was GENTLY gargling with warm salt water. That also helped get the loose scabs out 🙂

      1. Thanks Ashley. I hear some people say gargling with salt water is good and others said it was a no-no. So I have basically stayed away from it. But on this Day 9, I am taking your (and many others) advice. Thanks again.

        1. As long as you are doing it gentle there should be no problem. Let me know how it goes! I felt like that was the only way it felt better with the scabs and mucus. 🙂 I hope it works for you!

  15. Having my tonsils out in about a month and a half and I gotta same, I am terrified. There have been posts online that make me feel ok with it and then there are others that make me want to run and hide and avoid this procedure for yet another 2 years!!! Any thoughts???

    1. This is the only site I found where people with typical recoveries posted. All the other sites are posts by folks who have the nightmare stories and want to make sure everyone knows how evil the world is! The forums here are filled with actual accounts from people who have had unbelievable pain-free recoveries (not the norm), typical recoveries, and nightmares (also not the norm).

      Before my tonsillectomy, I read through a good portion of the accounts from each day. It doesn’t take long to see the trend: Days 1-2 not bad, days 3-6 painful, days 7-8 maybe less painful but we start to wonder if it will ever end, days 9+ getting better every day! Once you read the stories here, you’ll see that it is painful, but not as bad as the horror stories you’ve heard elsewhere. Yes, those nightmares happen, and they are retold on this site, but the vast majority of folks make it through without the crazy bleeding and monthlong pain. Just check out the updates from each day and you’ll get a pretty accurate picture of what to expect. Some accounts give great detail and saved me a lot of worry about whether my recovery was normal.

      I had my tonsils out 2 months ago and I haven’t had tonsillitis since (it was every six weeks prior), so I’m already seeing benefits.

    2. I was terrified to get my tonsils out also! I’m the type of person who reads everything and trys to get as much info as possible! Most stories were awful and I expected the worst!! I’m at two weeks post op and It was SO much better then I thought it would be!! Biggest thing you need to do is DRINK!!! Set your alarm overnight for water and take pain meds as directed! Use a humidifier, try to eat (I could only eat a tiny bit of mashed potatoes and eggs). Just stay positive and you will do fine! The biggest difference for me (and I know everyone is different) was I was never stuck in bed! I did rest a ton but I felt like I was able to live just in pain LOL! I’m sure you will do great!! Good luck with every thing and if you have any questions we are here to help!

    3. Demi, I am sure the procedure /pain/discomfort will be well worth whatever constant issue you are having. I struggled also before having my surgery 5 days ago. Some people have described it as having a baby without any medicine…!!! That has not been my experience. It is true that after 3 or four days your pain increases, but, as I am hoping, that should only last till day 7 or so. There will be pain, and everyone’s level of pain and coping mechanism, will be different. Just take your medicines on time, EVERY 4 HOURS and sip sip sip.

    4. Hi Demi,

      I completely understand. I was supposed to get mine out a year ago and bailed on the day when I was almost about to go to theatre! I had read too much and became very scared about the risks of bleeding, more so than the pain.

      I posted a comment on the day 1 recovery section outlining my experience.

      Everyone has a different experience and some may be prepared and have an awful experience and some may not be prepared and have a great experience.

      The best advice I can give is to be well informed. I work in the medical profession so have the ability to assess medical journal articles and know what’s credible information. The evidence is that the risks are more as you get older, however the are only moderately higher. Estimates range from 2-4% bleed risk and even slightly higher in some articles. The evidence also supports the use of cold steel dissection (basically cutting them out) over diathermy or coblation to reduce the risk of secondary bleeding – but, as always, speak to your doctor about this!

      From my perspective, this was about 30% as bad as I thought it would be. I took my pain meds on time, make sure my ENT prescribed enlighten to last 2 weeks, followed all of Greg’s tip (drinking drinking and more drinking, setting alarms overnight, humidifier, ice collar, someone with me day and night)

      I also ate a textured diet (not too soft) from day 1 to continually clean the tonsil beds to promote faster healing.

      And finally, I accepted that it was going to painful well in advance. Then when the pain came, I just thought, well, you knew this would happen, it sucks, but it’s only temporary. And that absolutely helped.

      I also discussed the entire procedure including recovery with my ENT. I asked what method he uses, what his bleed rate is, how to contact him in an emergency, what I should do if I notice bleeding etc etc. Surgeons generally want you in and out of their office but it’s your body and your life so you have to advocate for yourself – don’t be afraid to ask anything you need to know.

      I hope this helps and good luck with making your decision.

      This was a huge decision for me 13 days later I already feel so much better and would absolutely do it again.

  16. I am day 7 post op. My situation was a little different then most. My dog broke my nose and when my doctor was doing his routine check up he noticed I had an inflamed tonsil that looked like cancer so they had to come out (ended up just being tonsillitis and not cancer). So the first 24 hours were horrible for me. I could not breath out my nose so I had to breath out my mouth which made things very painful. Because I had to get my deviated septum fixed I had a lot of blood run down my throat and a lot of blood in my stomach. I had a bad reaction to that and the sleep meds and maybe the pain meds. Lets just saying vomiting after a tonsillectomy is not pleasurable. My mom had to take me to the ER just to get the pain under control so my first day was horrible. I now take children’s Motrin and Tylenol to keep the pain under control. I was able to eat jello and pudding and ice cream for the first couple of days. Day 4 I broke down because mac and cheese and mashed potatoes where still too painful to eat. I can now eat mac and cheese and ramen as long as the noodles are over cooked. You basically have to eat when the pain is manageable and stuff your face until the pain becomes to much. Sleep is not your friend. I wake up everyday in the middle of night in horrible pain and really you just need to make sure the water is nice and cold. Ice packs are still my best friend even after 7 days I still use it. Another thing I would advise is to make sure anything you eat does not have acidic anything in it. I made popsicles with a smoothie type of juice and the ingredients said lemon juice but we were hoping it wasn’t a lot but we were wrong.

  17. I’m into day 3 post TS and feel like I did a good job listening and researching. I scheduled it between summer and fall classes and I had my mom fly in to take care of me for 10 days (which was a big help with my step daughter being here half time), since my husband is a 4th year med student he has the know how and helps when he can. I take my pain meds right before or at 4 hours instead of 4-6 hours and pre-stocked my freezer, fridge and pantry with smooth frozen fruits, treats, jello, pudding and items to make protein smoothies to get nutrition in. Lots and lots of ice water (always have a plastic venti Starbucks cup full) and blended ice into snow cone (minus the flavoring) with a spoon and homemade moldable ice packs with rubbing alcohol (for the front and back of my neck) and water in zip locks.
    What hurts just as much if not more sometimes is my tongue!!! Must have been the clamps they used…but it’s ripped up on both sides and really sore in the back…so Popsicles and the blended ice help a lot. Hoping the rest goes this way or better…good luck fellow tonsillectomers!

  18. I’m on day 19 recovery (but I had a second emergency surgery 11 days ago due to bleeding) – anyone have a bad taste in the back of their mouth? I’m not sure if it is still a scab that I’m tasting or post nasal drip but I don’t like it. I also notice that I still have a sore throat, anyone else? I also find that food still gets stuck in the back of my throat/rough areas of skin where the tonsils were removed. Tonsil stones were my main culprit and I feel so much better they are gone now but I’m afraid that food is still getting stuck back there and thus not smelling nice. TIA.

    1. Hi Liz,

      Sorry to hear of your discomfort. I had my surgery 3/2014. To this day, I still have the “food getting stuck” feeling in my throat. My taste buds have not fully returned. I first thought that feeling in my throat was a scab until my ENT confirmed it was not. He diagnosed me with Acid Reflux. Supposedly, that is the feeling I have in the back of my throat. I do not know which is worse……the extra large tonsils or this feeling I now have as a result of my tonsillectomy. Both are uncomfortable. Read up on throat and tonsil issues. That’s what I did and I found an article which actually spoke about many patients after having a tonsillectomy now having acid reflux issues. Good luck 🙂

    2. I feel the same Liz! One of my biggest problems was huge tonsils that I would get food stuck in. Since they were so huge he had to dig deeper into the muscle so now I have HUGE holes in the back of my throat :(. I’m on day 14 so I’m still not eating much since I’m still in pain but I’m worried the food will be getting stuck in the holes back there!! I’m hoping I didn’t just create another problem with this! Tomorrow is my follow up so I will see what he says! Good luck to you!! Let me know if it gets any better!!

  19. Do you know anything about drinking alcohol? Taking into consideration the medicine I’ll be on but also pain wise! Something like vodka sounds deadly on the throat but maybe something less strong? You haven’t an idea on how long scabs take to heal or the stitched/lasered site have you? And sorry (1/2 last questions) do you know if all surgeons can carry out different removal methods or usually stick to one? And which are quicker recovery methods? 🙁 Sorry for 21 questions!

    1. The Dr usually has a specific method that they use. When you go in to talk to your Dr you can ask their method. Or if you don’t see him before your surgery you can call the office and ask. Alcohol is definitely not advised after especially if your on pain meds that’s a HUGE no no!! I promise you the pain meds will be way more important to you then having a drink!! You will be way better off taking your meds and drinking water or maybe a non alcoholic icy drink to make you feel like your not missing out. Good Luck!

  20. My surgery was yesterday. As I remember, they gave me the “sleepy” medicine sometime after 10:30 am and I was back on my way home after 1:00 pm. The first day was ok, pain wise. I took my pain medicine twice that day just to make sure I remained ok. My main issue was having excessive mucus in my throat that I could not swallow away. It made trying to sleep very hard because the mucus kept closing off my airway to breathe. I finally realized I could use a q-tip (without touching anything) to clear out some of it because it went from the top of my throat to tongue. Food-wise, I drank plenty of fluid continuously. I had no problems slowly eating jello and pudding all day. Ice pops helped greatly. 1st day down…Not bad.

      1. Day 2: My throat has began to “lock” making it hard to open my mouth. I now have to take my meds every 4 hours, but that has kept the pain manageable. That morning I was able to eat some eggs for breakfast and even a bowl of cut-up ripe mango. That night those same mangos (even cold) were painful to get down. I continue to drink gatorade and suck on popsicles to stay hydrated. So far, not so bad, but dreading day 3 from all that I have heard.

        1. Day 3: Must schedule meds every 4 hours to keep pain manageable. It takes almost 45 minutes to eat a whole itallian ice cup, but they are the best. I can’t open my mouth much, so now talkin is almost out. I hate to even think about swallowing. There is still lots of mucus in the back of my throat so I haven’t had to worry about the area getting dry. I am able to sleep a couple hours at a time. And still sipping liquids. I try to eat eggs with cheese in the morning once my pain is at a low – although 1 scrambled egg takes me hours to get down – but that is some protein. Overall, day 3 wasn’t as bad for me as some others. I did experience a little ear discomfort for a while. Back of throat is still all black and white.

          1. Day 4: I can see where my pain level could spiral out of control if I dont take my medicine every four to five hours. I tried eating cold watered-down instant grits, but after about 45 minutes, I quit. Jello and italian ice are best, since they can just slide down the throat. Yet, really cold water/gatorade causes pain, so I try sipping room temperature drinks. The very thought of swallowing anything, including saliva, brings about fear. It hurts to try to open my mouth more than about 3 millimeters and talking is out of the question. I still think I am doing better than some tho, but Gosh! Will it ever end??!!

  21. I’ve also been told different methods of removing the tonsils can change the recovery time and pain. Is this true? I know some surgeons just go by their favourite/easiest method but if there’s a way to speed the recovery up I’ll do it! 🙁

  22. I am 18 and will be having my tonsils out in 5 days. This forum has got me so worried about the recovery period! But it has also got me a lot more prepared. I am 100% having to miss out on 3 friends birthdays, A Level results day/night and do I’m hoping if somebody would be able to tell me if I would be able to make recovery within 10 days to attend a festival I’ve so far paid £300+ for 🙁 ! I’m hoping due to me being younger than some others on here that my recovery may be quicker. It’s my last event with friends before I go to University. And if not, rescheduling could be considered, but then it brings me to my first months off uni/Christmas 🙁 Please help! Thank you

    1. Cerys, from what I have learned, with you being younger, you should be ok by day 10 to at least attend the festival. Probably won’t be jumping around and yelling, but just present in person. However, there are always those “worse case scenarios” that could happen, because everyone’s body is different. So, stay positive.

    2. Hi! I’m 29 and even though I have been in pain I have been able to function 100% normally! I have gone to birthday parties, the store, the mall, walks, and kept my house clean. (Husband had to drive with being on the pain meds) Everyone is different but it is definitely possible to function as long as you take care of yourself! You will need to Drink TONS of water/ drinks even if it hurts! That is what I did. You WILL be in pain but If you take your meds as the Dr tells you should be good! Set an alarm overnight every two hours for drinking water and for your pain meds (usually every 4 hours) I found that a spray bottle with water helps when you spray your throat before you drink and it cuts down on the pain a bit! Try to eat for the pain meds so you dont get sick but thats something the drs don’t seem too worried about unless your getting sick from your meds. Good luck with your recovery and I hope you get to do everything you have planned!

      1. Thank you so much you have helped millions! I have never thought to use a forum but this has honestly helped so so much. I guess finally getting my tonsils out is far more important, thank you again!

  23. I am a 24 year old female, I had my tonsils removed on July 23. I had my tonsils removed due to horrid tonsil stones. Let me start off by saying DRINK WATER NO MATTER HOW BAD IT HURTS!!!! Day 1: after procedure you’re so loopy from meds it flys by. I was offered a blue slushing and teddy Graham’s. 8 bags of teddy Graham’s later I am ready to keave!! After surgery I even had McDonald’s I don’t even remember eating it. Throat was numb all day long. I received percocet 5mg. All you will want to do is sleep. Have someone wake you up to drink and take meds!!

    Day 2: pain was still tolerable I started taking the pain medication every 4 hours so the pain doesn’t get out of control. I was eating mash potatoes ( the pre made bob Evans kind was the smoothest), I noticed ice cold water stung my throat so room temperature worked. I was drinking every 20 mins to keep the throat moist. Sleeping was horrible, I ended up sleeping on couch so my head would be propped up. Waking up every 45 mins to sip water, you get no sleep at all. I didn’t want my throat to dry out because it is so painful. I set my alarm every 4 hours so I would take my medicine.

    Day 3,4,5: Worst days ever! Extreme pain 10/10, that pain medicine didn’t help! Ear pain started kicking in. I had ice constantly on my throat to keep swelling down. Scabs were formed in back of throat very thick. Drinking water was a task. Everytime I swallowed felt like razorblades. I had to force myself to eat. Ended up getting a blood clot on my left tonsil on day5 and started bleeding. On call dr told me to drink ice cold water and it helped. Woke up after and blood clot resolved on its own. I was having mini hot flashes all day.

    Day 6: I felt like a new person. Pain was a 6/10. I was eating drinking taking my neds around the clock

    Day 7,8,9: scabs started falling off day 7. It feels like something is caught in back of throat when them fall off. Throat is very sensitive after they fall off that any liquid or food stings the throat. I have bumped my meds down to 1 pill every 4 hours instead of 2 pills. Sleeping longer through the night.

    Day 10 and on: pain has started to be controlled with Motrin. I feel 100% better!! I am starting to eat solid foods. I had PBJ sandwhich and it was easy to go down. I feel back to my normal self. Throat still hurts but just like it would as a sore throat.

    I think keeping myself hydrated non stopped helped with my speedy recovery. I go back to wk in a few days and feel comfortable going back. I still have to drink water so throat doesn’t get dry. My scabs are 75% gone. I’ve had someone with me the whole time and you DO need that. Milk never seemed to cause the phlegm in my throat as others posted. It soothed the burning. I lived off mash potatoes and chick n star soup mix for the first days. Keep taking medication when it’s due so pain stays under control!! Take the full two weeks off dr reccomends because you will need it. I would do this surgery again knowing it is going to cure my tonsil stones and stinky breath! Sorry this blog is all over the place my mind is going crazy! I hope everyone as a good recovery as well as I’ve had!

  24. I am on Day 4 of Post-Op. I am doing very well. I am not having break through pain. I think what has helped is I set my alarm for every 4 hrs to assess any pain level. I take 1 hyrdrocodone (could take 2). In addition, I am constantly hydrating. So far the whole experience hasn’t been the worse. Just resting and waiting to get back to normal.

    1. When the scabs start to fall off you generally have more pain. The best thing you can do is chew gum and drink plenty of fluids. Imagine picking at a dry scab on your arm that hasn’t fully healed. Keeping it moist and hydrated will help it heal and allow the scab to come off in its own time. The gum helps you keep swallowing, moving your mouth, and will relieve ear pain if you get it.

    2. Mine have felt like hard cotton in the back of my throat when I swallow. I have been Gently gargling warm salt water and I feel like it gets out the loose scabs and make me feel SO much better! 🙂

  25. Hi, I am lyric

    I am a 19 year old in the navy. I am going to get my tonsils out due to them being 4+ in size sleep apnea trouble brething during our maditory exersice, you know the normal. the problem is I am terrfifed of the pain I mean I am by myslef I am sure my shipmates will help me out some. but i would like suggestions on what you guys think is the best plan for my recovery. I keep backing out on the surgery due to my fear but it is something I need to do for my job and well being I guess.

    1. If you are reluctant to have the surgery, then maybe consider calling your ENT and ask about laser tonsillectomies and whether that is an option for you. I know it doesn’t usually remove the tonsil but makes them smaller and has a quicker recovery time.

    2. Hey Lyric,

      I got my tonsils taken out in 2012 and it was a really tough experience. But, I haven’t regretted it for even one day. My life is so much better without those gigantic tonsils causing mischief and pain at the back of my throat.

      Being prepared is absolutely key to a better experience.

      Follow the instructions Greg has documented, because they help a lot!

      Consider buying Ensure Protein , I had a lot of trouble getting down enough calories during my recovery, in fact I lost 10lbs. Keep a good record of your medication, don’t panic when the pain gets bad, use this website and blog as a support system, don’t forget to stock up on fluids and gum (you will absolutely need it), and having a humidifier will save your life! I didn’t have a humidifier but used a cheap hot pot to keep moisture in the air and it totally worked.

      It isn’t a fun experience, but the results are totally worth it and reading through this website will help you be prepared for the experience. You can do it!

      Good luck and thank you for your service to our country!

  26. Hi Ashley,

    Im on day 8/7 (First surgery of the day at 5 am so I count the day of). Days 3, 6-12 tend to be the worst. For me day 3 was excruciating and day four was not much better. Day 5 was a lot better but the pain was still there so. THE FOOD THING THOUGH!! You need to find a way of eating something, I can only eat quarter teaspoonfuls of applesauce a minute. Your pain medications are most likely narcos (Hydrocodone-Acetaminophen, etc) these can cause nausea, bloody diarrhea and urine if you do not stay hydrated and have something in your stomach. Eating also helps give you energy to stay awake more. Best of luck on your recovery.

    1. Hi David! Sorry just saw this!! Thanks for your tips! Eating has been really tough! I still can’t get much in and I’m on day 13! It has been taking a half hour for mashed potatoes mixed with a scramble egg ( 1/2 cup of food) ..(I know weird combo but actually yummy and I wanted to get protein in) Pain still gets bad at night (9) but Pain meds are definitely helping! Are you able to eat yet? I’m hoping to eat at some point! I never know you could continue to function with such a little amount of food! Lol!

  27. Hi Ashley,

    Sounds like you’re coming along ok. I did not eat food for two weeks. I ate Popsicles and drank Gatorade. Hang in there! Feel better!

    1. Thanks Kitty! I have been drinking a ton of water and coconut water. Food is hard but I’m trying to get something in. Its usually mashed potatoes and takes about a half hour for a half a cup haha! Oh well 🙂 Fingers crossed it keeps going well!

  28. So today is day 9 since my surgery, including the operation day. I am 20 yrs old and always had swollen tonsils, in fact I’ve never seen them not swollen. I felt alright the first couple days, then by day 4 – day 7 I was so miserable. The worst part was the tounge/ear pain for me. No matter how much medicine I took or what I did, I had constant pain that never went away. Those days, I could only choke down a jello and broth. Yesterday things started getting better. I was able to eat a couple pieces of zucchini and some mashed potatoes. Today I have no pain hardly unless I’m eating. Then, I can feel it’s a little irritated in my throat and my ears hurt, but not the same excruciating pain I had earlier this week. Ever since day one I drink 2000ml of fluids a day, so I never got sick or had bleeding. Throat is slightly itchy too, must mean it’s healing. Hope by next week I’m almost back to normal.

    1. I’m at a similar stage as you. Today is day 6 since my surgery, including operation day and I’m 19 years old. What day did your throat pain seem to decrease?

  29. Today I went for my 2 week follow up. My pain has decreased a lot but I’m still having trouble eating normally, talking a lot makes it hurt as well and I can’t move my tongue normally yet. (Side to side and sticking my tongue out etc. ) because it’s still quite painful. The doctor said that my pathology report came back with very rate findings. He stated that mine is the first he’s had this year. There is no cancer thank God but there are cystic crypts. The way he explained it is that my tonsils were do swollen and full of scar tissue and infection that they extended into the muscle so there was some cutting into it hence the additional pain and healing time. It really isnmiserable. I thought I’d be healed by now 🙁 He prescribed “Miracle Mouthwash” that is used for cancer patients and numbs the mouth and throat so that talking and eating will be a lot less painful.

    Anyone else ever deal with this?


    1. I’m sorry I can’t be help since I just got mine out today but I also had scar tissue and he had to cut deeper also. They didn’t tell me any extra healing tips but said I have a higher chance for bleeding since more of the blood vessels were cut. Did you have any bleeding after? I’m happy your cancer free! If I hear of any tips I will be sure to share them with you! I hope you feel better!

  30. Hi Greg,

    This site is fantastic! Thank you for creating it! I do have a question: My tonsils were removed 3/13/14 at 51 years of age. My healing time was two weeks as normal. I have two concerns:
    1) My throat seems to feel as though something is stuck there all the time. It feels really dry.
    2) It appears that my hearing is still not back to normal. They still ring a lot.

    Did you experience this or has anyone else experienced this?

    1. Hi Mary, I’m 45 & I had my tonsils out 4/22/14. I have similar symptoms. The dryness of the throat I have been using Biotin spray. The hearing problem with the ringing, I’m going back to the doctor next week. It just throws my equilibrium off. Thank you Mary, take care!

    2. Hi Mary, and thank you. It actually takes about six months for the tissues in the throat are to firm up and get back to normal. I remember experiencing the same feeling you describe. As for the ear ringing, I’m not sure. I know the ears, nose, and throat are all sort of connected. You might want to run that by your doctor. Best of luck to you!

  31. I’m getting my toncils out on Friday July 25th 2014! I am 29 and am so thankful for this site! I am trying to get as prepared as possible and stay positive for my recovery! I will be sure to write back and give any tips I have and let the people who are planning surgery how recovery goes! Here goes nothing!

      1. I hope your recovery is going smooth Fancy!! Cold liquids and popsicles are going to be my best friend for the next few weeks!! 🙂

    1. Hi Ashley,

      Good luck with your surgery! I had mine removed March 13th 2014. I am 51 years old. The recovery was not too bad. What helped me was Gatorade and popsicles! I got the Gatorade from the Dollar Tree and popsicles from Target. After two weeks, I started feeling better. The great thing was that because I could not eat, I lost one pound per day for two weeks! That was awesome! My only concern now is I still have a funny feeling in the my throat. I went to my ENT and he thinks it may be acid reflux. I have never had that before and it did not appear until after the tonsillectomy. It may be part of the healing. It just feels like something is caught in my throat. Four months later and my taste buds are still off. I can taste salted things but the sweet things do not taste very sweet. I guess it will take time. The older you are, the longer the healing time….so I’m told, lol! Anyway, hope this helps you! Take care and hang in there!

      1. Thanks for the response and well wishes Mary!! So far so good! That definitely stinks that your taste is off!! Hopefully it will come back soon!! Thats great that your recovery went smooth! I’m excited for the two weeks to be over but I know this will be well worth it after recovery!

    2. Today was the big day! Everything went off without any problems! I went in for 8:50am and l was able to leave by 12:45. So far with all the drugs they have given me I have had ZERO pain!! I have been drinking like its my job (water, coconut water, sports drinks, ice chips and I even ate a soft banana) I know this no pain thing isn’t going to last so I’m trying to prepare myself for the change. I set my alarm for every 4 hours when I’m due for my next round to stay ahead of the pain. I took a half hour nap and did notice that the short nap left my throat a little dry. I will definitely be back tomorrow with my next update! 🙂

      1. Today is the day after surgery. I’m doing great so far! The pain has been kept at a 4 or below until a half hour or so before pain med time and it goes up to a 5. Last night I made sure I woke up every few hours to drink something and for my pain meds because they said its hard to get the pain down if you wait too long. I read a great tip to use a spray bottle with water to wet your throat since it gets pretty dry after a few hours of sleep. It definitely helped to make it feel better before drinking something. I also bought a humidifier for our room to help with the dry air at night. I have been able to eat mashed potatoes and some baby food haha. Well hopefully tonight goes well and I’ll update again tomorrow! Oh and DRINK DRINK DRINK!!! 😉

        1. Day 3 of recovery! Today was definitely a bit harder pain wise but still only got up to a 6. I used a cold pack and a hot pack today and it seemed to help. I try to have a drink of water and ice in my hands at all times! I made a chart to keep track of my pain scale, pain meds, and fluid intake to be sure I’m doing everything possible to heal fast. Food is pretty impossible but I tried Mac and cheese and it took me about 40 minutes to eat about a half a cup! I think I’ll be sticking to baby food for a while now! I have also found my ears have been bugging me a little. A strange thing that also started is sometimes the drinks have been going up my nose if I take a big sip so now I know to slow down! Just remember to keep drinking and stay positive! I know that’s helping me!!

          1. Today is day 4 (including surgery day) and it is getting rough! The ear and tongue pain is at about an 8 and the swallow pain is right there too. I also have been itchy with the pain meds so its been a fun few days. I’m staying positive and drinking as much water as possible through the pain! Food on the other hand is not really happening which is okay as long as the fluids are going in. Last night was tough and the two times I had to wake for pain meds I felt light headed and not well. I have been falling asleep randomly on and off all day today too. Hopefully tomorrow is better but honestly its still not as bad as I thought it was going to be so far! 🙂 I’ll be back tomorrow for day 5!

          2. Day Five..same thing different day. Drinking lots of fluids and staying on the pain med schedule. I dared to test my pain level and cut my pain med on half (1tsp vs 2tsp) at my noon dose and oh boy was that a bad decision!! By 2:30 I was in SO much pain!! (8+) It was in my throat and ears so I couldn’t seem to distract myself enough to help! Needless to say I’m back on 2tsp and back at a 4 pain level which is doable! The scabs are definitely growing and I’m really curious to when they will fall off! That will be a happy day as long as everything is healed nicely. Today was filled with pain so I hope tomorrow is better!!

          3. Today was day 6! Today was pretty similar to yesterday. Drank a ton ate a tiny bit and tried to heal! As of this am I’m down 8lbs! The pain has been getting worse about a half hour to an hour before meds are due. It goes from a 4 to a 7 fast! I’m guessing the scabs will fall off within the next few days but I realized I never learned what happens when they come off. Do you swallow them, spit them out, or even notice it has happened? That’s something I will definitely let you all know! (I’m sure either way it won’t be pretty 😉 ) I have also been getting in a 20 minute walk everyday to keep myself from going crazy! I think if you feel well enough ((This is My opinion. Obviously ask your Dr for medical advice)) you should get out for a little each day even if its to sit outside. It has helped with my mental health for sure! Well on to day 7!!

          4. Day 7…. All I can say it OUCH!!!!! It has been a day of water and pain. The pain is keeping high even with the meds. Its mostly in my ears at this point. I was able to eat a few bites of mashed potatoes and egg but not much. After trying to eat I did a salt water gargle and found that little bits of my scab came out.. Now I’m in LOTS of pain and still have an hour until meds 🙁 I can’t wait for this to be over because The pain is starting to make me feel crazy!! I still have 10 days that I can just focus on getting better so let’s see what Tomorrow brings! (One week from surgery date) Good luck to you who are about to take this journey!!!

          5. My surgery was a week ago today! This first week was challenging but I can see a light at the end of the tunnel! My biggest tip would be the water! Drink as much as you can! I always have a cup of water in my hand and I record it on a chart I made. That’s my 2nd tip! Make a pain med and water chart and I also suggest a pain chart. I made that one just in case I needed stronger or different meds. I wanted to be able to show the Dr my different levels. Next tip is set an alarm for night meds and drinks. You will get a dry throat over the night but it will help to wake up every two hours or so (you will need to do at least every 4 for pain meds) for some water. I found a spray bottle has been awesome to use before you take your first sip! Next tip is now that my scabs are starting to come out (nasty right!?) I found gently gargling warm salt water makes it feel better and helps get out the loose scabs. The pain is getting worse as the time goes on but I know it will be worth it! One week down and one more to go!

          6. Today is day 13. (Surgery July 25th 14) It has been a really great recovery compared to may I have heard about. I still have pain and it definitely gets bad at times (up to a 9) BUT the meds help to bring it back down to a 4or 5. The biggest difference about my recovery that is completely different is I have been able to function 100% normal even if in pain. I originally thought I would be stuck in bed for a good part of it and I only spent one morning in bed and it was just because I wanted to and not because I “had to”. I did follow the drs orders and I have still not worked out and picked up anything over 25lbs but have gone on little walks and have gone out and about. One thing I can say that isn’t going well is eating. I’m still unable to eat much. I lost 11lbs so far and with the pain I’m wondering at what point I will be ready to eat! I have my follow up with the Dr on Friday so hopefully He can give me a better idea about that. The biggest tip still would be DRINK DRINK DRINK!! Also the alarm for your pain meds is a huge help at night although by the time you can take it you will definitely know it! OUCH! Good luck to those with upcoming surgery! I’ll write back after my Dr appointment!

          7. I went to the Dr yesterday ( 2 weeks from surgery) and he said everything looked great! He said the huge holes in the place of toncils will go back to normal which I was worried about. All of my scabs are gone but I’m still in a little pain when I swallow (3). I still can’t open my jaw all the way and when I yawn it is no fun! I’m just starting to be able to eat and I only need pain meds when I wake up and before bed. I can tell thankfully I’m close to the end!! Fingers crossed!! 🙂

      1. Thanks Greg! Your blog site was amazing and helped me get me ready as much as anyone can be! I feel I will have a great recovery since I was able to prepare so well! 🙂 I’m excited to add my tips, tricks and experience with people on their future journey. 🙂

  32. I am on day six of my recovery and there seems to be very little ease in my level of pain. I am taking plenty of pain medication but thought they would be helping more. I also didn’t anticipate the pain to last this long so I’m just wondering how long, on average, does it take to start returning to normal? Aswell as this I have started having very bad ear aches in the last two there anything you can recommend for this? Thanks!!

    1. Hi Rachel,

      It took me at least two weeks before I started feeling better. It is taken FOREVER for my taste buds to come back! Yes, my ears bothered me also. You kind of have to give into the discomfort and take the pain meds around the clock. Even though you’ll be drowsy, they help.
      Hang in there and feel better :-)!

  33. I’m not sure about 1 tramadol for this pain. I take tramadol for joint pain so I have a tolerance for it. I took liquid Norco and I had to take it every 4 hours on the dot just to tolerate the pain! I think you should ask for a liquid pain reliever because it’s hard to swallow. Be honest with him about your history and concerns. Good luck!

  34. I am 20 years old and got my tonsils removed on 7/10. I have had a really hard time eating anything. The first few days I was in pain but managed to get some mashed potatoes and over cooked Mac n cheese down. At around day 5 I started to just drink and not eat. Literally all the normal foods hurt. Apple sauce burns, really anything with fruit, and everything else gets stuck. Ice chips are the only thing that really feels good. Today is day 6 and I haven’t pooped…I know, tmi, but I’m guessing this is from the hydra codeine. Any tips? This website is great!

  35. This will probably be my last post, since I am done with recovery. I have to say that yes the pain was bad and not eating was frustrating but I did get through it, even though at the time you don’t think you will. I am totally healed up. My only issue still is I can’t sneeze, its still too painful. I had the best doctor who took such good care of me. This website has been very helpful and I can’t thank this creator enough. I am glad I had the surgery, but back on days 6-13 I would have said I wish I hadn’t gotten it done. I no longer snore and breathing and swallowing is so much easier. I feel 100% better. I just have one question, am I going to get colds easier now that my tonsils and adenoids are gone? I read that they are there to help keep you from getting sick so it makes me think that now I will get colds more often. I probably should have asked my doctor at the post-op but I forgot and I was so happy to hear that I didn’t need to come back unless I had issues. I could ask him next week as my 5-year old niece has been referred to him for her throat issues. She has been having bouts of strep and swelling of the tonsils due to bad allergies. I’m not convinced she will need to have her tonsils removed, but I do believe she does need her adenoids removed to help with her bad snoring. We will see what the doctor says in a week. Thanks again for this helpful site! I am so happy I had this and did have the surgery!

    1. Christi- thank you so much for this post! I wish you all the best of health and happiness. If/when you feel up to it, stop back. Newbies can always use a little help from a veteran. Take care!

  36. I am on day six of recovery. I am 36. The pain hasn’t been as bad as I anticipated. I went to work for a half day yesterday and plan to go for about six hours today. I see several comments about the uvula swelling and being a nuisance. My ENT actually recommended removing mine which I did. This area seems to be the source of my swallowing pain at this point. Has anyone else had their uvula removed?


  37. I’m 44 and had my tonsils (and adenoids) removed on 7/8/2014. Today is day 5 of recovery. The pain sucks but is not the worst pain I’ve felt, it’s more frustrating because it keeps me from doing normal things like swallowing without wincing and eating and drinking normally. I keep a bottle of tepid water by me, a cup of crushed ice, a cup of juice and a cup filled with slushie. I am determined to stay hydrated! I woke up this morning having wicked dreams and “forgot” I’d had the surgery so tried to cough up and clear out whatever was scratching my throat. Bad idea! 🙁
    I also have sleep apnea and the pain meds slow the respiratory system so sleep is in small intermittent spells. I’ve been sleeping on my couch. I need to get a humidifier to see if that helps at all.

    My biggest concern right now is the amount of swelling and white “stuff” (for lack of a better term whIle on pain meds) in the back of my throat. I don’t see a whole lot of redness but imagined the swelling would have gone down some by now. Doctor says no anti-inflammatory meds because of bleeding risks.

    Should I be concerned about the amount of swelling or is this normal?

    Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi Maria. It sounds like you are doing things right! Yes the swelling is common. Icing can help.
      Best of luck in your recovery.

      1. Thanks Greg! Today has been tough but I looked through more of your site – a God send byw, and it seems my progress is right on track. Thank you for creating this site! Truly!

  38. Hi, I’m 22 and had my tonsils removed yesterday, I felt fine and managed food and speaking after surgery, just felt very tired and dizzy from the anaesthetic, waking this morning was hard as I was in quite a lot of discomfort and pain as my mouth felt very dry and I was very groggy! However I have managed to eat, I am on ibruprofen suspension which is a lot easier than tablets and cocodamol soluble tablets… I have found food like noodles easier to eat and I have been using difflam spray and soothers (hard boiled sweets) to keep pain at bay while waiting for next pain relief… dreading day five after what I’ve heard 🙁

  39. I had my tonsillectomy on 8 July 2014 so this is day 5 of my recovery. I was hoping that by now I would be feeling better but I do not yet. After reading many of the comments here though I feel my recovery is normal. So far I do not eat much because the salt burns (including ice cream). I am also getting sick of sweet stuff like puddings and pop cycles. I am still constipated and have bad ear pain in addition to the throat pain. Fortunately I have been drinking a lot of cold water so I am well hydrated. I can’t wait to eat a steak. By the way, hiccups suck.

  40. I just had my tonsils removed on 7/7 and recovery so far seems long and painful. I have learned that it is easiest to eat and drink liquids right after I take my medicine and chloraseptic spray. The colder my drinks/food are… the better, so I’ve been living off of ice water, frozen jello cups, italian ice, sorbet, tapioca, and cold applesauce. Using ice packs on my neck defiantly relieves some pain, and chewing at least one stick of gum each day (although painful at first) has been making my jaw feel less sore because sometimes I feel like I can barely open my mouth to let food in. Today I feel like I was able to take a step forward because I was able to eat cold crushed watermelon. The hardest part would be getting through the pain at night and I’m hoping that starts to get better over the next couple of days.

  41. I am three weeks out from my tonsillectomy and wanted to post a summary. I also wanted to thank Greg for making this website – as others have said, it has so many great tips and provides so much more practical information than you get from your doctor or standard medical websites. Sorry for the long post but wanted to capture it all at once.

    So here goes:

    The Background. As a child, I got strep throat and ear infections all the time, but I grew up in the 1970s, when it was out of fashion to put in tubes and take out tonsils. I continued to get ear infections until I was in my mid-20s, and I continued to get both strep and viral tonsillitis all through college and into my 20s. In retrospect, I clearly should have had my tonsils and adenoids removed and tubes put in my ears; instead, I had a zillion rounds of antibiotics. I started to get tonsil stones in my 30s, and I’d still get tonsillitis regularly. One tonsil was especially large. The tonsil stones weren’t enough to make me consider a tonsillectomy. But this past year, I got strep three times in six months, and that’s what finally did it. The third time came just three weeks after the second time. I happened to be on my first day of vacation and tried to ride it out – took a ton of Advil and Tylenol, but didn’t go to the doctor. After I came back from vacation, everything got worse, and I was miserable. I went to an ENT this time, and she diagnosed strep plus a peritonsillar abscess, and I had to go on clindamycin, which is a harder-core, broad-spectrum antibiotic that can give you c.diff. She also said the tonsils needed to come out, so I scheduled surgery six weeks out from then to give me time to get well. Other than the random strep attacks, I was a very healthy, fit 42-year-old.

    Pre-Surgery. I got a cold about 10 days before surgery and was worried I’d have to cancel. I’m passing this along in case it happens to you. At my pre-op appointments, the surgeon and anesthesiologist both said it should be OK – they said they’d advise you to cancel surgery if you were really ill or if you were just in the “coming down with something” phase since they’d worry that they weren’t sure how sick you’d get. Since I was in the “picking up the pieces” stage by the time surgery rolled around, they thought it would be fine, and it was.

    The Surgery. I had a coblation tonsillectomy, which you may have read about. It uses ionized saline to detach the tonsils, and my ENT feels it’s a less brutal method – no burning of surrounding tissue, etc. The recovery wasn’t easy, but it was perhaps easier than electrocautery. I had a 7:30am surgery scheduled and arrived at the surgery center at about 6:30am. By about 7am, I was in the holding area of the OR with an IV, giving my medical history and listening to the woman next to me (who was in for knee surgery) joke about how much easier that would be than a tonsillectomy. By 7:25, I was on the OR table, getting Versed through the IV to calm me down, then propofol to knock me out. By 8:30, I was waking up in the recovery area. They had added Tylenol to the IV. My throat hurt, but I felt OK overall, and was able to leave by about 10.

    The Meds. My doctor prohibited ibuprofen and steroids because of risk of bleeding, and boy, did I wish I had them (ibuprofen is magical to me). She instructed me to use Tylenol and oxycodone, and I also got Zofran and phenergan because of past issues with nausea. I ended up taking the oxycodone for four or five days before I could no longer deal with the nausea and the constipation from the zofran to help with the nausea. Zofran constipation is BAD, people – like nothing you’ve ever experienced. I took it while I was pregnant but had forgotten just how much it grinds everything to a halt. My doctor had mentioned that people sometimes have a bleed in their tonsil area from straining too hard from a BM, so I was freaked out about that as well. So starting on day 4 or 5, it was only Tylenol for me. It was a fair trade.

    The Summary. I didn’t leave my house for a week and was in bed a LOT of the time, but then my energy came back, and then my throat gradually improved. This was the most unpleasant recovery from anything I’ve ever had. I got lucky and never had ear pain, though, so I would still consider some other things to have been more painful, at least in an acute sense, like a tailbone injury, a herniated disc in my back, and endometriosis. This was worse in that it’s a constant pain for a long time – to me, it felt like untreated strep throat combined with other nasty bonus items. Other things I got lucky on: no bleeding, no changes to taste, and no scabs ending up in my mouth.

    The Best Tips. I highly recommend the Honeywell humidifier and the Hamilton Beach ice shaver in Greg’s Amazon store. The humidifier is very good (be warned, though: it’s a large item), and the ice shaver is fabulous. I had so much shaved ice. One tip: add Gatorade or Honest Tea as the liquid in the machine – mild and refreshing. I also really appreciated the guidance that you should just forget about normal sleep timing – wake up regularly, drink, and don’t stress about it. You’re not using your brain this week anyway. I also wish I’d heeded the advice that you will get sick of the sweet stuff – by day 5 or so, I was so tired of popsicles and pudding.

    The Arrangements. My husband was between jobs, so he was around but was taking care of the kids, so I had my parents come in as well. That helped. So did Google Shopping Express. Have a plan for what’s going to happen if you have to go to the ER in the middle of the night. My insomniac neighbor offered to take me, so that was our plan.

    The Early Days. As I read from others, the first couple of days are not great but not really that bad, either. Knowing this, I tried to get some more substantial food down – mashed potatoes, etc. Somehow, I read accounts that your uvula gets swollen without really realizing that this means YOUR UVULA IS GOING TO TRY TO KILL YOU the first few days. You can’t lie on your back because your uvula will completely block your airway, and you will shoot up awake in a total panic. It hurt to talk. I watched a lot of the World Cup. Day 1 is OK. Day 2, everything swells up and the scabs form. They’re disgusting.

    Days 3-6. These days were not great. I had a hard time getting down the 64 oz of water/Gatorade that my doctor recommended. Didn’t eat much. Mouth tasted unbelievably disgusting – sour, goopy, YUCK. I brushed my teeth and tongue often. Continued watching the World Cup. I didn’t even have enough mental energy to watch, like, a Netflix series. As I mentioned, I was having a hard time with the constipation and nausea and went off the oxycodone so that I could poop. It was worth it. I made a couple of mistakes in this phase by trying to eat something rougher than I should have for dinner and then had pain all night long.

    Day 7-10. Day 7 is when I started feeling a little better each day, even if some individual thing would get worse. I started having more throat pain in the mornings – kind of that strep throat feeling. But by day 8, I was eager to leave the house and finally did. My ENT had strictly prohibited exercise, but I eased back into walks and errands. By day 11 or so, I was ready to go back to work, even though it meant I would miss my first World Cup game. My voice tired out easily and my throat still hurt quite a bit, but I was just ready to be back doing stuff and felt good otherwise. One good food tip: overbake a potato and eat it with sour cream or cottage cheese or hummus. It feels like real food. Don’t eat the peel.

    Day 11-22. The scabs have slowly disintegrated. I could eat anything (nuts, chips, etc) by day 15 or so. I had my post-op appointment today, and the ENT said I look 90% healed. She said there’s no risk of bleeding at this point. She told me each tonsil had had 8-9 tonsil stones in it, and each was inflamed, but the pathology report was fine (ie, no cancer or anything). She said 8-9 stones was a much higher count than usual when she does the surgery. The only issues I still have are some numbness on the side of my tongue, which she thought would gradually go away, and some weirdness with swallowing (if I drink too fast, liquid goes up my nose, and I can’t quite swallow things like salad without chasing it with a drink), which she said would go away as my throat builds up muscle tone without the tonsils there.

    I’m hoping not to get sick as much this coming year, obviously, but I’m already so happy not to have the tonsil stones! Big immediate bonus. No smelly breath, no feeling of huge bloated tonsils in my throat. I’m so grateful to this site, to Greg, and to everyone here for posting – together, we are definitely stronger. Good luck, everyone!

    1. Sarah this is a WONDERFUL summary! Thank you so much for taking the time to post it. Your experience sounds similar to mine in many ways.

      I wonder: would you mind if I copied your post and created a permanent page for future readers? I and others would greatly appreciate it.

      Hope you continue to feel better every day. (Wow at that rate imagine how good you’d feel a year from now! Ha ha)

      Take care. 🙂

    2. Greg, definitely feel free to use anything that you think would be helpful. I wanted to add a couple of key things — one, I chewed a LOT of Dentyne Ice, and I think it really helped. Two, about 5 days in, I figured out that I could freeze bottles of water each day and then take them out before bedtime. I’d drink from those overnight – they stayed cold because they were gradually thawing. This was better than having lukewarm water by the bed in terms of helping with the pain. Thanks again for the great site and advice!!

  42. Hello! Yesterday was my eight day after I had my tonsillectomy. My throat was really hurting, but I drank 6 glasses of water throughout the morning and into the afternoon. Later in the afternoon, while I was leaning over something slightly, I felt a trickle of liquid push up my throat and almost into my nose. I quickly stood up, and the trickling continued down my throat. I felt like I constantly had to swallow. Looking in the mirror with a flashlight shining into my mouth, I noticed that the white patches in my throat had turned dark red, and the red was almost dripping as it fell down my throat. I supposed it was my scab bleeding and falling off. The dripping continued for about thirty minutes. I gargled with ice water and then spit out onto a plate in the sink. My saliva was normal colored, but at the end of each spit was a little glob of blood. I did this at least a dozen times. After gargling, the dripping was almost nonexistent, but my throat still felt strange. About a half hour later, my throat once again had white scabs, like nothing had ever happened. Has anyone else had a similar experience?

  43. Just had mine removed on 7/8. I’ve only been able to stomach a few ice chips and max 2 Popsicles a day. I tried chicken broth but the belching and pain isn’t worth it. I’m constantly nauseated but I’m finally able to whisper a little. Thanks for the information I’ve given up on the notion of sleep and nod off whenever possible… like now! Lol 🙂

  44. I wanted to start out by saying, thank you so much for starting this site. I got my tonsils removed last Tuesday, July 1st. I heard a lot of horror stories and thank god I have yet to experience any post-surgery bleeding. However, I have already lost ten lbs, as eating is extremely difficult. The usual food choices that people recommended burned the heck out of me. Popsicles, pudding, yogurt, everything burned. The only two things I can really eat is eggs and applesauce. I was wondering how long it took you to recover? I am assuming it’s Going to take me the entire 14 days at this point, if not longer. I am not really finding a difference using the cool air humidifier. I am drinking water constantly and it never seems to be enough! I hope this will all be worth it.

    1. Hi De Anna! Glad that you’ve found the site helpful. 14 days seems a reasonable recovery time estimate. I went back to work after 11 but wasn’t really much good there. It was hard to talk and I still felt very tired.
      Best of luck to you.

  45. I just wanted to post how helpful this website has been. Thank you for all of the advice.

    I am 37 and had my tonsils taken out 9 days ago. They were the big kind that all doctors offices would say – wow, look at these things! I was supposed to have them out 32 years ago…but, my mom cancelled due to lame advice from my allergist.

    I’ve been lucky and went off pain meds after the 2nd day post surgery. I made sure to drink lost of Gatorade, Flavor Ice, and Ensure, along with a multi-vitamin. I slept with a warm humidifier and woke up every 45 minutes at night for the first night post surgery to drink water.

    The scabs hurt a bit because one side had more removed than the other. Mornings were usually the roughest because my throat was sorta dry from sleeping.

    Most of my scabs are gone after 9 days. I’ll take it easy eating this week, but it looks like things went OK.

    Best wishes to everyone.

  46. Hi! I’m 18 years old and am on day 15 after my tonsillectomy. It has honestly been the worst experience of my life. I have been struggling with strep and tonsillitis all my life and decided since it’s summer I should get them removed before heading off to college. Of course the days after surgery were tough but they were definitely doable with pain medication. At day 8 I went to the hospital after spitting up a significant amount of blood. I sat in the emergency room for a few hours until the bleeding stopped on it’s own and then was sent home. Once again I began spitting up blood Saturday night but I gargled some ice water and went to bed trusting that it was just another small bleed. I woke up around 6 am throwing up large amounts of blood and was rushed to the hospital. Because of the vomiting I ripped open the scabs and lost a lot of blood. I had to get a second tonsillectomy and get my stomach pumped. The procedures they wanted to do to attempt to stop the bleeding before going in the operating room were close to unbearable. I’m now starting recovery all over again. I hope it was worth it. I haven’t had a solid meal in so long and am beginning to become very weak.

    1. Oh my goodness Emma! You poor thing! I’m only on day 3 of recovery, had my tonsillectomy on Thursday. I’m in the UK. I’m really struggling with the pain – I’ve been given tablets – and with not being able to swallow. I really hope you start to feel better soon. What a huge ordeal for you ((((hugs))))

  47. Did anyone ever get thrush in your mouth… Or on the back of your tongue? My daughter is 31 and is having a rough time here on day 9 …she is really not eating… And she’s very thin any way… Any thoughts? Her mother…

    1. I tried yogurt with probiotics and it brought my pain down by about 75%. The yogurt must say “Live probiotics” or “Active pro biopics” look for this in the label Lactobacillus Acidophilus. I did the yogurt because i was taking antibiotics so any probiotic in pill form would have been useless i think .

      All i did was get about half a cup go yogurt and grab a spoon full and leave it in my mouth. It would take me about half an hour to eat half a cup but it worked for me. I also washed with Organic Apple cider vinegar unfiltered as that too has active probiotics that help fight the yeast growing in the mouth. That thrush is a yeast infection (Candida). Hope this helps.

  48. I’m 39 and now scared to go see the ENT. I have been fighting strep throat for over a week and am starting my third antibiotic class. My tonsils are so swollen my primary care physician has no clue how I’m able to breathe or swallow. She told me there is an 80% chance my tonsils are coming out. I have crevices on my tonsils and my Uvula is on one side and not close to the middle. Is getting them removed a good idea?

    1. Hi Debbie, sorry you’re having such a rough time. ugh! Whether getting those nasty things out is a good idea or not is hard for me to say. I’d trust the opinion of my ENT. You could get a second opinion if you’re not convinced. I used to have strep a few times a year, and every time I’d get a cold or other virus, I’d always end up with tonsillitis. These days, without tonsils, I hardly ever get sick. I also don’t snore like I used to. For me, it was a great decision.

      I wish you the very best,

  49. Today is day one. I feel awful, I woke up with fat lips, bruised inside of mouth, cuts and scratches etc on my upper lip and chin and it looks like I bit my tongue. I’m 42 and well I’ve had 4 children and would have a 5th over this any day. I usually have huge pain tolerance but I’m not tolerating this at all. I cant sleep because I cant breath and I’m constantly sucking ice. I cant people how all the people I know think its a piece of cake.. ITS NOT! On the bright side, reading all the other peoples posts are definitely helping make me feel sane. Its 1:12 am and I’m hoping to get an hour or two of sleep. Holy cow… Someone please invent laser surgery for this, or something where others dont have to suffer.

    1. I hope you begin to feel better soon. I can’t offer any advice as I’m only having my op on Thursday……. starting to get worried now! Wishing you a speedy recovery xxx

      1. Thank you Kathryn. I cant say I feel any better but I am trying everything possible. I wish you luck and a speedy recovery. No pain no gain right?

        1. Laurel, I am also 42 and had my tonsillectomy on June 20. There were some days there in the middle that were rather rough, but starting around day 7/8 I began to feel progress each day. I’m now on day 13, and while my throat is still sore, I feel as if I am otherwise totally back to normal. I returned to work yesterday. I still have scabs where my tonsils used to be, so I assume that’s why I still have throat pain, but it’s very tolerable – I am taking Tylenol twice a day and occasionally sucking on a lozenge, but that’s it. You can do it – just do what you need to do to get through each day and don’t worry about the next one (though I did like to “read ahead” on this site each day and see what the next day might have in store so that I wasn’t surprised). Good luck!!!

          1. Thank you Sarah. I ended up in emergency at about 230 am.. I could barely breath and couldn’t swallow. Thank his i went in, there was an amazing young doc that hooked me up on IV and gave me a steroid to stop the swelling, morphine and anti nausea meds. I Feel so much better, they saidy airways were restricted from the swelling. It definitely has helped with everyone’s posts. Thanks to Greg for this site as well. Sounds like you are well on your way to recovery Sarah.. I know I’m only day 3 but each day counts.

        2. Hi Laurel. I am just curious how things went for you after the hospital visit and days 3-10? I am on day 3 now and have been fairly ok as long as I stay on my meds. I hope things got better for you.

  50. I had surgery a month ago today. I think all the scabs have fallen off, but I am experiencing a terrible taste in my mouth. Have any of you had the same issue? What can I do to get rid of it?

  51. I cut my pain med cold Turkey and the side effect was constint yawning. That aside from the grueling regular post op pain I had to deal with the yawning pain another week or so

  52. I am a 71-year-old female, on day 13 postop, and this is the worst surgery I’ve ever had. Pain has been wretched, and couldn’t drink fluids at all – am sill having difficulty with fluids…..stayed in hosp. for 3 days after surgery and had IVs, which prolly saved my life – am still on pain meds and cannot talk very long cos makes my throat hurt. Take your pain meds on time to keep pain under control as much as possible. Absolutely sleep in a recliner 2-3 hours at a time and then take pain meds so you keep it managed and as pain free as possible. Divert your mind with TV or reading or whatever cam pursuit you can think of to keep from thinking about the pain. Do keep your pain managed and don’t think to put off taking pain meds, you’ll just regret it when you’re hurting. SUGGESTION: Ask your anesthesiologist to use the smallest intubation tube possible so as not to stretch out your vocal cords. That will help reduce throat swelling and pain. Start talking as soon as you can – I started talking right out of recovery (and the sound got really BAD) and today my voice sounds just like it did before surgery. Can’t sing yet – but that’ll come as my throat recovers and my voice grows stronger -right now it’s weak and soft. But I have a voice! Good luck to you and take all steps for your comfort and have somebody stay with you as you recover, at least until you can get around by yourself.

  53. My 16 yr old daughter had her tonsils and adenoids removed 2 days ago. She was on roxicet but vomited 4 times in 24 hours. The on call doctor has switched her to rotating acetaminophen and ibuprophen which does not seem very effective on pain. However my question is about her increasing coughing. I have not seen much about that and I am wondering if she has a cold as well. Has anyone had coughing as part of their experience?

    1. Hi Jules- there are anti nausea med’s that might make the pain meds more tolerable, or if she can get a little food in her stomach before taking them…The coughing- yes I do hear of it. I hate to say it but I usually hear about it after it has caused bleeding. I’d talk with her doctor about giving her something to suppress it

  54. I’m going on day 3 and my situation is not as bad as what I have been reading from you guys. Maybe I’m lucky or it just hasn’t gotten there yet. To me it feels like a bad case of strep throat. Mine is complicated by also having my sinus cavities scraped during the same surgery. That has my nose swollen and stuffy and I have to breathe through my mouth. Yes drinking cold water and drinks helps more than anything except pain medicine. Getting the antibiotics down hasn’t been too bad but it’s bitter. I tried eating mashed potatoes last night but that was too difficult to swallow. I think I’m going to slow down on getting real food for now. Good luck to you guys and I’ll keep reading to get more information and advice.

  55. I’m on day 12 and I am just wondering when the uvula will go back to normal size? That is what is bothering the most on this day. Its starting to get frustrating. The pain now is like when I had tonsillitis. Just tired of having pain. The pain has been the worse before bed and when I wake up. Yawning is the absolutely worse. Its getting better but I’m tired of the long process. Will I ever be able to eat things like chips and crackers? At this point, it doesn’t ever seem possible. I really hoping to be much better by next monday when I go to my post-op appointment.

    1. I’m currently on Day 15 and my uvula is back to normal now. I think it was back to normal a day or so ago so you shouldn’t have much longer to wait. I found the swollen uvula the most uncomfortable part of the whole experience. It made everything much harder. I am now back to eating solid food.

      1. I had my post-op appointment today and my doctor says I still have swelling and I need to stay on a soft food diet for another 10 days. But other then that he says I’m fine and don’t need to go back to him unless I have an issue. He is giving me 3 months to monitor my sinus issues. If they are constant then I’m to make an appointment so he can further investigate my issue. And in the future if I have any problems with my with snoring again, a cold, headaches, and intense pain I am to go to him instead of my regular doctor. I really like my doctor. He kept apologizing for me being in pain. I am still taking my pain meds which he said was fine. I’m only taking them 3 times a day which he is fine with. Other than that I am good. My doctor did say that it could take another 6 weeks for my throat to be back to normal. I’m just happy the pain is manageable and he thinks I am doing well. I can see the end of this rough recovery.

  56. Im 19, I’m on day 6, and the pain in my ears is quite unbearable. I spent day 2,3 and 4, crying to my mother in law. I have lost 6 kilos since the surgery and have little appetite anymore. But I have been trying to start eating solid foods and slowly get up there. Ive been on mash potato, jelly, not trying to eat icecream, custard, yoghurt etc. everything is such a struggle, my throat is so swollen! I’ve been taking my medication with a spoonful of jelly, I’m on amoxicillin so the tablets are quite big. I get dizzy when I stand up for too long and get very light headed. I’ve been drink on different kinds of stuff. Gatorade or powerade helps! It hydrates and you and gives you electrolytes! Berocca has also been helping. And I have also tried a bottle of mixed water and apple juice (you’re still being hydrated and getting sugar into you!)

    1. I also had bad ear pain it was excruciating worse then the throat. I applied hot packs for days just to soothe it but it does go away!!!!! I promise

  57. Its Day 7, If I could use an analogy as to a bruised area, I could rate the pain factor as to the swelling and discoloration. Its some pain eh!!, Scaling up after a couple days as you come away off your anesthetic. Take further medication [non blood thinning], sleep in short bursts if possible. Your throat is usually dry after a nights sleep. That caused enough referred pain to bring on a headache earache and jaw ache whilst your gagging often and still trying to swallow easier. Drink fluids for this. I was advised to eat a range of food, some coarser in texture [hence problematic], and asked to bear with it. The reason was to regularly scrape a forming scab off the area to stop a increased chance of a larger bleed. Also, to cause the healing area to form a finer healing and to scrape away infection. Drink lots of fluids for this also. It flushes and lubricates. Your bowels become irregular from the anesthetic, your pain management and an altered diet, Just drink drink drink! Get regular, and if the bowel movement is easier, there’s less pain than a strain, As of today [day 7], I feel some settling of the throat, Try not to cough, sneeze, yawn or laugh. These things do sharply hurt. The recovery is a process. I really don’t want my tonsils to grow back. I wonder if someone has gone through this twice?

    1. Greg. I am on day 7 and have been trying to eat different things but too afraid of the pain. What do you mean when you say “coaser” foods? Do you mean crackers and toast or something inbetween that and jello. Please advised. Thank you.

  58. I am on day 3 going on day 4. Swallowing is awful. I have been trying to get as much sleep as possible but waking up is the worst cuz of dry mouth. I have been forcing myself to get as much as I can. My doctor told me that I was the judge on when to take the meds and how much. Ive been trying to stay on at least taking the pain meds every 5-6 hours and getting something when I do. Mac and cheese has been a staple as well as orange sherbert. I had some green juice that i was drinking but it gave me a nasty taste in my mouth so I have since stopped drinking it, not sure if the bad taste was the juice or the scabs. I am trying to deal with the pain. But i just want this over. I feel like I’m missing out on so many things. All i do is sleep, eat, take meds, and watch tv. Its kind of boring and getting to me. I hated missing church today but my mom thought it wasn’t wise for me to go out so soon after surgery. I thought the surgery was gonna be the worst part but recovery truly is the worst part. Hoping it starts to get better. Should I be trying to open my mouth more? I feel like if i do, i might open up the wounds back there. I’m scared something bad will happen or that my mouth will be stuck like this forever. Talking is muffled and hard to do as well. Grr. frustrating. starting to wonder why i had this done.

    1. I too had my doubts on day 3-4. One thing I noticed and through all the research I’ve been doing was thrush in my mouth, anything carb, dairy, sugar will inflame it and start making your ears tongue and jaw hurt . For me that was the cause of my pain when swallowing. I suggest stay away from Mac and cheese and sugars. Today on day 8 I’m finally finding life with yogurt with probiotics make sure it’s either organic or sugar free but it must have active probiotics. That will help your tongue ease up and will help you swallow. All it takes is half a cup and eat it slow just let it lay in the mouth and eat it as slow as possible. I take about 30 minutes to finish half a cup. My pain went down 75% . Also you have to keep hydrated.

      Stay away from the carbs and sugars while recovering just do natural non citric juices,,,, but get that yogurt or some active probiotics they will help you out on days 5-8.

      Oh that smell in your mouth switching the diet may help it not smell as bad.

  59. Give it a few more days. Have you tried applesauce or vanilla pudding? Keep drinking and/or sucking on ice chips. I’m 61 and it has been 14 days and I thought I was going to die at that point. I actually ate mashed potatoes on Day 9 or 10. In just a few days you will feel better. Drink, drink, drink!

  60. Hi, I’m 33 years old and Today is day 7 and I’m starving!! I can’t eat because it feels like I’m chocking and the pain medicine makes me sick to my stomach.. I feel dizzy, lightheaded, constipated and worst than the last 6 days.. When will I feel better???

    1. Im on day 6 and couldn’t eat because of my tongue/throat. It just hurt to swallow anything even saliva. Unfortunately you need food in your system for the meds to take full effect and for the antibiotics to work properly (Ive read). Today i finally managed to drink a full natural fruit smoothie, try to avoid dairy and carbs as it can trigger Oral Thrush. I think thats what was making me gag when i swallowed. This morning I tried this and I felt relief right after. 2 caps of organic apple cider vinegar and half a cup of water mixed. i just swirled it in my mouth and some how the vinegar fought whatever was living on my tongue and made it tolerable to swallow. IM on meds now sorry if it doesn’t make sense . lol

  61. I am 15 and on day 7 and this has been awful. Will the humidifier help me? What does it do? Also it feels like my throat is dry, but I’ve been drinking all day! The dry feeling is really setting me back with drinking and eating. Still trying to decide wether to get a humidifier or not.

  62. helloim Jusminda and im 21. i just had my tonsils out on the 10th June 2014 so im on day 1 almost day 2. had not much pain only a lil bit. but im eating properly even though it hurts but that
    is expected. meds are awesome and the throat gargle is good. i will definately try the frozen veg or icepack as when i eat food i get relly heated all over.

    1. Y
      Hi. You were given throat gargle? What kinda? I am on day 5 and NEED something to help with swallowing and excess mucus.

  63. I am on day 9. I have been experiencing a terrible taste in my mouth that makes the little bit of food and liquids taste awful. I assume that it is normal, but wonder if it is.

    1. It’s veryyyy normal! I’m day 10, and my doctor said the taste is normal . Your scabs might be falling off . If you can drink fizzy drinks believe it or not it helps the scabs tremendously . I DO NOT recommend eating toast it can cause bleeding but eat. The more you eat & drink the more it helps the scabs. The smell and taste will go away when the scabs fall off

      1. Thank you. I thought so, but wanted to be sure. Do you have any idea how long it might take? I tried to drink ginger ale yesterday, but it was very uncomfortable. Hope you heal

        1. Everybody is different in their recovery, I’d try pop around days 8-10 . And stick to soft foods you don’t want to rush the healing. You should be able to eat like, slightly normal foods day 10-13 just be careful.

  64. I am 23 and on day 6. I’m miserable. It is as bad as they made it seem. I had my tonsils and adenoids removed but also had my frontal sinuses scraped, my nasal passages reconstructed, turbinate reduction and an air pocket in my turbinate removed! All in all I felt better today! Today is my first day off of my loratab. I’m only taking Tylenol! My doctor said no Advil or any other blood thinners… I have to irrigate my nose with salt, baking soda and water so when I irrigate it hurts my throat!! I can feel the scabs today which is very uncomfortable… The doctor have me some numbing suckers that were compounded and I would not recommend wasting the money, 1 out of the 3 actually numbed my throat! They were not covered by insurance either… I had a compounded steroid too I had to put under my tongue and take on third day. That gave me gives :(One thingnobody told me was that I would get constipated. Worst feeling EVER! I just went today, 6 days later! I just got my short term paperwork back from the doctor which puts me out for 3 weeks! For pain I’ve found a bag of frozen carrots works better than any ice pack! I put one behind my neck and around the front! Hope everyone is healing ok! I’m in quite a bit of pain so going to irrigate, take some meds and shower!

  65. I have tonsil stones and have had a sore throat for more than a year now. I just met with my ENT Doctor and he said I could have my tonsils removed but warned me that the recovery is horrible. I have been looking up things online and found him to be correct. He said I can either live with the sore throat and coughing up these little balls or I can have the surgery, it’s up to me. After reading all the others experience I am scared out of my mind to have the surgery. I DO NOT DO PAIN. Please give me some advice, should I do it or not?

    1. I’m 15. I just had mine out 5/29/14. It is BY FAR a pain in the ass and it’s MISERABLE. I am A 15 year old female and I handle pain very well . I fell through a fish tank getting a very large laceration to where you could see the bone they almost took my leg off, (I’m being serious, I almost bled out and died). And the pain from the tonsillectomy tops it all, BUT!!!!!! It is very worth it… All you gotta remember is DRINK DRINK DRINK!!!!!!!!!! Cold cold COLD drinks, and don’t worry bout eating so much. The first 1-6 days are the worst. But day 6-9 are a piece of cake. Then you get an uneasy feeling and tightness and nasty taste for a couple days untill the scabs fall of day 8-13. Then you’ll be fine. It is worth it… I’m day 10 and I’m breathing SO much better.., as much as it sucks, think bout your Health.

  66. I’m on day 7 and its awful . I had to go back into surgery do to bleeding. I guess an artery burst in my throat. Lost quite bit of blood. I hope it gets better soon.

        1. I see. Thanks for sharing that. I’m always interested in gathering info that might help others.

  67. I hope you feel better soon! Some things that my help, do not eat chips & hard food till about the third week or after your scabs fall off, another thing you can alternate advil & tylenol. Advil will reduce swelling. Codiene makes me kinda crazy so I try not to take it or only at bedtime. I am almost week 6 & I still feel like I have a huge cotton ball down my throat. It just takes time! Cool fluids like gatorade, soft foods like eggs, jello, or sorbet, warm or room temperature green tea, even putting an ice pack on your throat may help, but it just takes time! I slept in my recliner for almost 3 weeks & lost 14 lbs, but I do feel a lot better!

  68. Help! i am on day 5 and i am on constant codeine swallowing is unreal..
    i hadnt had much pain before and yesterday i attempted to eat chips and pizza. they were difficult but i read the sooner you eat proper food the quicker the recovery. could this be why i am in agony today its almost 5pm and i havent brought myself to eat a thing!
    also after my op my uvula was huge and it hasnt gone down it gives me difficulty talking, is it normal to still be very swollen?

  69. My 11 yr old is at Day 7 and he’s had a terrible time – he’s ‘broken’ from 7 days of pain! I’ve given him meds around the clock and he never seems to be on top of the pain ( even using codeine). Our focus today is the cold fluids! He even smiled when I read tips 1-3 out to him! Anyone who thinks this op is a walk in the park is deluded!!

  70. Hi, Any suggestions on how to make this easier for a 6 year old who is very sensitive? The way she cries from the pain when she has strep is heartbreaking. Her surgery is Friday and I want to cry just thinking about it.

    1. Hi Allyson. Here’s good news: youngsters like yours do MUCH better in recovery from tonsillectomy. I think I’d follow the same tips that I give for adults- humidifier, liquids etc…maybe find out which popsicle flavors she likes in advance and stock up
      Best of luck to you both!

  71. My tongue hurts for the first 4 days! I had 2 lacerations in it and that was the first thing that I would feel when my pain meds were due. I am on day 5 now and hopefully will start feeling better soon.

  72. I’m only on day 3 and followed all of your tips and information, thanks so much for such a great website. My biggest issue (other than the normal issues that occur) is my tongue. It still seems quite swollen and sore. I didn’t remember reading anything about them getting so big…

    1. Hi Christen. Thanks for posting. Yes the tongue. Very common. The instruments used to depress it during surgery can cause bruising. Sorry it hurts. Should improve soon. Lots if ice. Take care -Greg

  73. 35 yrs old. Had my tonsils out 10 days ago. I’m in more pain this 2nd week than I was in the 1st! I can feel the scabs in my throat. It’s gross! I was told I could start eating “soft foods” this week, but I’m afraid of the pain it may cause, since drinking liquids still hurts. Has anyone else learned the art of avoiding swallowing? Lol (if I could). The worst pain is when I wake up in the morning. I guess because I go too long without liquid and my throat is dry? Thinking of getting a humidifier… . Coughing is my worst enemy, next is yawning. I sing in a group, but I can’t imagine singing for a while. Talking too much or too loud causes more pain, so I’ve been pretty quiet for 10 days. I must say though, the pain from this is not half as bad as when I hurt my back and was in bed for a week. Since I’ve had worse pain, I compare. People who have hurt themselves before tonsil surgery may understand. It’s been painful, but thankfully not the worst pain I’ve ever felt. Hoping I never get strept throat again after this!!!

  74. A common issue I found out about after removal of tonsils is thrush. The flora of the mouth can become unstable from surgery. After day 8 I still was not eating. I felt like the inside of my mouth, gums & tongue were on fire & ached. I swished with peroxide & water and started taking acidulous & I am eating! It maybe good idea to check with doctor to confirm, it’s just what worked for me. I had googled the problem & that was the answer!

  75. Day 7 It really has been tough. I lost 12 lbs. I did everything the way I’ve been told, soft food cold drinks with ice chips, applesauce, keep pain under control. Time is the biggest healer. Everyone heals different. I have an allergy to hydrocodon so I have had to rely on tylenol. I was told no iboprophin or naproxin because of the bleeding risks. I’ve had ear & jaw pain & a lot of mucus. I have been keeping track of when I take even tylenol. It will get better.

  76. Day 11 post-op: To help with the ear/neck/throat pain, I’ve used a heating pad on low to medium heat, pressing the pad to the entire side for 5 minutes. Did this 3 times yesterday and it has helped with the pain. Check with your doctor first. Pain meds did NOTHING for me during recovery, only the heat has helped, and time. I did not have any complications post-surgery, except for most food tasting awful, especially those with fat like mayo or milk fat. Salt burns my throat so I avoid processed foods like canned soup.. Swallowing still causes some pain, but nothing like the pain from earlier on. No food tastes right yet, hoping my sense of taste will recover, as I have read accounts online of some folks never getting it back.

  77. I’m on Day 2 of recovery here (not including surgery day). Day 1 was very manageable, regular doses of paracetamol helping me to eat and drink with only mild discomfort akin to a regular sore throat.

    I decided to take Tramadol about 1:00am this morning after waking up to test out its effectiveness…woke up every hour after that with a dry mouth and throat and bad pain when swallowing. Think it must have been the tramadol as that causes a dry mouth. Back to the paracetamol as of morning of day 2 as that’s served me ok so far…fingers crossed it doesnt get too much worse!

  78. I am also on full day 3 of recovery and as long as I keep taking the prescription meds I was given I do pretty well for about 3 out of the 4 hours. Pain consistently at a 2-3 with meds 6-7 and horrific eat pain without meds. I have also been trying to eat but eating makes things hurt worse. So I have dealt with the nausea over the sore throat. If I didn’t have such bad ear pain I think I would be doing ok. Went to a movie yesterday and the icee helped so much. Hope everyone else feels like they are on the mend.

  79. i am in day three of recovery. this has been a walk in the park so far. pain level 1-3. taking childrens tylenol and ibuprofen on a 4hr rotating schedule. eating popsicles, applesauce, cube steak and gravy with rice last night and this morning an omelet, grits and pancake. why does everyone say this is soooo bad…. its not….

  80. My Dr. told me soft foods the first 4 days, then whatever i want. Sort of in between what Europe and the US does.

  81. We don’t do overnight here either unless it’s for children – but I chose to go private instead of on our National Health System (Similar to what you get I think when you guys have insurance?) I chose private because the wait from seeing the doctor and him referring me to the hospital it would have taken 10 months for the initial Appointment and possibly a year from then for the op! And I live 6 hours away from the private hospital. No jelly though they’re mean here!

    1. I really am fascinated by how different the UK and the US are in their tonsillectomy treatment. In the US, people rarely do an overnight. Once awakened after surgery, we’re typically kept until we can swallow Jell-O, (Jelly?) and have a sober driver. Take care. 😉

      1. I’ve recently had my tonsils removed in the UK and was surprised reading all your comments at the completely different advice offered. I had to stay in over night even though surgery was performed at 11 am. The biggest difference I think is the diet though. In England your encouraged to eat as normally as possible as soon as possible and the following morning are required to eat either a bowl of cereal or a piece of toast before being discharged. I was told the rougher the food the cleaner the throat will be and the quicker the recovery and less risk of infection.

  82. Hey Greg .. I’m just past the unbearable pain stage (on day 9) I swear I lost sight of the light especially as I’m a single mum of three I had to send the children away I could not cope!! I have suffered more with this than I did with childbirth and the last was a pain relief free labour!! Anyway the thing that’s driving me nuts at the moment is the ‘thing’ stuck at the back of my throat making me gag and sick!! I went to out of hours doc crying and mentioned the ‘scabs falling off’ and he said there are no scabs as such?! I’ve seen lots about the ‘scabs’ online and wonder if he is just trying to pacify me?!

    1. Hi Lynds. Things should improve very soon. Most people do get white colored scabs as the area heals. Some patients, mainly in Austrailia and the UK, are put on a rough food diet. (Toast for example). I’ve read that a continual diet like this prevents scabs from ever firming.

      Hey thanks for posting. Take care and stay in touch!

      1. Thankyou so much for the reply greg. Oh yeah I am in the UK and chose to go to a private hospital.. And within 5 hours of surgery (I came around at 1) at 6pm I was told I was lonely allowed toast or crisps!! And that is not a joke! It’s been hell. I stayed in over night and was made to eat a bacon toasted sandwich the next morning and then since I’ve been home I shyed away from all food because it hurt too much…. So hence the scabs! Yuk

  83. I didn’t try it, but sounds like a good idea to me. Also, my doc prescribed a dental mouthwash to help with the dragon breath you will experience during healing. Hope all is well! Remember to drink, drink, drink water!!

  84. Hello, I’m going to be having this procedure done on Monday and was wondering if anyone has tried Biotene gel to help with the dryness in the mouth that can come with this. I’m trying to get as prepared as possible! This has been a very helpful website!

    1. Hi Melissa. Thanks for posting! I never tried Biotine but have read from others who liked it. Best if luck to you!

  85. Hi everyone, I am 39 years old and have been told horror stories about this op… how painful and uncomfortable it is to undergo as an adult but I have a brilliant ENT and taking his advice and the recovery each day as it comes. Dr du Plessis has prescribed all the necessary medication – antibiotics, anti- inflammatories, nasal and throat sprays and most important – the pain relief medication.

    He told me to control the pain with every 3 and a half to 4 hours and that is exactly what I am doing – believe me when the meds wear off it’s painful!! My throat feels swollen and I can barely swallow but not like razor blades as most people say!! It’s important to remain positive… this will be worth it at the end of the 10 days!!! Maybe it’s because I am getting TLC from my family and I don’t want to scare my kids!!

    It’s only day 3 for me – apparently day 4 is the worst because the scab starts forming but Dr du Plessis said to eat chuncky rough food to help with the recovery and also to keep drinking fluids. I am going to rest a lot and hope for a speedy recovery.

    I wish the same for the people reading this now.

    Michelle Nel

        1. Hi Greg, I thought my recovery was going too smoothly!!! I forgot to mention in my first e-mail that I also had a sinus fess – I had a drainage, a cyst removed from the back my throat as well as 4 pollyps removed from my nasal cavities etc etc. My tonsils were so frot that I got a bad secondary infection in the second week and my Dr du Plessis prescribed Augmentin and FLAGYL which is an antibiotic that I had a horrific allergic reaction to. My throat closed up, I got a hot itchy rash and hives from head to toe. I never slept for an entire night – all I did was cry and scratch and go half crazy. I had to have cortisone and antihistimine injections – I took a sleeping tablet that night and had a better nights sleep. I’ve had a slow recovery but I’m in good hands – I’ve had 2 check ups already and going for. another one on Tuesday. My ENT has removed a lot of excess gauze and blood clots. I won’t lie, that it’s very My throat is still a little tender so I just I pray that the infection is gone and that I am healed.

          1. I never finished my sentence… meant to type “I won’t lie, it was very uncomfortable and painful but it had to be done so I just shut my eyes and opened them again when it was over. For those of you reading this… believe it or not – I am glad I had the surgery done because I am not congested at the moment, I don’t have the sinus headaches, I can breathe properly, my sense of smell and taste have improved and my ears are starting to unblock. Don’t be anxious – just go for it – all the best!!

  86. Hello…im a 41 year old female
    on night one of my tonsillectomy/adenoidectomy and struggling to swallow and breathe. I am trying to sleep in sitting postion because my super enlarged uvula chokes me when it tilt my head back on pillow slightly. I have woke up gasping for a deep breath ,which after I recover from the incident, causes much pain. I am a registered nurse and was well read on “what to expect”, but THIS is way worse than imagined. I dont even want to take the liquid Norco in fear of falling into a deep sleep and being awoken by the choking on the uvula episodes.

    1. Hi Sil, I remember that feeling well. It should pass in a day or two as the swelling goes down. Gargling with ice water can help. A steroid can too, but some doctors don’t offer them. Might be worth asking for.

      Best of luck to you. It’s tough. I won’t lie. But it is temporary and, if you’re like me and 99% of my readers, your life will be much better without tonsils. Take care and keep drinking!

  87. When can you take Motrin after tonsillectomy surgery? Today is day 9 and ended pain meds and anti-inflammatory on day 7. I have been on Tylenol since Monday full time and it’s just not cutting it. I am swollen, stiff and sore. I am too uncomfortable to function. Being comfortable, I could keep up with my kids homework and get them off to school. Now I just sit and sleep waiting for the discomfort to stop.

    1. Hi Jen. I’d ask my doctor about this. Some don’t advise it because they feel it raises the risk of bleeding. Others do not feel this way. Best of luck in your recovery.

  88. Quick Summary of my tonsillectomy Recovery— I am 44 years old, decent shape, this surgery kicked my ass..
    My advice– Everyone says drink plenty of water… You are not even going to be able to swallow a drop if your throat gets dried out. The night time for me was the worst time. Morning and night I gargled with warm salt water this cleared up the junk and was soothing.
    Expect your throat to have white mucus cover the whole area with some blood. If you have a slight bleeding problem ice water will calm it down. Try to sip water constantly if you can.
    My first 5 days I was on Liquid Oxycodone mostly taken during the night. This stuff will kill you stomach ( empty ). Doc today put me on pill form which works much better.
    I ate hard boiled eggs ( just the white) everyday .. Apple sauce. Ice pops and ice cream just irritated me more.
    Mentally Draining is how to expect this recovery to go. I’m heading into day 8 hoping to see the light.
    Wishing everyone the best in their recovery. Dave R.

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