Tonsillitis in Adults

Tonsillitis in Adults

Tonsillitis refers to the inflammation of pharyngeal tonsils. The inflammation involves other areas of the back of the throat. The tonsils are oval shaped masses of lymph gland tissue, located on both sides of the throat. An infection of tonsils is referred as tonsillitis. There are several variations of tonsillitis. The swelling is usually caused by either a viral or bacterial infection. Tonsillitis is the name given to swollen, red and tender tonsils. Tonsillitis is very common among children and adults but it can occur at any age. The most common type of bacteria that causes tonsillitis is streptococci. But there are many other viruses that may also cause tonsils such as herpes simplex virus, streptococcus pyogenes, adenovirus and the measles virus. The following are the most common symptoms of tonsillitis in adults: - Pain in throat and trouble in swallowing. - Sore throat - Headache, loss of appetite - High body temperature - Vomiting and abdominal pain - Sore throat with a sudden fever above 101F - Swollen lymph nodes without symptoms of an upper respiratory tract infection. - Swollen lymph glands under each jaw - Earache - Bad breath - Nasal congestion and runny nose Tonsillitis in adults due to improper and irregular diet and lack of proper immune system. It may also lead to insomnia or disturbed sleep.

Other Complications of Tonsillitis in Adults

Otitis media: It is a common middle ear infection that is caused by the infection spreading from the throat. Infections can penetrate into the outer ear, unless there are ventilation tubes in place. The tubes through which the infection spreads are shorter in children, who make up the vast majority of victims. Otitis media is painful and can lead to complications of its own. Rheumatic fever: It is common until doctors started treating tonsillitis and other bacterial throat infections with antibiotics. Group A streptococcus spreads through the body and infects vital organs, especially the heart. This may lead to permanent damage resulting in fatal heart diseases. 

Treatment and Surgery

Most cases of this disease are caused by a viral infection and antibiotics will not help. The only way is let the virus run its course and take measures to relieve pain and inflammation. Recovery may take a week or two and can include the following - Drink warm and soothing liquids such as soup, tea and broth - Gargle with warm salt water - Take acetaminophen or ibuprofen to help reduce fever and decrease pain.


Surgical removal of the tonsils is rarely needed for adults. Surgery is recommended only when a child has seven or more serious throat infections in a year. Tonsillectomy is recommended to treat an abscess that doesn’t improve with antibiotic treatment.