The tonsils at the back or top of the throat play an important role in protecting your body from infections. These small nodules of tissue that hang down from the back of the mouth at the throat entrance are used to trap bacteria and germs that come into the mouth and nose when you breathe. When the tonsils are swollen, it is a sign of an underlying health condition that may need medical treatment. Julie Zweig, MD Integrative Sleep & ENT provides diagnosis and treatment for enlarged tonsils at our facility in Alpharetta, GA.
The tonsils quietly protect your lungs and body by destroying bacteria that can make you ill. The immune cells on the tonsils produce antibodies that fight bacteria and germs that are in the air, keeping them from entering your lungs. When the immune system is compromised, the tonsils may become overwhelmed and succumb to infection or inflammation.
If the tonsils are swollen, it is usually a sign of infection. However, it can also be a symptom of other conditions occurring in the connected throat, nose and ears. Some of the possible causes of swollen tonsils include:
- Chronic ear or sinus infections
- Chronic throat infections
- Throat abscesses
- Tonsil cancer
Tonsil infections or tonsilitis are common in children, but they can occur at any age. There are different types of tonsilitis caused by bacterial and viral infections. Chronic or severe tonsilitis can result in removal of the tonsils if treatments are ineffective.
Complications of Swollen Tonsils
When the tonsils are swollen, you will often have other symptoms related to both the size of the tonsils and the underlying condition. It may be difficult to breathe through your nose and swallowing can be uncomfortable. You may have a sore throat and hoarse voice with your enlarged tonsils – if you have an infection, you might have a fever. Enlarged tonsils can impact your sleep, causing snoring and obstructive sleep apnea.
If you have swollen or enlarged tonsils, you should see your doctor or an ENT specialist. At Julie Zweig, MD Integrative Sleep & ENT, we can perform a thorough throat and tonsil exam to determine the source of your tonsil inflammation. We provide integrative and functional medicine with a holistic approach to treatment for overall patient wellness. To schedule an appointment, contact our office in Alpharetta, GA.