Tonsillectomy Tips From Patients


Tonsillectomy Tips

As I’ve written, there was much that I did not know as I planned, experienced, and recovered from my own tonsillectomy. My Ear Nose and Throat doctor, (ENT), and his nurse gave me some general information about the surgery. We talked about how tonsillectomy surgery was performed, what the risks were, and what to expect after my adult tonsillectomy surgery.

In addition to this information, I tried to arm myself with as much information from other sources as I could. The internet is filled with medical information and advice. Some of it related to tonsillectomy. Some of it is accurate. Some of it is valuable to a person considering or recovering from tonsillectomy surgery. Most of it is not. Some of the scariest information I got was from my family and friends. Everyone seemed to have some horror story about an adult dying from tonsillectomy, or having a near-death experience from bleeding or anesthesia. As if I wasn’t nervous enough!  Fear and anxiety are usually born of uncertainty   The more we know about what to expect, the better we are able to execute a task without irrational fears.

I’ve read thousands and thousands of comments on the various pages of this website. One message is expressed again and a gain: Knowing what to expect helps enormously! This is your chance to do others a great service. Take your wisdom, born of personal experience, and help others. When you shine a light for others, you also light your own path.

For a live discussion about tonsillectomy and tonsillectomy recovery, join us in the Tonsillectomy Recovery Forum

Tonsillectomy Tips

Tonsillectomy Advice

The doctors, nurses, bloggers, publishers, family and friends all helped shape my expectations about what to expect before, during and after my tonsillectomy. None of it compares to the value of actually experiencing it. I learned more in the weeks before and after my adult tonsillectomy than I could have learned from years of research. This website is filled with over 50 pages of that wisdom.

If you are reading this, you probably have some experience yourself. How would you like to help someone who is trying to decide whether to have a tonsillectomy? Help someone planning or recovering from tonsillectomy surgery? By answering this one question, you may be able to save someone from a struggle you had:

IF I WAS PLANNING MY TONSILLECTOMY TODAY, THIS IS WHAT I WOULD DO DIFFERENTLY…

92 thoughts on “Tonsillectomy Tips From Patients”

  1. I am now a month and a half post-op after having a tonsillectomy at 34. This site was so valuable to me while I prepared for my surgery. I was so nervous and being able to read and prepare helped my anxiety tremendously. I wanted to pass a few things on that I learned that made my life so much easier during my recovery.

    The weeks before my surgery, I made a TON of chicken and turkey stock (bones/meat, onion, carrot, celery, water, salt, and a tablespoon of vinegar boiled in water for several hours and strained). I would freeze it into ice cube trays and bag up the cubes. It was helpful to eat cold and warm and easy to portion out. As you are feeling better, you can also mix in mashed potatoes or biscuits/toast. And it is much healthier for you than other soups!

    People rave about Dentyne Ice and they are not kidding. Get plenty!

    Yogurt (acidophilous) was not at all something I wanted to eat, but I got pretty nasty thrush and yeast infections from the antibiotic and this helps prevent it.

    Ask your doctor before your surgery to prescribe you an anti-nausea medication. Trust me, this is a HUGE help. Feeling nauseated from pain meds seems to be one of the major issues that people have post-op. You may want to also get a stool softener to take daily to prevent other issues from the pain medication.

    Get 2 ice packs (so you can always have a cold one available) to put on the outside of your neck for the first few days. It makes a huge difference. These are the ones I used:

    Do not sleep in a bed if you can help it. A recliner with a neck pillow will be less painful.

    USE A HUMIDIFIER. I cannot stress this enough.

    Get a piece of paper or dry-erase marker board to keep track of your medications and when you take them. It becomes kind of confusing, especially when you are not sleeping as much.

    A heating pad is crucial for those first days where you start to eat. You are going to have major ear pain that often coincides with eating, and I would wrap this around my head and the pain would subside pretty much immediately. This is the one I used (it was nice and long)

    Brush your tongue with baking soda and rinse with Biotene. It will help keep your mouth a bit cleaner (especially for thrush) and it does not have burning alcohol.

    Manuka Honey was a big lifesaver and I think helped me heal up faster than normal. I also did not have the bad smell from my scabs that a lot of people complain of. Here is the one I got:

    Liquid vitamins help keep your body going while you are not eating all that much.

    The first couple of days you will not feel as bad. Try and eat as much as you can in these few days.

    EVERYONE says this but it is probably the most important tip I can give. NEVER EVER miss your pain medication. Take it at exactly the same time every dose. If you are late with a dose, you will regret it. Also, no matter how tired you are, set an alarm so that you do not sleep for more than 2 hours without a drink of water. Again, it is a HUGE HUGE HUGE mistake not to.

    Chloroseptic spray really helps take the edge off. Especially toward the time you start eating again.

    Wet wipes are fantastic because you will likely not feel like taking a shower for a few days. This helps you feel less scrungy and more human again.

    Be ready with lots of TV/Movies. You probably won’t feel up to doing much else.

    I was lucky enough to have my mom come and take care of me, so if you are able, have someone come help you out the first week. It made a huge difference. I did not realize how hard this was all going to be to manage on my own.

    My list:

    Jello
    Eggs
    Applesauce
    Gatorade/Protein Water
    Dentyne Ice
    Cream of Wheat
    Soup
    Mashed Potatoes
    Honey
    Lime
    Popsicles
    Yogurt (acidophilous)
    Mac and Cheese
    Toast
    Margarine
    Peppermint Tea

    Neck Pillow
    Ice Trays
    Heating Pad
    Thermometer
    Chloroseptic Spray
    Anti Nausea Meds
    Humidifier
    Biotene Mouthwash
    Liquid vitamins
    Tylenol (CVS has a full strength version that is not for children)
    Wet Wipes
    Lozenges
    stool softener
    Baking Soda
    Straws

  2. I’m 17 and had my tonisils removed on the 11th of December 2012 (a month tomorrow) my main tip is to eat!!! As painful as it is.. the rougher the better. It’s excruciating but worth it because if you don’t your throat will clog up, it also knocks off the scabs and you odnt even notice it. Try and stick to your usual diet, I did my best but just with very small portions! Another thing is to drink loads and loads, I found my pain was the worst when my throat became dry, I couldn’t drink water for some reason as it was just excruciating so stuck to milk instead and when I got sick of it just had strawberry mistake :)! It’s been a month and my breath is the worst it’s been yet but maintaining a normal diet does manage to reduce bad breath after your tonsilectomy. Pain is the worst between days 3-7 I found and after that is mostly just odd bits of pain, I still get it now but it doesn’t compare to how it was:) on day 6 I was put back in hospital for 3 days after getting a blood clot which burst and led to infraction, if you get any funny symptoms I recommend going straight to your doctor, even if it turns out to be nothing. Any bleeding after day 3/4 really that is fresh (bright red) needs looking into aswell. I’m no expert but my doctor’s were great, I got loads of information sheets and advice off them, plus personal experience, I hope this is useful to anyone going through it!!

  3. Best first solid food – pumpkin pie! Had first solid food on day 6 – pumpkin pie, and it was perfect. A step up from all of the overly sweet popsicles, slushies, etc. but nothing that stuck to the back of my throat or made it burned. Also, didn’t have to chew a lot (which helps with sore jaw). I absolutely would have tried this on day 4 (maybe 5) to help balance my stomach that had nothing but liquids and pain meds. And, if you are still worried about scratchy parts of the food, just avoid the crust.

  4. My surgery was 12/18/12. This may sound crazy but for the last 2 days my worst pain has been when I take my pain meds! It’s excruciating!! It only lasts for 10 minutes but I can hardly stand it!! The whole back of my throat is covered in thick – looking white stuff not like the pictures I’ve seen of a little white stuff on each side of the throat! I’m ready to start feeling better!!

    1. My surgery was 12/19/12. I am on roxicet, and am currently taking 5ml every 3hours. It was like battery acid going down. Last night hubby had the great idea of mixing it with 10 ml of ensure ( chocolate epwas on hand) it worked amazingly well. The creaminess coated my throat and covered the taste of the roxicet.

      I don’t knw about your “white stuff”. It could be normal, and could be thrush. You’ll want to check with your doctor if your concerned.

      Hope you feel better soon and have much less pain in the days to come 🙂

      1. I was noticing a lot of secretion as well on day two and three (I’m on end of day four now) and it was driving me nuts. Feels like I need to hurl a loogie.. which I know cannot help my throat, but having the phlegm there is annoying!

        few tips that helped me get rid of SOME of it and in general– 1: try gargling with water and peroxide (I used mouth wash) or water and salt, swish it around up front and lightly gargle in the back and then let drip out of your mouth or lightly spit. 2: non-stop drink water… until your pee is clear. sorry thats gross, but then you’ll know you’re hydrated. 3: SLEEP WITH A HUMIDIFIER! I feel I have been VERY lucky with my recovery (not having much pain so far aside from a bad sore throat and some discomfort), but I’ve been religiously sleeping with a humidifier and even put VICs menthol liquid stuff in it to help with breathing/sleeping. Last night I slept for a straight 6.5 hours!

        1. I’m going into day 6 now and still seem to have an excess of mucus. However I was unlucky enough to cough up a lot of it this afternoon (brushed my teeth with toothpaste and started gagging and coughing uncontrollably). It was not fun and hurt a lot, but I’m breathing easier now 🙂

          I’ve been drinking about 2 gallons of water a day, and that doesn’t count smoothies, slishies, juice, and ensure. Urine had been clear for months, so that’s definatly not my cause to the mucus.

          The humidifier I was using didnt seem to work very well, so hubby ent out and got me another one last night.

          Off to bed now, so we will see how it goes 🙂

          Merry Christmas and hope you have less pain today 😉

  5. Hi I’m 13 yo, and had a tonsillectomy on 17th Dec. On my day 4 post-op, and the recovery has been cruel.. I know it’s different for adult and child, but are my scabs supposed to fall off now? Because this morning I woke up and I found some white things on my tongue. Isn’t it a little too fast for to scabs to fall off?
    The pain seems to getting worse every day, the good thing is my uvula’s not swelling anymore. Swallowing has been hell, like forcing a razor blade inside your throat, trust me. I’m sorry I haven’t found some tips from my experience, but drinking lots of fluid DO HELP. Stay dehydrated and sleep, A LOT.

    1. Hey I had mine out on the 11th, I couldn’t even drink water at first, I found that milk is really soothing, the scabbing falling off sounds normal as it’s different for everyone, I took a photo of mine everyday and its crazy what a difference a day makes!:) the pain is worst days 4-7 at which point icwas put back in hospital due to a blood clot and infection, but after that it honestly feels so much better! Hope you’re feeling better now

  6. 22-year-old here. Only on day 2 so the worst is probably still ahead of me, but I figured I’d share what I’ve discovered so far.
    -Drink, drink drink! It seems counter-intuitive, but the more you force yourself to drink, the less everything begins to hurt. Ice water has been my staple, but hot teas and the occasional cold Gatorade have been agreeable, too.
    -Chew gum. I popped a couple pieces as soon as I was out of the PACU and it’s helped tremendously. It produces saliva and keeps everything moist while forcing you to swallow and loosen up the jaw muscles. Plus the minty flavor helps mask any bad taste in your mouth.
    -Humidifiers are your friends. So is cranking the hot water in the shower and inhaling the steam. It just helps keep everything moist and loosen stuff up.
    -Soft foods are great, so eat while you can stomach it. I’ve dabbled in Popsicles, applesauce, Campbell’s chicken noodle soup, and plain overcooked pasta. My uvula’s so swollen that I have to swallow more than once to get everything down, but having some real food in your stomach definitely helps ward off nausea.
    -Keep up with the pain meds. I haven’t touched any of the narcotics I was prescribed (yet), but last night I set an alarm to wake myself every couple hours so I could drink and pop more Tylenol.
    -Ask your ENT if you can get a prescription for a steroid. Mine put me on Prednisone to help with the swelling, and it feels better than it did yesterday already.
    -Get a couple hot/cold neck wraps to help with neck stiffness and pain. I bought 2 from Bed, Bath, and Beyond and they can be either frozen or heated up in the microwave. Where have these things been all my life?!
    -Get up and shower, brush your teeth, and generally take care of yourself. I find that if I look decent, it helps me feel decent, too.

    Hope this helps! 🙂

  7. I’m 37 years old and had my tonsils out 12/12/12 – so we are 5-6 days in. Do’s: keep up with your meds, no matter what. With the lack of food, it’ll make you nauseous and not want to – do it anyway. Call the doc to get anti nausea meds. I waited until day 5 and I could have saved a lot of agony for myself if I would have asked sooner. I invested in a humidifier and lots of Popsicles and my husband made tons of homemade chicken broth and froze it ahead of time. I recommend all these things. Also, find a comfy place to lay that has your head propped up because by day 4 (for me) I couldn’t lay down. I’m still in pain, but these things help. Hopefully it helps anyone who reads this

  8. I had my tonsils taken out on 12/12/12 and right now its 12/17/2012 5 days after the surgery. Today I feel pretty good, pretty much not a lot of pain, did have some earlier in the day. I still can’t eat much, and when I do eat I have to try to force myself to eat but i’m only able to eat about 3-4 teaspoons of soup and I’m done. Some Doctor’s recommend taking tylenol or your pain meds about 30 mins- 1 hour before you eat to help you swallow food more easily. I’m reading alot of these horror stories and haven’t experienced any of them, atleast not yet, kinda got me scared though. I read one story where they say when the scabs start to come off its very painful, day 3 was by far the most painful for me, mainly because of the ear aches. The first day was hard to swallow the pain pills and antibiotic pills, but it got easier each day. I haven’t eaten much and yesterday was the first time that I actually got hungry since i had the surgery. Slushies will become your best friend lol. I was looking forward to eating Ice Cream, but you never really feel like eating it

  9. When I was recovering they gave me liquid pain meds. Tylenol with codeine in the beginning, and then Vicodin when it was clear that the Tylenol wasn’t helping the pain at all. My tip is to ask for liquid meds instead of pills if possible because I can’t imagine trying to swallow pills with all the swelling and scabs that happen in the back of the mouth. Very few narcotic pain meds come in liquid form, though. Really just the two mentioned above. But quite seriously, liquid Vicodin worked amazingly for me.

    1. Incidentally, you’re supposed to eat within 30 minutes of taking the pain meds to decrease nausea. The liquid stuff takes 30 minutes to kick in, but it makes eating alot easier.

  10. I am 38 and had my tonsils out on Friday 12/7. First off I am on day 5 d=and the pain is incredible. There is one thing I have found that has helped and I highly recommend it as I can barely eat. Please get yourself a 7-11 slurpee. It feels amazing and is so cold. I can only drink coke flavored as fruit burns. Try it!

    Hope everyone is recovering well!
    Stacy

  11. Along with what others have said about humidifiers (get a good quiet one), pain meds (take them on a schedule prompted by an alarm so you can’t sleep through a dose), staying hydrated ( drink as much as you can of whatever non acidic beverage you enjoy-try warm if cold hurts), and getting plenty of rest- here are my top ten recovery tips-

    1. Raspberry tea sooths the throat naturally. Make sure you get the kind with real raspberry leaves, not just the flavoring. Drink it warm, not hot, especially when all else is failing and you want to shoot yourself.

    2. Biotene mouthwash. I brushed and rinsed with it because toothpaste foam made me gag. It is soothing and alcohol free with an enzyme formula that kills germs while moisturizing and freshening. It is really great stuff. They also make a moisturizing gum that is very helpful. Another mouthwash that might help is ST-37. It is an antiseptic that has a numbing effect. It tastes a bit strange but doesn’t burn. It can be harder to find but worth it for the pain killing effect.

    3. Hide your pills in something squishy like pudding or oatmeal. Apple sauce didn’t go well for me though, too acidic. They won’t stick to your scabs or rub nasty tasting burning pill slime off all the way down your throat if they are surrounded by slimy pudding or oatmeal. Instead they will go right down.

    4. If you are taking narcotic pain meds like Percocet(oxycodone), Lortab (hydrocodone), or Tylenol 3 take a stool softener. Seriously! I highly recommend Miralax or its generic form. You mix it in a liquid and drink it. No gas, no cramping, no taste, no side effects. Narcotics cause constipation which causes straining which causes bleeding. Why risk it? Getting backed up will also make you nauseaus. Puking on a throat this painful is just evil!

    5. Use an ice pack on your neck, face, and ears to help with pain. There will be times it will save you. Frozen peas, corn, or similar are good if you don’t have a gel one in the house, just don’t eat that pack later if you refreeze it.

    6. Bending over with your head down hurts! So does carrying heavy things. Don’t do either.

    7. Pain meds prevent pain better than they treat it so don’t get behind. They are also more effective with protein in your stomach. One good source of cold protein that worked for me was Jamba Juice with BOTH soy and whey protein boosts. Get several and put them in the freezer. Then scrape out a bowl worth to have with your pills or freeze in smaller cups to eat with pills. I couldn’t get my mouth open far enough for popsicles, but I could slide some of that in off a spoon. Protein makes pills work faster!

    8. Get a syringe from your doctor or pharmacy (without a needle-30cc is good). Use it like a water gun to gently spray crud out of the tonsil beds. Very good for hygene when used to Gently! spray salt water and then mouthwash onto scabby areas and spots too sore to brush.

    9. Get a nasal wash kit. Either a squeeze bottle or neti pot style is fine, though I prefer the squeeze bottle. Use warmed distilled water with the provided salt packets to wash out your nose and behind your soft palate. There is simply no other way to get the snot out from behind your uvula without excrutiating pain. Use according to package directions first, then refill ( or only use half) , and block off your nose so the saline runs out your mouth. Do both sides. Miracle!

    10. Sleep with your head elevated until the swelling in your uvula goes back to normal. Otherwise you will wake up in the night unable to breathe because your uvula has blocked everything off. Even if you sleep through it it will make you snore which greatly increases your pain from all the vibration all night.

    Good luck! My recovery has been hellish so far, but these things have made it a little better. I am a 35yo female who had tonsils out Dec 3rd 2012 due to staph infected peritonsillar abscess not responsive to antibiotics after history of recurrant tonsillitis over the past several years. I would not recommend surgery to anyone whose infections respond to antibiotics because the pain is so bad. While each person must decide if it is right for them please read these pages carefully and understand that this surgery is extremely painful.

    1. i had mine out a few days back. 44yo male. jeez this hurts. broken bones before but not as bad as this constant pain. i noticed when using a wahl to clip my beard, for wifey, the vibration actually soothed my throat and ears. so i tried taking meds whilst holding the vibrating body against my ears and throat. it really eased the pain of swallowing for me. i hope others can try to do similar and it eases the pain for them.

      1. That is interesting! I might try it for general pain relief.
        Try burying the pills in pudding too, especially in the night when your throat is dry and sticky. The spoonful of pudding slides right down as a single lump and you won’t even know the pills are hiding in there. Plus it helps keep the nausea controlled since the pain meds are not on an empty stomach. Good luck.
        I am on day 9 and the best I can say is that today is the first day my pain didn’t continue to get worse. It is no better either, but at least it stopped getting worse for one day. You have to be happy for the small victories!

        1. I am with you Toni, Dec 4 th, and today is the first day it didn’t get worse! I have turned the corner. I agree celebrate the small victories!

    2. Agreed had them out today and it’s so much more painful than the full tummy tuck and hernia repair I had 21 days ago. I can’t sleep without drying up and feeling as if I can’t breathe. Every swallow hurts even with pain med…. Ugh this is a rough one

  12. Besides dont do it, its flippin brutal? Heres my advice:

    1. Copy and paste a few quotes from this site and send them to your boss, husband, children… all the people that will need to understand how major this surgery is. They need to understand what you are going through, on top of excruciating pain, depression, nausea, bleeding vomiting you dont need a bunch of pressure to return to work too soon or unsupportive family.

    2. Borrow 2 humidifiers. When you wake up in the night because your throat is on fire and your meds wore off it is a godsend.

    3. Stock up on popsicles (strawberry seemed the least acidic to me) mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, cream of wheat, chicken and beef broth, jello, yogurt and pudding. There is a wierd scab taste thing that will make everything else taste AWEFUL especially bread products.

    4. Keep ice chips by your bed at all times.
    5. Stay ahead of your pain meds, if you wait till they wear off it gets excruciating to take the next batch and it starts a whole cycle of pain and nausea. I pre-poured my middle of the night dose so I was more likely to take it quickly and go right back to sleep.
    6. As for anti nausea medication- I dont know anyone that did not get severe nausea. And throwing up could make your world nightmarish, cause bleeding and set you waaay back.
    7. Never been constipated in my whole life, so when I was I just thought, oh- no big deal, itll happen when it happens… Nope, you wait too long and it gets way worse and you get severe nausea every time you eat because there is no where for it to go. After day 4 of no go get something for it.
    8. Hydrocodone burns like hell going down, I avoided milk most of the time but when the pain was just too much I would mix it with chocolate milk, it helped it go down much better.
    9. Gargle very gently every day. I used a small amt of salt and baking soda- made me feel fresher and kept away infection.
    10. GET 3 GOOD BOOKS BEFOREHAND. I got very depressed when it seemed there was no end in sight to the pain and nausea and I was so glad I had a book that I looked forward to finding out what was going to happen next.
    11. Ask for a foot massage. I wanted to just sit and moan and rock but my husband gave me a foot massage one day and it really distracted me from my own misery.
    12. expect MINIMUM 10 days to recover. Im on day 9 and still have terrible pain nausea and fatigue.
    13. dont jump up and run around the minute you feel a little better. Your body is weak and needs time and energy to heal the gaping wounds in your throat, so take it easy!!!!

    Good luck to you, I feel for you and am sending you heathy sympathetic thoughts 🙂

    1. Water mixed with baking soda takes the sting out of your wounds down to a dull ache! Baking soda is a acid reducer so soothes wounds that are hurt by the acid in drinks, food, saliva… it helps!!!!

      Its also supposed to help with nausea if you swallow some but Im too afraid it will make me gag and throw up…

    2. Hia. I’m Keena from north wales ,uk. You have made me feel so much happier. I had my tonsils out on the 22nd of November 2012 and thought I was a big baby. I’m 27. You made me realise it is worse than what people think. Thank you so much. Xx

    3. I love your idea of copying some of the posts. I don’t think some people take a tonsillectomy seriously. Thank God my husband found this site, read up on it, and got everything possible to take great care of me with no time restrictions! I am 53, and it has been quite difficult. this will be my 10 th night, hoping for my best!
      Healing thoughts to all!

  13. TEA!!

    I drank Chai Tea (it is black tea w/ spices sweetend with milk and sugar. tastes a little like pumpkin pie). it allowed me to get the caffeine i was used to getting before the surgery (the soda burned even if i let it get flat) a the milk i added took away the hunger pains from not being able to eat solids. Since the milk was warmed up from the tea, it didnt make my throat all phlegmy, it cleared out the existing crap back there. and of course since it is mostly water, it helped up my water intake.

    For me personally, i could not eat sweets like ice cream and popsicles (or even yogurt). the level of sweetness burned the back of my throat.

    Ensure Powdered Drink Mix (vanilla for me) COMPLETELY COVERED THE TASTE OF CRUSHED UP MEDS before i could swallow the pill whole.

  14. I had my tonsils out yesterday morning, and it’s been a pretty rough two days. But, I understand that the worst is yet to come. One thing that’s helped me a lot that I haven’t seen on here is using a camelpak for hydration. My boyfriend actually thought of it and let me use his. He elevates the pak on a stool higher than my bed/couch and I just keep the straw in my mouth all day. It’s 8:30 PM, and I’ve already had more than two gallons of water. I can tell the hydration and constant use of my throat muscles is helping. The worst is when I drift off to sleep for an hour or so and then wake up and try to drink– it’s incredibly painful. I’m already getting nervous about going to sleep tonight. But, knowing that I have a good way to take a ton of constant sips of water to stay hydrated is a relief.

    Just thought I’d pass along a tip from day 2! Hopefully I’ll get to day 10 without any horror stories!

  15. Oh my gosh! I can not believe I went through this and not cry. As I read your stories, I’m crying reminiscing the pain, discomfort, and fear. I feel for your pain, and all that you’ll endure during this process. It’s not easy at all, and at times frustrating, and awfully depressing. You can’t speak, you can’t eat, to drink, you gotta take it easy. It’s harsh. Someone described it as barbaric, and it is. I suffer from migraines, and I know that pain. Tonsillectomy pain is right up there! First of, I’m not a dr, but I work in medicine. Take your pain pills, no matter how minor the pain is. Reason being, you want to keep the pain meds working because, the pain medicine is now in your system at a high level bringing your pain down. As the medicine starts to leave your body, the pain begins to increase. To keep the pain at a minimum level, you take the medicine before it’s too low, and the pain is back to being unbearable. Migraine sufferers know this too. Once your pain is at full throttle it’s harder for the medicine to work, and bring the threshold down. You need to trick your brain receptors, before your pain kicks in. That’s TIP #1. To avoid all horrid stories, and someone did mention it already but believe me, I had the smoothest recovery due to TIP #2. ICE WATER! No juice, no water, ICE WATER! I can’t stress it enough. For starters, it feels soothing to the throat, cause at times, it feels like it’s on fire. So that feels good to you. Secondly, the ice water, helps constrict blood vessels, so there’s less bleeding. And lastly, it’ll help keep the swelling down. Besides keeping your body hydrated, you won’t feel any build up in the back of your throat. Sleeping, and being awake is easier after a full day of ICE WATER. After you’re feeling better I do recommend sticking to cold water. And Tip #3 HUMIDIFIER. It was a life saver. I got a humidifier and bought the liquid to pour into it to sooth coughing. Coughing can cause the famous bleed out we’re all trying to avoid after this procedure. I would turn it on at night and sleep like a baby. It keep your room moist, therefore, your throat stays moist, and you don’t wake up feeling like you opened a can of jalapenos during your sleep and ate the whole can. You will have that feeling now and then but it’ll be less. The reason why the throat hurts so much, is because, it dries up and your tongue tends to stick to it. So to avoid that, get yourself a humidifier and ICE WATER, and life should be easier.

    I’m on day Day 19, and I’m still drinking the ice water. I keep feeling like I have a huge chunk of flem stuck somewhere between my throat and my nose. I do suffer from allergies, and my Dr. took out both tonsils, and adnoids. It’s uncomfortable and annoying. A warm steamy shower helps, but when you’re caught in the store during the day, after you already took a shower, the ice water helps. It helps more than cold water. I hope this feeling goes away soon, and it’s nothing to worry about. I’m about to email my Dr. and find out what’s going on.

    To those that already got the surgery, and are in the middle of recovery, Good luck, and I feel your pain. My pain was bareble on Day 9. I wish you a speedy recovery, and I hope my experience helps you, and bring you comfort. I swear, PAIN MEDS EVEN IF YOU DON’T NEED IT, HUMIDIFIER, and ICE WATER, ICE WATER, ICE WATER!!! I hope you find comfort, and I promise it’ll get better as the day go. Hopefully before Day 10. Day 2,6,and 8 were the worst for me. Please take it easy, and do not do anything that you think will hurt you.

    For those of you daring to get this procedure, (sigh) I’m not regretting it, yet. But please know, this isn’t an easy recovery, it’s not a walk in the park. Keep yourself active by going for a small walk and do breathing excersices after the surgery and during recovery. It will be bothersome, but you need clear out your lungs. Take it easy, relax, and any tips you’re reading in this forum, follow them. They will help you. I had a good recovery, no complications, one scare cause I dared look into a mirror. The mirror is not your friend so avoid it. Buy the things you need in advance, and DO NOT GO THROUGH THIS ALONE. Make sure someone is there with you, to help you during recovery, and keep a pen and notepad close. You will need it. Before you to surgery make sure you have these three important things stocked in your fridge. Even if you have and ice maker, ICE, WATER, PAIN MEDS, and a HUMIDIFIER. You will need all. Good luck to you, and may your recovery be a easy too. Best wishes.

    Ps. The white tongue issue, brush gently as far as you can get. Even if it’s just the tip of the tongue. Use mouthwash, even if it’s just to sit on your tongue. As you recover and your able to open your mouth a little wider, you’ll be able to scrub it clean. By DAY 10 mine had cleared. Just be gentle, as your tongue is swollen, and it took a beating during surgery. Chewing gum helps you salivate, which will help you keep your throat moist. This works especially if you’re outdoors for a small walk. Breathing exercises to help clear your lungs too. You don’t want those gases in your lungs. Breath them out, and gently. ICE WATER! and Good luck.

  16. Shannon, I had the white film too. I was concerned it could be oral thrush (which it turns out is common in tonsillectomy.) I started eating yogurt with acidophilus in it every day and mine cleared up in a few days. I believe your doctor can also prescribe probiotics or other medications that could help, but for me the yogurt was enough!

  17. Today is day 9 and it is still really painfull not as bad as every other day. Day 7 was my worst day I was brushing my teeth and spit and started bleeding and had to go to the hospital. But how do you get rid of the white film on your tounge 🙁

  18. Im 20 years old and am on very early hours of day 8, my biggest tips would be:
    Eat toast – soinds crazy but put margarine on it (do it while its hot so it melts) and eat slowly it helps removed the scabs. I ate it from day one.
    Avoid acidic food- my hospital tried to hurt me and gave me orange juice. Dont do it it stings like mad!
    Sugary foods- these caused me major discomfort but alot of people have said differently.
    Mash potato, scrambled eggs, mac and cheese- been my diet with the toast. Eating when ever u can helps with energy levels.
    Water. Water. Water.
    And take ur meds regulary (mine where every 4hrs) even if u dont need them. Mine put me to sleep which helped alot. And if ur in pain take more.. Just dont overdose!

    1. I Ste toast and butter today my day 6 it felt so good like the butter was coating the scab. Plus bread part helps calm your stomach from all the medicine. Toast rocks!!!!

  19. I had my tonsils out on August 31 at age 29 (on day seven now!).

    The best tip I could give concerns what was undoubtedly the worst part (so far!) of my experience.. waking up at 3 AM on day five to an absolute rush of blood pouring from my throat that I couldn’t seem to stop. My mother was staying over to help me out and we both panicked- there seemed to be so much blood everywhere and we were both too frazzled to concern the situation and frustrated because we could not communicate (since I couldn’t talk at that stage). Even calling the doctor didn’t seem to help us as we both freaked out more and started packing to head to the ER. The story has a happy ending though as we were able to stop the bleeding. Here are my tips in case you have this worse-case-scenario! (my understanding is that my experience isn’t very common!)

    – first: Don’t freak out, keep your wits about you! When you run around crazed, you raise your blood pressure, and this will only make the bleeding worse. Calm yourself down by whatever means.

    – second: It looks like more blood than it is… and now that you’re looking at it, a lot of those are clots. That’s good, because that means it isn’t necessarily new blood.

    – third: Cold, cold, cold! Cold makes your blood vessels contract, and this will stop the bleeding. Put a cold compress on your throat, swish ice water in your mouth and spit it out (don’t swallow blood, it will make you nauseated or worse, throw up later), suck on an ice cube if you can.

    – fourth and last: If you have an experience like this and have an anti-nausea Rx from your doctor, I’d recommend taking some after the bleeding has stopped. I had swallowed so much blood that I ended up throwing up twice to the point of dry heaves afterwards.. in my opinion, probably the worst follow-up to what had happened. Once I took my anti-nausea medication I didn’t throw up anymore.

    Sorry to present such a gross story, but as this was a terrifying experience for me, I only hope that what I learned can serve to help someone else deal with the same situation much, much better!

    1. Because of read this a few days ago.. waking up a half hour ago, spitting up blood wasn’t as bad as it could have been!! THANK YOU!

  20. i just had my surgery on friday and here its now tuesday and its the 4th day since then and i mostly feel sleepy dizzy my stomach pain is going down a bit but it only hurts when i sit up not like a stomach ache the insides of your stomach hurt i haven’t ate any thing solid even though I ATTEMPTED to do so but i just want the day when i can eat all the solid foods i want

  21. I am 9 weeks post op. I had major complications due to bleeding and how infected/large my tonsils and adenoids were. My Tip …. Even weeks after the surgery if you feel like something is wrong IT IS! Keep calling, get help. My ENT wouldn’t take time to look at my throat before ordering a major test. I went to my family Dr. and with in 2 minutes we knew I had a major infection of Thrush which can be very common especially if your diet changed dramatically. Easy, quick simple fix that didn’t cost me thousands of dollars. Be your Own advocate and Trust you know your body and be proactive!

  22. Hey all, I’m a 17 year old girl. I just got my tonsils out on August 21st so I’m on day 6 of my post-op recovery. Like everyone else has said many times: DRINK WATER. Lots of it. I read that you should be drinking at least 8 ounces of water per hour on the first few days of your recovery. Also on the first couple of days, do NOT try your luck with solids. I thought it was okay to have spaghettios but I ended up getting whole O’s stuck in my tonsil beds. The most important thing is to take it easy and rest. It’s okay to feel sorry for yourself as this is a much harder recovery than most people will give you credit for. Relax, drink lots of fluids, take your medications, and you’ll have a much swifter recovery. However, if you feel that you aren’t ready to move up to solids or dairy, don’t push it. Your mouth will thank you for it later. One last bit of advice: don’t be afraid to call your surgeon. They’re there for that exact reason and if something doesn’t seem normal, don’t hesitate to give him/her a call. Better safe than sorry!

  23. Hello. I am 46 years old and today is day 12 of my tonsillectomy recovery. This site has been especially helpful in preparing as well recovering from the tonsillectomy. Because of all the information here, I can say that I have had a great recovery with very little pain. I was expecting the worst, prepared for the worst but fortunately it has been very good. Some of the things that I did are what has been stated here many times. I started drinking water as soon as I could despite the discomfort. I sipped on water constantly! I took the pain medicine faithfully and on schedule, even if I thought I didn’t need it. I kept the humidifier running all the time. I also found that taking a nice hot shower gave additional relief to the discomfort. Another thing that I did was to get as much protein as possible to assist the healing process, so I ate lightly scrambled eggs daily, but that started on day 2. Day one was nothing more than chicken broth. Some have suggested drinking Ensure, but during day 1-4, it caused too much burning. Day 5 and beyond, Ensure was more pleasing to my throat and providing the additional needed nutrition. I also used Choraseptic spray. It really helped with that annoying feeling you get in the back of the throat and made any pain/discomfort far more manageable. Lightly season mashed potatoes for some reason worked really well in soothing my throat after day 5 and beyond. I also avoided speaking as much as possible. Starting on day 3, I gargle with salt water daily to remove any debris.
    I know I read so many frightening stories here and really feel sorry for those that have suffered so much. But I wanted to let those who are getting ready for the procedure is that this doesn’t have to be the worst thing ever. This experience was not the painful thing I thought it would be, and I really think it is due to following the advice of others on this site. My recovery continues, but it is truly pain-free at this point.

  24. Hello I’m 21 years old and I just got my tonsils out about three weeks ago. I would suggest that you drink as much fluids as you can to stay hydrated! It’s really important and will help you with the healing process. I would suggest staying away from any type of dairy fluids so that way there’s so build up in the back of your throat. Tired it one of the days, and it wasnt so pleasant. Spend a while in the bathroom trying to mouth wash everything out. I would suggest getting multi vitamins & the juice form of ensure. It helps me a lot to keep my health up. I’m normally about 115 pounds and very small, and I lost about 15 pounds. So I would suggest trying to eat little bits of roman noodles, and try eating mashed potatoes, jello, get lots of rest! Chicken noodle soup at a room temperature I was able to eat and tomato soup at a room temp so it would burn doing done was good. ANYTHING I could eat was good. Hope this helps you!

  25. I am 45 and had my tonsils out on the 16th August. I bought some ‘Manuka’ Honey which is honey that comes from a certain area in New Zealand. It has been prooven to have great healing qualities. I have been taking about half a teaspoon 2 to 3 times a day. Just letting it coat the back of my throat and tonsils. I think this has really helped and I feel like it directly helps the healing of the tonsils.
    It is not cheap, and you will most likely find it at a health food store or Chemist. Try and get some with a high active ingredient UMF18 or so.

    Another thing i think helped was recommended by a natropath is called Traumeel’s – It’s a homeopathic Natural Anti-Inflammatory tablet for temporay relief of Soft tissue trauma. You just pop one under your tongue and let it disolve for about 10 minutes. I would suggest googling both these for more information.

    I hope this is helpful for some of you.

  26. I am here to post a few of my “tips” I learned, each case may be different but I have come across unique ways to help that I haven’t read online. First off I am 20 years old, I live alone so I endured most of this alone. Something I did to make taking medicine easier (All liquids for me) I pre-measured and put them in dixie cups and wrapped the top of them, easy to grab and go when I wasn’t feeling well, also worry free on dishes. I suggest applesauce, it has diffrent flavors/sugar levels, plus it is great frozen. I also had a form of pain killer that was chewable, I smashed it and put it in the applesauce. I avoided all dairy. I also really enjoyed having “Puffcorn by Frito Lays” it litterally melts in your mouth so it doesnt hurt a bit swallowing. I tried soup, mac n cheese, and mashed potatoes. The mashed went alright, but for noodles I had a problem with them sticking to the back of my throat, and they took forever to get unstuck. I am going on day 6, and I am still in a ton of pain. Hope this helps.

    1. Hi Kelly, I had my tonsils out 2 weeks and 4 days ago and I felt so rough up until about 10 days after. I’m still suffering with ear ache and yawning is very painful but I’m doing ok. Chin up it does get better quicker after the first 10 days, I know it hurts and eating is tough but its so important.

  27. I am 19 years old and I had my tonsils and adenoids removed on August 2nd, so that makes today day 12. Since day 10, I haven’t felt too much pain and I’ve been happy with my surgery and my recovery. The first five days were not very tough in terms of pain. The pain only came when I was swallowing on these days, so I stuck to liquids i.e. water, soup broth, and vitamin water. I also was able to eat chicken noodle soup and this was an absolute god-send.

    So first tip, buy a lot of chicken noodle soup! It’s very soft, not rough on the tonsil bed, and the protein and salts help a great deal. Second tip, when people tell you to drink ice water every waking hour or even more often, do it. The first few days are crucial in getting nutrients and fluids, as the real pain hasn’t started yet.

    Days 6-8 were the worst days in terms of pain. This is when the tonsils begin “sloughing” off, and the pain gets worse. The worst time for pain is waking in the mornings after a long sleep. I’ve found that tip three: buy a humidifier works a great deal. Although I had a humidifier running while I was asleep, the water ran out by a few hours before I woke up. This meant a dry throat, and thus a painful throat. This brings me to tip 4, and in my mind, the most important: When you wake in the mornings and are in a great deal of pain, relax. Don’t move, don’t pout, and don’t swallow your pain pills just yet. Just sit in your bed for a few minutes and endure the pain. You’ll notice that your mouth and throat will moisten and the pain eventually subsides enough to take some sips of water and your pain pills. On days 6 and 7, I employed this strategy and I found the pain was pretty manageable, which brings me to tip 5: Don’t panic, you can manage the pain if you act smart. Keep in mind, I didn’t once use any of the 15mg oxycontin I was prescribed, I just stuck to Tylenol 500mg.

    According to many articles and stories I’ve read, days 8-10 are when post-operative bleeding can occur, and that can set you back days in terms of pain, food intake, and ultimately recovery. So take it easy on these days, even though you may feel if you can take on the world with the decreased pain you are feeling. Don’t go back to your normal diet just yet. Keep with the softer foods.

    Another tip: Don’t talk too much. I’ve found that it caused a lot more pain and made me able to smell my own breath, which is absolutely gross.

    I’ve also read that the manner in which the surgery is performed can change the amount of pain. My surgeon used the harmonic scalpel technique which uses a machine that vibrates 55 kHz, which means it vibrates back and forth 5,000 times a second. This apparently causes less trauma on the tonsil bed than the more widely used electrocautery method, which burns the wounds closed. Just a thought to look into when you still haven’t had the surgery.

    Just remember you’re going to get through this in a couple days and think of all the fun you’ll have without your tonsils. Also, read this forum and compare yourself to some of the horror stories people have experienced on the same day as you. Understand that they’re still alive and survived their horrors, and that you can too.

  28. I am 23 and had my tonsils and adenoids taken out on July 20, so tomorrow I will bw 2 weeks post op. I still have some soreness when I swollow. It feels like a mild case of strep throat. My biggest tip would probably be the same as most everyone else’s and that is to drink plenty of water. Force yourselft to drink, even when you think you cant. It will really help. Also, set alarms to go off periodically during night so that you wake up todrink water/catch up on pain pills. If you dont, you will regret it the next morning when you wake up and your mouth is dry and you are in a lot of pain. I fould that when I did wake up in the morning in pain, a hot shower helped because I was breathing in the steam from the shower. Also, I did eat a lot of Macaroni and Cheese. I would suggest that, unless your doctor says otherwise, dont eat solid foods until you are absolutely ready. i made the mistake of eating solid foods before i was ready, and I regretted it. I didnt have any medical problems because of it, but it just hurt a lot. I also ate A LOT of Italian Ice. It was pretty much my savior. Luigi’s is the best in my opinion. I also had different people coming over every day during the first week to me with me, so that one person didn’t get too annoyed with me. It was also nice to see all of my friends that week. Good luck to people who are going through this now and in the future! It was a long 2 weeks, and im still in pain, but I know that in the end it will be worth it when I am not having strep throat and ear infections anymore.

  29. I got my tonsils removed on July 19th–so that makes today post-op day 8 and I developed the white film on my tongue sometime between day 2/3 and experienced horrible breath around that time too. I read another website that someone’s doctor suggested a toothpaste with a baking soda base—like arm&hammer. I got the arm&hammer breath freshening toothpaste on Wednesday and the white film on my tongue is completely gone! Between the toothpaste and gargling saltwater after meals– my breath is not too shabby.

    1. I’m 55 and had mine out same day as you. I also had the spots on my tongue and all over my cheeks but doctor didn’t think it was thrush. Ate yogurt with Acideophilus and it went away. Didn’t have the breath issue. My scabs have not all fallen off yet so I stll have pain when swallowing. How are you doing on our day 12?

  30. I am 23, female, had my tonsillectomy on June 20th. This will be a horror story. I tried my best to drink tons of water, gatorade, jello, soup with some noodles in it.. anything of that sort.. freezies.. etc..kept up on the meds, and antibiotics.. and by day 9 i was feeling good enough to eat something, so i did (a piece of fried fish which i chewed a million times and washed down with tons of water)
    I was fine, or so I thought.. sometime after i ate, i had to call my cell phone provider to clear something up and so i had been talking, and while talking i noticed i was swallowing an awful lot.. i spit and it was pure red blood. i almost lost it.. went upstairs to my apt and showed my mom what was going on.. i relaxed, and about 5 mins later it seemed to subside. next day, a saturday.. the folks decide to go out and grab coffee and whatnot.. around this time, i was still half asleep, in and out of wakefulness.. about 10 mins after they left, i noticed i was doing the same swallowing thing.. NOT normal.. went to the bathroom and i was GUSHING blood.. i mean absolutely POURING out. i called them in a panic and told them not to go far because it looks like i need to be rushed to the ER.. right before i got up on the bed in the hospital to be put on an IV, i gagged/coughed out a blood clot bigger than a golf ball.. once they hooked me up to the machines and i calmed down i was able to form a clot that stayed.. and tried to remain calm.. a little while after that, the ENT came, said it looks like i had a vessel going off and id have to go back under.. great.. waited forever, trying to keep a clot that had formed in place.. right before they wheeled me into the operating room the seal broke and i was again drowning in my own blood.. they pumped my stomach, and i even threw up additional blood twice once i came to. all in all about a liter of lost blood.. and a night in the hospital. fast forward to this morning.. (july 4th, a wednesday) BLEEDING AGAIN (are you f-ing kidding me?) called my mom to come and take me to the ER.. bleeding wasnt nearly as severe this time but it was coming from the same side.. saw the ENT who did the surgery the first time around and by the time i saw him, everything had seemed to clear up on its own. not even a clot to be seen. he did some chemical cauterization on the spot and asked how close i live to the hospital.. said hed be happy to admit me but that id probably be more comfortable at home especially if i live so close. they say this doesnt happen much but that it does happen.. of course, i would be the one it happens to.. now i am scared for a few more days that this could happen again in a deep sleep.. im keeping my fingers crossed. i begged to have this procedure more than 5 years ago and was dismissed by a quack of a doctor.. my tonsils would get so infected i needed to take 3 extra strength advils at a time just to even function slightly (the daily limit of ibuprofen recommended..) point of my story is, no matter how good you feel or how hungry you get- stick to the liquids and stuff, especially the older you are. and try to have this operation as young as possible.. the blood vessels in my mouth seem to be trouble, but everyone is different.. tons of water, and be careful with certain antibiotics.. ive had bad reactions to clindamycin (ranging from difficulty/painful swallowing to a hopelessly raging yeast infection 🙁 it also renders the pill useless so i have also been menstruating outside of the time i should be.. as if i need that right now) make sure to drink milk or eat some pudding/rice pudding/tapioca before and a little bit after taking this medication, it is wicked..

  31. Sorry! I ran out of room and had to begin a new post
    MY TIP LIST continued from my post below:

    7. SUNSHINE! If you can, go outside everyday and enjoy a little sunshine.
    8. Do not take pain meds on empty stomach no matter how much it hurts to swallow. I dipped little bits of bread in soup broth and ate those before taking my meds. This worked great!

    O.K. I think that’s it! Good luck to anyone reading this who is about to have your surgery. It does suck, but it will be worth it in the end! If I could get through it, you can get through it!
    Also, thank you Greg for starting this VERY helpful website. At first I was mad that I found it because it scared the sh_t out of me; however, if I had not found it I would not have been prepared AT ALL! So thank you bunches!!!!!! 🙂

  32. Going back to work tomorrow, yay! So here are my tips for all those about to have a tonsillectomy, some are repeats and some are not:
    1. Begin a stool softener the day before your surgery and continue to take one throughout your recovery. The pain meds cause major constipation!
    2. Drink fluids- LOTS of them, particularly water. Iced tea is also great b/c it contains some healing components.
    3. humidifer is a DEFINITE! Run it 24/7.
    4. Take two weeks off from work.
    5. CHEWING GUM!!!! I think it saved me at times! I went through about ten packs, no joke. Also, sipping on PEPPERMINT TEA was great!
    6. Because days one and two are so easy in terms of pain, try to get in as much healthy food as possible which will help speed up recovery. Use juicer and blender to make veggie and fruit drink concoctions. Once day three hits, the pain is so unbearable and it becomes more difficult to think “healthy”.

    1. When I was a little girl and had a ear ache my mom would have me put cotton balls in them to help keep air out. Day 5 was the worst so I tried it and it worked. Making sure to breath through pain like child labor has also been a blessing. I thank Greg for this site for this was the only way I have been surviving through this. I pray for everyones quick recovery and good luck! 🙂

      1. I just wanted to piggyback on your thanks for this site. I have lived here this week. Also the breathing thing is all that is keeping me sane. Day 6 is not fun but remember the human body is capable of many things and this shall pass.

  33. Hello fellow tonsillectomy patients!
    I am 23 years old and had my tonsils out 7 days ago. Reading all kinds of horror stories online i wasn’t sure what to expect so I prepared for the worst. At one week I am still in a pretty severe amount of pain. My experience has not been very easy, but definately not as bad as some of the other horror stories ive heard. I try to eat about 30 mins after taking the meds so they have kicked in. I have been eating some kraft dinner, many many popsicles, and drinking vitamin water. I find having a popsicle before eating something else like KD helps to dull the pain a bit. My suggestions to anyone preparing for thier recovery would be to get tones of popsicles! lots of different kinds and flavours though. stay on top of the pain killers, get lots of books and movies, have a humidifier running 24/7, book 2 weeks off work (i only took 1 and now im having to find ppl to cover my shifts for this second week) and keep the fridge stocked with water, vitamin water, gatorade. Also a good idea to get some stool softeners from the pharmacy as the painkillers tend to plug you up, as well as some gravol cause they can also make you queezyy and have the added bonus of helping you sleep. As painful as this experience has been i do not regret it, because i know it will all be worth it in the long run. Short term pain for long term gain!

  34. Hi I am 47 and on day 6 of my recovery process…..it is a process, isn’t it?!! As a child I had many many years of tonsillitus and strep….Dr. won’t not take them out. As I got older I developed crypts and stones….I had finally had it and decided BEFORE I found this awesome websit to go ahead and finally have them out. Funny I had been to 2 other ENT’s . in my life about these problems and no one ever said they were stones and this is how you get rid of them….or atleast try….Until dr. Rounds. But at 47 I was done….Just wanted them out. I feel like my story for my recovery so far has not been too involved….I hope it doesn’t get much worse than this. My Dr. did say 3 weeks before you will be feel better! And, let me tell you, Man this RX i’m taking is kicking my butt! I have done the same as others….. reduced the dose and I have been taking it every 2-4 hours as needed. I need to be in control…..I was not in control with that mix in me! I have started to take the liquid over the counter Tylenol as well.
    My best friends right now are, ice packs, Jell-o and ice Chips. I’ll keep checking in as the days go on…. ,

    1. I’m 44 and I have never felt this defeated before! I’m in excruciating pain and down 13 pounds since my surgery on Monday 🙁

    2. I can so relate. I am on day 12 and I am 55. It it is the most brutal surgery I’ve ever had. I still have scabs so some tenderness and pain in my throat. I’m glad your pain reliever worked for you. After day 8, I was on Lortab and didn’t the doctors notice this contains alcohol? At this point in your recovery, how are you feeling? Was it worth all this?

  35. Surgery date was 6/21/12 so this makes today my day 8. I’m 23 yrs old. I’ve had constant problems with strep and tonsillitis since I was a kid and finally just got sick of being sick all the time so talked to my ent about a tonsillectomy, to which he agreed would be beneficial but warned me that the recovery was no easy process. So, I decided to look up information about other people’s recoveries. Needless to say, after reading some stories on here I freaked out (i actually called my mom and my fiancé crying my eyes out telling them I didn’t think I could go through with it anymore). Then I really thought hard about having 10-14 pretty bad days to have no more throat pain for the rest of my life and decided it was worth it. Before hand I decided to heed the advice of many people on here and bought the following items:
    1. Ice packs (3 so I could rotate using them and always had a fresh one)
    2. Bags of ice (to suck on)
    3. Jello
    4. Pudding
    5. Gogurt
    6. Instant mashed potatoes
    7. Chicken broth
    8. White board (no talking!)
    9. Liquid acetomeniphen
    I also read that many people had a hard time opening their mouths wide because of jaw pain do I bought a child’s tooth brush so it wouldn’t hurt to get a small tooth brush on my back teeth.
    I was also very worried about BM’s because I already have problems in that area. So I decided to buy powdered fiber (Metamucil has a flavorless colorless powder you can put in practically anything, I even put it in plain water). It was a LIFESAVER!I was never constipated at all.
    So now I’ve made it to day 8. Days 1 through 3 I really felt okay. Sure my throat was sore but it wasn’t anything I’d never experienced. It steadily got worse from there though. But it wasn’t anything I couldn’t handle. I made sure to have a glass of ice water next to me at all times (I tried powerade and Gatorade but both stung my throat a bit).
    Days 3 and 4 I lived on chicken broth with soaked butter bread.
    You must remember that as much as it hurts to eat, if you don’t eat then take your medicine sure it’s gonna take your pain away (for 10 mins) then your stomach is going to be upset for 2 hours. So always eat.
    I would say day 6 was the worst for me… I was extremely tired on night 6 so when my alarm went off for my 3 am meds I turned it off and never got up to take them. Then I woke up at 6:45 (2:45 past my meds time) and literally was in literally the worst pain of my life (worse than the worst contractions I had with my first child). So, lesson here is NEVER miss a dose. EVER.
    Day 7- my meds started to not be as potent so my dr suggested instead of taking 1 tbsp of lortab every 4 hours, take 1/2 tbsp every 2 hours. I’ve continued this to today and it has worked much better for me.
    Now it’s day 8. Still taking 1/2 tbsp every 2 hrs and it’s been working well. My only problem has really been ear and jaw pain. It feels a lot like when your wisdom teeth come in. But the meds take care of it. Today I could also talk quite a bit more (this past week I spoke as little as possible). So, in my opinion… If you have been plagued with tonsillitis and strep throat your entire life then I would recommend having this procedure done. But, get yourself prepared not only with tangible things but also mentally. This is by far no walk in the park but I feel if you have educated and prepared yourself then you will do just fine.

    I hope this was helpful and good luck!!

  36. Hi, im on day 7 of recovery and it hasnt been to bad. I have a very low tolerance for pain and discomfort and i must say that this experience has been very managable. A definite must have is orange and lime sherbet…its very filling as well as soothing to the throat…along with drinking plenty of water i noticed that chewing gum helps relieve some of the stiffness in the jaw and it keeps your throat from becoming extremely dry as u sleep….just some things that have helped me!

  37. Hi All,

    If I were planning a tonsillectomy today, Here is what I would do. Many things I did, some I did not.

    1. Read this site.
    2. Take 3 weeks off of work.
    3. Ask the doctor about thrush, and plan for the potential.
    4. Take pain meds round the clock, every 4 hours, for at least a week.
    5. Ask the doctor about pain med withdrawal.
    6. Remember that days 5 – 10 are the pits, and it does get better.
    7. Don’t talk a lot.
    8. No matter how hungry you are, don’t try a lot of solid food on days 9 – 11.
    9. Drink water, at least 1 glass an hour, round the clock.
    10. Plan to have an emesis basin or cup around to spit phlegm in during week 2.
    11. Ask the doctor about sublingual tonsils, and if those are a problem as well.
    12. Have the tonsillectomy at 9, and not 39! 🙂
    13. Have a support system. Being alone by day 4 plus lots of pain meds = fall risk.
    14. Sleep upright for at least 2 weeks.
    15. Have a humidifier and lots of gum.
    16. Yawn a lot and stretch your mouth so you can tone the muscles.
    17. You will have to relearn how to swallow. Take small sips and bites.
    18. It’s normal to cry, a lot, on days 4 – 10.
    19. When people say “it isn’t that bad” and “7 year olds are running around by now,” you must ignore it.
    20. Remember how much better you’ll feel and that it is worth it.

    1. Does it really end? Day 14 & still have excruciating pain. I’m functioning, but I am miserable. Age 47, in great shape, muscular, marathon runner. I’ve lost 12 pounds. Blew a clot on day 10, had it cauterized. No improvements at all the last 6 days. I never would have had it done had I known it would be this awful. I feel so defeated.

    2. I agree 100% with this post. I would add an ice collar and stress the liquids. The surgery is bad. Going to the ER for dehydration is worse.

  38. Hi everyone! I had my tonsillectomy and surprise adenoidectomy last Wednesday, so that makes it 6 days post-op for me. I was terrified before I had this procedure. My doctor told me it would be the worst thing I’d ever experienced. She was right for the first three days. After that though the throat pain went down immensely. I haven’t taken any pain medicine at all today. Today I’m just having a lot of nausea, heartburn, and a disgusting taste in my mouth. I really think that the key is to drink as much as possible. If you’re not going to the bathroom every hour you’re not drinking enough. I also had a humidifier and tons of cold water. Make sure your head is elevated when you sleep, and stock up on some Ensure too. You will lose weight with this surgery. I was already underweight and have still managed to lose 6 lbs. After hearing how grossly infected my tonsils and adenoids were I am so glad that I got them removed and I never have to worry about them again.

  39. Hi All,

    I’m on day 6 of my post tonsillectomy healing process and like Nic’s comment, have thought about sticking delicious solid goods in a blender. I am so hungry! I went through the ear pain last night. I was prescribed Oxycodone acetaminophen, and it worked for the first few days, but made me incredibly sleepy. Day 3 I was admitted to the hospital for severe dehydration, and my tongue was incredibly swollen, so swollen that nothing could pass by it. I was a big, drooly mess. Sipping cold water regardless of how much pain I was in helped with the swelling. My room was set up with a humidifier, which helped a ton. In the evenings, I wake up with an abundance of saliva, which is super annoying. Popsicles hurt, and ice cream leaves a mucusy film. The biggest advice I can give to anyone having this procedure is to focus on drinking, and staying hydrated instead of eating solids. The scabs will come off when they’re ready. I’m on day 6, I am starving, but tonight I did manage to have some brothy soup with tiny little pasta stars in it. So far, so good. Looking forward to eating a big, green leafy salad though 🙂

  40. day 5- so hungry i am considering blending pizza, steak and a cheese burger! by far the worst night i have had and my ears are killing me. Taking Pandene fort (codene) Oxyconton (morphine) diflam throat spray and diflam numbing lollies and nurofen kids throat medicine. Feel like a drug addict. Still the pain comes even if i try stay on top of it. One of my stitches came out day 4 which freaked me out a bit but there has been no bleeding which is a good sign. This sucks. My wife is a saviour though. I just hope the snoring has stopped so this hasnt been a waste of time!

  41. I just had my tonsils removed around 10am on June 5th 2012…. I am 19 years old so far this recovery has been completely miserable I have ben vommitong up everything. Then last night started vommiting blood. It hurts so bad in my throat and neck is swelling, ice doesn’t seem to help swelling I am trying to keep myself hydrated with water and ice chips but i seem to be vomiting up everything. And it burns so bad I also cannot keep the liquid percocet down I feel like its very harsh on my empty stomach that can’t even hold water right now. I called my doctor back and they gave me some nausea medication that did not help at all I guess I don’t really know what else I can do luckily I have been sleeping ok. Hopefully the sleep will help . Any other suggestions that may help?

    1. Ah bless you – you are in the thick of the worst bit….this is good although it really is not funny at the time I know. I am on Day 8 today and feel like a human i feel great. Yesterday was good too. The sickness is awful because it causes further irritation and is so stressful. You poor thing, You need lots of love and cuddles. I would get someone to call your doc and get him to review your meds. That’s what i did as mine either made me sick or feel sick a lot of the time. Not pleasant when you need to concentrate on feeling better!!! Get someone to call now and collect some new painkillers and see if this helps you… i have taken Paracetamol every 4-6 hours, Diclofenac 3 x a day and Dyhydrocodeine x1 when the pain was bad. At it’s worst the doc suggested i up the dose of codeine…..OMG on an empty stomach this was not funny. I slept a lot on this high dose but boy was i sick when i woke. I feel for you and i hope you feel better soon x

  42. I am on Day 6 now and my god hope I am through the worst. Days 1 and 2 were a breeze but 3 to 5 were just awful. Threw up last night but think that was beause I was full of meds and had had no food intake as throat just coudn’t hack it. Feeling much soother today. Advice?? Prepare for the worst, hope for the best. Have someone there to look after you. My boyfriend and mum have been worth their weight in gold through this. Drink, drink, drink and take your meds on time to keep that pain barrier up. Sleep too as this is good for recovery just make sure you drink a lot when you are awake. Good luck to anyone that has this op. It is quite stressful but rest assured there is light at the end of the tunnel. Keep going. Maybe i’m not out of woods yet but hope worst is done!!

  43. Today is day 17 and feel like I am close to 100%. I’m a 46 year old who’s had tonsil issues for years, with a tonsillectomy being the last option. To sum up the entire experience, the pain has been not much worse than my worst tonsillitis episodes. I did have a small amount of ear pain but nothing too terrible. Just when I thought I was feeling better, I would have a bad day where I really tried to not talk or do anything. I used Jello (with extra gelatine to make them more solid – 3 boxes Jello, 1 box of Knox, 3-4 cups of water) to get me through the middle days when my appetite returned but throat was too raw for anything else. The lack of extended sleep during the first week drove me nuts but I’m sleeping much better now. The white scabbing in the back of my throat has almost disappeared completely. I ate some boneless buffalo wings over the weekend with minimal pain – but they tasted sooooooo gooooood! One unexpected side effect is that my taste of food has changed slightly, especially when food hits the back of my tongue – I’m hoping it will come back to normal.

    I primarily work from home but did have to visit a customer 3 hours away on Day 7 – all went well. I’ve been able to keep up with email, conference calls, etc and not really miss a beat – essentially not missing a single day besides surgery, which was on a Friday.

  44. Thanks for all the advice everyone. I’m 19 and getting my tonsils removed in 2 days on June 5th (the day after my last final exam for the college year) and am a bit nervous. I only have 1 week for recovery before I must begin my summer job, so I have my fingers crossed for a super fast recovery… Really hoping that doesn’t come back to bite me. I will say that I am sort of looking forward to laying around doing absolutely nothing after a grueling year of classes but still a bit worried about the recovery. I’m loving the suggestions on how to get your veggies in though, and I will definitely be using our blender a lot per your suggestions.

    1. You’re out of your freaking mind!
      I had mine taken out on June 5th and all the food I eat comes out of my nose.
      I’m crying…. You can’t go to work! Stay home and relax
      think about your health first.

  45. Guys….GUUYYSSS!! This isn’t something to worry about. After perusing this page along with many, many other internet sources. I found myself terrified of my upcoming tonsillectomy, especially considering I can’t take more than a week off of work if I plan on making bills in any way, shape or form.
    So…I designed a system…
    Do you have a blender?
    THAT’S ALL YOU NEED.
    As we all know, vegetables and fruits hold the most cell-repairing nutrition out of almost any food on the planet. Plug your nose, steam some high nutrient veggies (like broccoli, brussel sprouts, spinach and carrots) add at lease half of a banana to each blended meal for taste and consistency, and add a plethora of berries, half an apple, fruit juices, WHATEVER YOU CAN to pack in those nutrients and keep your throat willing to swallow the food.
    I promise you, it doesn’t taste that bad at all (especially considering you’ve probably lost a good amount of taste) and my healing is happening AT LEAST twice as fast as ANYONE I’ve seen posting on the internet.
    I had my tonsils AND adenoids removed and turbinate nose surgery, I took a walk the second day, but still spend most of my time on the couch trying to gear up for work on Monday (I just had the procedure on Tuesday) …you do the math. Multivitamins, veggies, veggies, veggies, and fruit with a water-heavy liquid diet will literally exponentially decrease your recovery time…and when I say water-heavy, I’m drinking about 150 ounces a day, that’s an average of 5 nalgene bottles.
    DON’T FORGET THE HUMIDIFIER!!! And as everyone says…take your meds like clockwork!!

    1. Also, don’t forget the ice/ice pops for comfort and keeping the swelling down. The numbing lollies do wonders as well. Oh, and if you’re my age, early 20s, you wouldn’t BELIEVE the release you get from killing a few virtual zombies on left4dead 🙂 good luck to all!

  46. Here are the things that helped me:
    1. Read the articles and posts on this website – expect the worst
    2. Make your caretaker read the articles and posts on this website so they know what to expect as well
    3. Buy extra ice packs so you can alternate and always have something cold to put around your neck
    4. Stock up on your favorite easy to swallow snacks, I found that cinnamon apple sauce was great ice cold. Pudding and jello was ok. I couldn’t do ice cream – it burned going down. Ramen noodles were great around days 3-4. I also tried a single serving size of mashed potatoes and then mixed them with chicken broth to make a very creamy type soup. I couldn’t eat a lot, but it’s amazing he far a few bites will go to help you feel a little more normal.
    5. Borrow or buy a blender if you don’t have one. I used a ‘magic bullet’ system and it was great. I had stocked up on frozen bananas and frozen strawberries. I combined that with Greek yogurt, soy milk, some protein powder, and miralax to make a great smoothie. Again, I didnt eat a lot, but just a few bites really helped me to keep a positive attitude and have some energy.
    6. do not expect to be able to do anything but sleep, drink water, take meds, and ice your neck. For 2 weeks. Just plan on that
    7. I set an alarm day and night to stay on top of my pain meds. This was huge for me. I shared my schedule with my caretaker as there were times when I felt ‘out of it’ and couldn’t remember when I took them last.
    8. I thought it was great to have the surgery during summer. I was able to sit outside and feel the warm sun and get some fresh air. This really helped me to not feel depressed or get too negative. I can’t imagine being locked up inside on pain meds that didn’t allow me to drive and not be able to get outside. If you can, plan to schedule your surgery when you can take advantage of warmer weather.

    I think those were the major lessons I learned. Good luck!

    1. Oh yeah – gum was my best friend. But I did find out that some Drs believe that xylitol can help promote thrush. I had a little bit of thrush and it wasn’t fun. Maybe pick some gum that doesn’t contain xylitol.

  47. Shaved ice with organic honey drizzled over it! Popsicles were sickening to me, jello was not going down, and I didn’t even want water. But dehydration is a major concern, and this solved it! So soothing, natural, and tasty.

  48. Hey all well today I have been sucking losengers all day which has really helped n rotated ibrouphen and co codmol every two hours this has really worked with the ear and throat pain I have also enjoyed some chips with salt n vinger on so hopefully I’m on the path to gettn better as I have real ruff ride last 6 days although I still got tonite to go which is when I get pain the worst lots of luck to everyone xx

  49. I am on day 5 with recovery and wow what a terrible night I had last nyte I am also taking my pain relef every 2 to 2 half as pain is so un bearble I’m hoping that from tommrow I am on the down wood slope to recovery I also wish everyone else lots of quik healing to xxx

  50. Hi guys I got mine out wednesday 23rd I’m not sure if this is day 6 or 7. The first few days were fine. But Sunday rite through to day have been helish!! My uvula is so swolen its on my toungue all the time I’m so down please help me x

  51. I’m on day 11, finally off pain meds, stll sore but no where near as bad as last week. I’ve been having a spoonful of manuka honey everyday since i had my tonsils out, it doesn’t help with the pain at all but its helping my throat heal faster, my scabs are all gone already.

    1. Hi Sinead,

      Glad to hear you’re recovering! I’m very nervous for my scabs to fall off. I’ve read some horror stories. What happens exactly? Is it painful?? I’m on day 7… I’m expecting them to fall off soon…

  52. one thing that i didnt expect was the killer ear pain. the best way i found to deal with it was put on a beanie, tuck an ice pack into a scarf and wrap it around your head.

    1. What a great idea! The hospital gave me a re-fillable ice pack that ties around your neck. It didn’t last long though… this is a great tip! I’m going to try it! Thanks!! Lauren, how are you feeling?

  53. Ok… I have another tip!

    Anestesia & Pain Meds = Constipation. While it doesn’t compare to the pain in our throats… it still sucks to add to the mix.

    I hear prune juice is a wonderful cure. I found the taste of prune juice to be awful, but at almost $8 a jar I wasn’t about to throw out the idea.

    Try this cocktail… blend the following:

    -Handful of Ice
    -1 Pear (skinned)
    -1/2 Strawberry Italian Ice
    -2 scoops of raspberry sorbet
    -1 diced pineapple fruit cup
    -1 splash of “Ensure Clear” orange flavor
    -1 Cup (-ish) of the dreaded prune juice

    Blend & Enjoy!

    (obviously you can substitute for whatever other frozen tonsillectomy weapons you have in your freezing arsenal)

    …Not bad, huh??

    ps- this is my 2nd day of recovery

    1. Kathleen, how is your recovery going? I am a few days behind you in recovery and thought I would check in and see how you are doing.

      1. Hi Laurie!

        I’m doing ok! Thanks for asking! Each day has been a little worse than the day before. I usually consider myself to be pretty tough when it comes to being sick, or dealing with pain… but I think that the length of this recovery process with little/no improvement really wears on you. My spirits were really down this weekend. A couple of family members kidnapped me and took me to their house for a change of scenery & some company. I wasn’t sure if I felt up to it, but I packed a cooler with frozen waters & treats (& meds of course) and let them take care of me. It was SO nice to get out of the house & go out for ice cream 🙂

        I think for your sanity, if you feel up to it. Get out if you can!! (Don’t push it of course)

        Tonight I ate my first meal & wasn’t in complete agony!! (just a little) It was chicken pot pie! The veggies were really soft & the gravy doesn’t sting!

        How are YOU doing?!?! This forum is so wonderful for support! I hope you’re recovery is going well!

        1. Hi Kathleen! Yes, this forum is awesome for those of us crazy enought to tackle this recovery! I am doing well, I think. We have a lake cottage a few miles from our home so I’ve spent some time relaxing out there with my pain meds and cool treats. Everyone knows that I had the procedure done, so no one is pushing me to talk.

          A good college friend is coming over today so I am looking forward to that. I’ve found that keeping th outside of my neck wrapped in cold packs is very helpful. I am not sleeping too much since I take my meds every two hours, but it seems to manage the pain. Today I am going to stock up on sme movies in my Netflix que so I have something to watch when I decide to get up at 2:30a.m.!!

          I am glad to know that your friends supported you well this weekend, it is necessary!! Let’s keep in touch on here…more support during any tough times!I

  54. I’m on day 2 of my recovery from my tonsillectomy. It was my 26th birthday, and despite the pain… I think finally being rid of my tonsil problems is going to be a great birthday present!

    Anyway, I’ve heard a lot of horror stories about vomiting from the pain medicine. In an effort to try and avoid that horrible situation, I’ve been trying to put something in my stomach.

    Day#1: I boiled artichokes like crazy. I dipped the leaves in a mayo & curry sauce and just the little bit from the leaves was enough to make me feel full.

    Day#2: My boyfriend made me mashed potatoes. I boiled some carrots, celery, and garlic in chicken broth (for a long time)…. and then dumped all of it in a blender (add some more broth to lighten it up if you’d like). It was divine!! I prefer “savory” over sweet so popsicles can get a little boring. Surprisingly the warm temperature was very soothing on my throat.

    I also attempted some mac & cheese with a TON of milk… almost soup. But, like others have warned, the dairy really builds up mucus and that’s a horrible feeling. Which brings me to my next blessing from the fridge… Poland Spring Sparkling Water (I love the orange flavor)… the bubbles are great for clearing the back of your throat. I’ve tried ginger ale & diet coke which were ok… but they don’t have the ‘bubble power’ like the poland spring.

    Anyway, I’ve tried to time my eating until about a half hour after I’ve taken my pain med dose so help with the pain. I’ve started to take it a little more frequently than I was prescribed.

    Also… I’ve been experiencing a TON of pain throughout my whole body. It feels like I did a 5 hour workout at the gym (which obviously didn’t happen)! My legs, arms, abs, back are in so much pain!! Has anyone else experienced this?! Or can anyone offer suggestions as to what may have caused it???

    I’m praying that tonight goes smoothly. Good luck to all of my fellow tonsillectomy patients. I keep imagining how wonderful it’s going to be to be tonsil-free!!!!

  55. I would recommend stocking up on a variety of soft foods. Emphasis on variety. I just had my tonsils out 5 days ago and I am so glad I got a large selection of things to choose from. The variety helps me not feel so hungry even though I am not eating nearly my normal amount. It also helps to have a selection of food for various pain levels. There are times when to only thing I can tolerate is jello. There are other times when I can eat French fries. Variety variety variety has been a big factor in my recovery. Just one more thing to keep in mind.

  56. I was operated on the 7th of January and today I still suffer from throat dryness for reasons I can’t understand. Though the usual pains I used to feel is no longer there, I still feel like there in plastic bag pushed into my throat and with constant dryness. I really hate my self because of that pains I irregularly get.

    I have not consulted my Dr about the condition but I feel my thing was not removed that is why I continue to get this unpleasant felling and smell.

    Any body who has similar experience should share with me.

    Regards

  57. If I was planning my tonsillectomy, this is what I would do differently…Well, because of the amazing support on this site, I had a plan in place and it really helped me get through it. If I could offer a few kernels of advice they would be:

    1. Expect to take 2 weeks off from work. You may not need it, but you likely will.
    2. Have someone be with your for the first 4-5 days if at all possible.
    2. Expect, at various points in your recovery to have significant pain, even WITH prescription painkillers on board.

    My experience with this entire process is that is definitely a battle of mind over matter. Know going into this, that you will likely have significant post-op pain for about 10 days to possibly 2 weeks. Knowing this, you WILL be able to handle it when it comes. Remind yourself every day that this pain is a PART of the healing process and though it stinks, it’s a necessary evil to get to the end point of your healing.

    If you can mentally steel yourself for this discomfort, and follow the tips on this board to handle those discomforts, you will come through just fine! 🙂

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