Enlarged Tonsils Causes & Symptoms
What are tonsils?
Tonsils are two round lumps that are located in the back of the throat. The purpose of tonsils is to prevent bacteria and viruses from entering the body through the nose or mouth. However, when tonsils become enlarged in adults or children, they can be the cause of certain health conditions.
What happens when tonsils become enlarged?
Tonsils that have swollen or become enlarged can cause the following serious health conditions:
Why do tonsils swell or become enlarged?
The most common reason for enlarged tonsils in adults are:
- Abscesses around tonsils
- Cancer of the tonsils (very uncommon)
- Recurrent nose or throat infections
What are the symptoms of enlarged tonsils?
One of the most common symptoms of enlarged tonsils in adults is the inability to breathe through the nose. Other signs of large tonsils include:
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Recurring ear infections
- Voice change (nasal sounding)
- Chronic runny nose
When tonsillitis is the underlying cause of large tonsils, signs may include:
- Reddened tonsils (more than usual)
- White/yellow coating over tonsils
- Swollen glands in the neck
- Ear pain
- Bad breath
When should I see a doctor about my tonsils?
If you experience any swelling of the throat or large tonsils, it is important to see a doctor. He or she may recommend you to an ear, nose and throat specialist, such as New York ENT to help diagnose and remedy your condition. Because enlarged tonsils can indicate more chronic or severe conditions, it is important to consult an expert for an evaluation and treatment options.
How are enlarged tonsils treated?
Enlarged tonsils usually indicate an underlying cause, and therefore are treated based on the cause of the swelling. Bacterial infections are usually treated with antibiotics but may be severe enough to require tonsillectomy or removal of the tonsils.
If you are suffering from enlarged tonsils, the first step towards feeling better is to schedule an evaluation with an experienced ear, nose and throat doctor. Board certified physicians with New York ENT have extensive experience diagnosing and treating a wide variety of neck and throat conditions. Fill out the form on this page or call our office at (212) 873-6168 to schedule an appointment today.