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.

16 responses to “Tonsillitis in Adults”

  1. Im 26 en had tonsillitis 4da 1st tym last year en underwent 6month injections bt av recurred en quite painful. Wat kuld b wrong?

  2. I think I have tonsillitis. I have a very sore throat, sore ear and neck on my right side, there is white tissue on my tonsils, I have a ton of issues with my sinus’s right now, cough and mucous from my chest. headache, slight fever and crappy sleeping lately. I am a 28yr old female and going to clinic tonight.

  3. ok i’m 26 years old never had strep throat until 2 years ago and ever since that first time i get it 5-6 times a year? just went to hospital today because i had been feeling crappy since thursday it is sunday, it didn’t feel like i had strep throat so i thought it might run its course well was i wrong they told me it was tonsillitis, and i need to have my tonsils removed, and i wouldn’t get strep again is this true.
    doesn’t it hurt a heck of a lot more in adults?
    i’m confused has an one else been through this before, i just need some one to talk to that understands what i’m going through

  4. I had tonsillitis only once, I was 21 yrs old then. Good thing it did not affect other parts of my body. Thanks for this post. Informative. Now I know what to do if that happens again.

  5. Tonsillitis in adults could be a sign of weak immune system, improper diet etc. Since improper diet can weaken the immune system an individual is most likely to suffer from frequent attacks of inflamed tonsils. As a result of which the resistance against viral, bacterial and toxic assault of the individual can be decreased.

  6. Inflammation is just a physiological process. It is not a diagnosis or disease on its own. You need to speak to your doctor again and find out exactly what is inflamed or what is causing this inflammation.

  7. Nice post!well tonsils are lymph nodes in the back of the mouth and top of the throat. They normally help to filter out bacteria and other microorganisms to prevent infection in the body.

  8. I had my tonsils removed when I was 31. I guess its more complicated than when you are a child. I was getting sore throats way too much and I sure didnt want to stay on antibiotics so much. I was afraid I would become immune to them. Some ice cream and a couple weeks of recovery and I was good to go


  9. I also had Tonsillitis in 25 years. The treatment was without any complications. Helped good antibiotics.

  10. Hey there great page ive had to many soar throats in the past as well but when going to get my tonsils checked the doctor said that if i removed it it would help but it was due to my bad diet habit so i decided to wait on it and keep my tonsils in i changed my diet and a couple months later the problem was gone i found that once you are already an adult you might as well keep your tonsils in

  11. Thank you so much for this informational post! My 8 year old has been complaining with most of the symptoms above, as we wait to go to the Dr. I was doing some research. Thank you so much for the tip about salt water, we tried that about 15 min ago and it seems to be helping!

  12. Very helpful post, thanks…If I may ask though, can screaming also cause tonsilitis? I always have a swollen throat every after I watch a game screaming and cheering. Is it tonsillitis or just a normal swelling? Thanks in advance.

  13. Linda W, I have also been advised that a link between diet and tonsillitis exists, and through personable experience I believe this to be the case. I used to suffer with the condition every year, but after consulting a GP and changing my diet I have been free from the virus. Due to this, I find the advice to eat ice cream to alleviate symptoms deeply ironic! I would advise sufferers to assess their diet in order to treat the condition successfully in the long term rather than looking to short term fixes which will prove ineffective on a more permanent basis.

  14. They might get inflamed and injured but they guard the body effectively. However, when this inflammation persists, it leads to tonsillitis. This condition most commonly occurs in children and to a fair amount of adults as well.

  15. Tonsillitis can be treated with an antibiotic. I agreed that it was too painful. Good that I get some ideas how it well be treated. Thanks!

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