Tonsillectomy Tips Greg Tooke La Crosse, WI
Tonsillectomy Tips From Greg
Child Tonsillectomy recovery
Please help keep this going!

Pain after tonsillectomy is inevitable. Tips for easier tonsillectomy recovery from patients who have been through it. What to eat, dealing with scabs and bleeding, managing pain, and shortening recovery time.

Tonsillectomy and its subsequent recovery is no picnic, especially for an adult. Welcome to Tonsillectomy Recovery Resources. Whether you’re considering, planning, or recovering from the procedure, you’ll find all the information you will need to make the best decision about tonsil surgery. You’ll also learn how to get the best care after tonsillectomy. I’ll also help you prepare for your tonsillectomy by laying out simple steps that will make the day of surgery easier and help you to be more comfortable as you recover.

Together we are stronger.  Share your experience. Read about why I got my tonsils out and what I learned

Top 10 Tonsillectomy Recovery Tips

Though I’ve added to the initial 10, these are my top  tips for anyone preparing for, or recovering from tonsillectomy surgery:

  • Drink cold fluids
  • Continue to drink cold fluids
  • Drink more cold fluids! This is perhaps the single most important tip to make life easier while speeding up your recovery period.
  • Get a good cool air humidifier and run it all the time in the room you’re in.  Consider having more than one for the primary rooms you’ll be spending time in. To monitor humidity levels pick up one of these. Enter the code: TONSIL for a 25% discount! Humidity Station
  • Don’t worry about sleep. Forget the normal time convention. Sleep for short intervals, preferably in a recliner. Sleep can be your worst enemy. Sleeping a few hours in a bed usually results in a dry throat that hurts like crazy. It can take almost an hour to get the pain back under control.
  • Keep a written log of your medications as you take them. It’s easy to forget what you’ve taken and when. If you would have problems that require help from the doctor, it can come in handy.
  • Read about others’ experiences and share your own. (Check out the tonsillectomy  forum)
  • Plan ahead! Stock up on items you’ll need ahead of time.
  • Take something with your pain medicine. Carnation Instant Breakfast or Ensure will at least provide a base in your stomach and reduce nausea.
  • Drink ice cold liquids!

A few bonus tips- 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 reader, 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.




  1. 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!

  2. 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.

        2. 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!!

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

    1. Hey! Thanks for sharing your experience Dave. At day 8, you should be rounding the bend. Hope things smooth out for you soon. Take care.

Comments are closed.