Swollen Tonsils

Why Swollen Tonsils?

Swollen Tonsils
Swollen Tonsils

Causes of Enlarged Tonsils


Swollen tonsils occur in various people for various reasons. Many people are born with them. As a kid I always had tonsils like golf balls. Anytime I’d go into the doctor with a sore throat, which I did quite often, I’d always hear about it. “Oh my! Those are some big tonsils!” Yep. Of course, with inflammation or infection, they’d become even more enlarged.

Most people born with larger tonsils also have larger crevices, or crypts in them. This can lead to tonsil stones, (Tonsilloths), food getting stuck, and higher incidence of tonsillitis and strep infection. Enlarged tonsils can also contribute to snoring and, in some cases, sleep apnea. Difficulty in swallowing is also common.


For most people, enlarged tonsils occur when the throat becomes inflamed. Tonsillitis is the general term for inflammation of the tonsils. It can be caused by virus or bacterial infection. Bacterial infections like strep throat should be treated with antibiotics to avoid further complications. Viral tonsillitis generally must run its course and does not respond to antibiotics. People with recurrent infections, tonsillitis, tonsils stones, problems swallowing or excessive snoring, may decide to have their tonsils removed. If you suffer from one or more of these symptoms, I strongly recommend talking with your doctor about tonsillectomy.


In some cases, enlarged tonsils can be caused by a cancer. Usually one of the tonsils is more enlarged than the other. (Not all cases of single enlarged tonsils are the result of cancer. See your doctor. If your doctor feels it is warranted, he or she may refer you to an ENT. (Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist) A biopsy is usually taken from the affected tonsil to determine whether cancer is present.



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