Top 10 Tonsillectomy Recovery Tips
Though I’ve added to the initial 10, these are my top tonsillectomy 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.
- 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.
- Plan ahead! Stock up on items you’ll need ahead of time for your tonsillectomy recovery.
- 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 for better tonsillectomy recovery time:
- 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 Tonsillectomy Recovery General Store.
Some Extra Tips – After Tonsils are removed:
- It’s REALLY important that you drink. I know it’s almost impossible at times, but you must. A trick I used was to use Cloraseptic (sp?) numbing spray. (There’s also a lollipop your doc or pharmacist might know of)- to numb the throat a bit. Then I’d take the medicine. Once the meds kicked in (1/2 hour?), then I’d try to eat. My favorite foods at first were Jell-o and creamed soups. (sweet potato or broccoli by V-8 were good)
- You must keep drinking it helps your throat heal and keeps you hydrated. One gal, a nurse, said she went to an emergency room and demanded IV fluids. Wow! Maybe not such a bad idea!
-Greg Tooke My short bio
I am so appreciative that you made a site for REAL info on this. A lifetime of strep that always ended up in the ER turned into a constant recurrent tonsil abscess. I am finally approved to have them removed after fighting this last abscess for 4 months. At least I’m not in ICU this time. My spouse thinks this is simple and just like children’s. I’m terrified. My receptors do not bind with demerol or morphine. Tylenol or ibuprofen are my only choices and dalaudid (sp?) for surgeries. What in the world could I possibly take to make this bearable? I don’t even know what to ask for! I can’t live this way, I’m lethargic and can’t stop crying. I’m fighting 104 degree Temps, while still maintaining the home to a spotless degree with all the strength i can muster. I’m so scared to go without pain help and to try and heal in my “suck it up buttercup” miserable home that empathy is not a part of. And so I cry more. I know it’s just 2 weeks. And I will have strength again! But can I do this?
Hi Wendy. Hang in there. It’s tough but it’s temporary. Stay hydrated. I’ve heard that alternating Tylenol with Ibuprofen is very effective for pain.
Hi, I’m Cathy and I’m 65 years of age. I had larger sized tonsils and one was larger. My ENT wanted to do a biopsy but then wanted to take them out. I said, no, please do biopsy first. Day I was wheeled in to surgery he stood over me, gave me a form to sign saying I okayed him to take them both out if he felt he should. Talk about last minute. Woke up, tonsils gone. Got a call from him today saying biopsy on tonsils negative. I’ve been suffering from lack of sleep for days. I’m on day six of recovery. I love your site. So caring and helpful, way better than my doctor (getting a new one). My biggest problem is the post nasal drip when I try to sleep which wakes me up coughing with that causing pain. I just need sleep. But reading what you’ve wrote makes me feel better. Just wanted to say thank you!
Hi Cathy! Thanks for posting. So glad my site has helped! Have you tried sleeping in an upright position?- like in a recliner?
Hello. 27 year old rachel from Washington here. I had my tonsils and adenoids removed 5 days ago. I, like most of you did a bunch of research and kind of freaked myself out. I figured after growing up with constant strep throat and ear infections that the pain from surgery wouldn’t be much more than I could handle. But then after reading every ones horror stories I really started freaking out. Well im on day 6 of recovery and while I can sympathize with many who are in pain. I wish I wouldn’t have worked myself up over all of this. yes im in pain.. but nothing that compares to the many agonizing days of pain when I had strep throat. Maybe im lucky because I don’t have any issue of nausea with the pain meds or anesthesia.. I have just kept myself on a 3 hour pain med schedule. I set an alarm and take meds every 3 hours. even if im sleeping.. I think the worst part of all of this has been how swollen my uvula is. It’s seriously annoying.. makes it kind of difficult to breathe. I was able to have 2 glasses of aspple juice and two snack packs right after surgery. Been mostly on a soup/liquid diet but have managed to eat a few freshly baked scones that were still soft and warm with some water. I cant imagine how hard for some this may be. I couldn’t imagine having to throw up. So I guess im one of the lucky ones so far. Good luck to everyone. My piece of advice- read up and be prepared but try not to freak yourself out- mind over matter!!
hey… 27yr old female Australia
im on day 7 of having an tonsillectomy and i dont understand how my surgeon could expect me (or anyone) to go straight bak to ur normal diet from day 1!!! i understand it will help with the healing process but i tried my best but i couldnt get anything down…. i can barely get water down which is a sever, grab something tight moment when i try n get some down!
Night of Day 5 goin into Day 6 was prob my worst…. i woke up with the taste of blood so i spat it out n then it just continued to come out for mayb 2-3 mins – it was dark red…. i was sooo worried i was looking up websites to see if i needed to go to hospital… it stopped so i went bak to sleep… last night it started to do it again but only sorta two spits of dark blood n then stopped… so i dont know wats happened there im assuming scabs have fallen off…
im still trying not to talk so i dont aggrivate anything – i knew it was going to b painful but not this bad….
my tip would b have multiple ice packs… very handy for when the ears and under the jawline starts to hurt….
I know in the end this will b for the best – i can not wait to never have tonsilitis again so going through this i will just need to tough it out….!!!!