Painful Tonsils? Here Are Some Possible Causes

Tonsils are two small, lobed masses of tissue located on either side of the back part of the throat. Tonsils help to block bacteria and viruses from entering your airways and lungs. However, tonsils are susceptible to infection and could become swollen or inflamed. This is known as tonsillitis. Usually, a tonsil infection is not severe and can be successfully treated with antibiotics. However, sometimes the conditions can lead to complications such as strep throat or rheumatic fever. If you have any symptoms pointing towards a tonsil infection, you need to seek treatment from a doctor specializing in conditions of the tonsils in Marrero. Here are some common conditions that affect the tonsils.


Tonsillitis is the most common cause of swollen tonsils. Also known as quinsy, you can quickly treat this form of tonsillitis with antibiotic medication. If you have tonsillitis, you may develop painful swallowing, ear pain, fever, headache, and swollen lymph nodes. You can relieve the symptoms at home by gargling with salt water, using an analgesic throat spray, and, of course, resting.

Peritonsillar Abscess

A peritonsillar abscess is an abscess (a pocket of pus) that occurs between the tonsils and the walls of your throat. This can lead to severe swelling in your throat, inflammation of tonsil tissue, trouble swallowing and speaking. You need to seek immediate medical attention if you suspect that you have a peritonsillar abscess. The condition may require surgical intervention such as drainage and removal of the infected tissue. However, you can also treat it without surgery through antibiotics.

Tonsil Stones

Also known as tonsilloliths, tiny mineralized deposits build up on your tonsils due to trapped food particles. They usually cause no symptoms, but if you have a large accumulation of stones, you may experience bad breath and throat discomfort. While you can’t prevent the condition, good oral hygiene, such as brushing your teeth and tongue thrice a day, can help to remove or reduce tonsil stones.

Tonsillar Cancer

Although cancer is a rare cause of swollen tonsils, it is essential to remember that cancer can develop in the tissues of your tonsils. You may experience painless lumps, blood-stained sputum, and problems with swallowing or talking. A doctor will have to examine your throat area and order imaging tests such as an MRI or a CT scan to determine if cancer is present. If found too late, the cancer cells may spread to other parts of your body and cause even more severe health complications.

Oral Thrush

Also known as candidiasis, oral thrush is a fungal infection that often affects the mouth. It could affect your throat if you have diabetes or are taking medications that suppress your immune system. A doctor usually diagnoses oral thrush by examining your mouth and throat area under a microscope. Oral thrush usually responds well to antifungal medications. However, if it persists or fails to respond to treatment, your doctor may administer intravenous antifungal medicines.

To summarize, the tonsils are two small masses of tissues found at the back of the throat. Most people develop infections such as tonsillitis and peritonsillar abscess, which cause pain and inflammation within the tonsils. Other conditions that affect the tonsils include oral thrush, tonsil stones, and tonsillar cancer.


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