How do You Know if You Need Your Tonsils Out?

Your tonsils are lumps of tissue on both sides of the throat that are used to trap viruses or bacteria that enter through the mouth, nose or throat. Tonsils contain white blood cells and produce antibodies that can destroy these germs so you don’t get sick. The tonsils can become overworked, causing them to become infected or enlarged. If this happens the tonsils may need to be removed. In most cases tonsils are removed during childhood. How do you know if you need your tonsils out? Learn about the warning signs and symptoms.

How do You Know if You Need Your Tonsils Out?

Those that have had a number of tonsil infections in a year may need their tonsils removed. Your doctor may also recommend removing your tonsils if you have reoccurring infections that do not improve with treatment.

Signs of Tonsils Needing to be Removed



Recurring Infections

Ongoing viral infections known as tonsillitis or strep throat bacterial infections can commonly require a tonsillectomy. Those that have tonsillitis 5-6 times a year may require the removal of their tonsils. Your doctor will confirm your tonsillitis diagnosis to ensure you are not suffering from a generalized sore throat (pharyngitis) before recommending surgery. A pharyngitis viral infection may continue even after you have had your tonsils removed.

Difficulty Eating

If the tonsils are infected it can make swallowing food painful and difficult. You may find that you are unable to eat chunky foods such as meat because chewing leads to discomfort.

Throat Infection

Tonsils that are infected can cause abscesses to appear at the back of the throat. These infections can cause difficulty swallowing, talking and pain.

Infections that Impact School or Work

Ongoing tonsillitis can be painful and impact your ability to attend work or school because you require medical care. Infections that have an impact on your regular schedule can limit your energy levels.

Increased Snoring

Tonsils that are infected can increase in size which can cause snoring. Ongoing snoring can impact your ability to sleep, leading to exhaustion or loss of productivity at work or school.

Sleep Apnea

Infections can also increase sleep apnea symptoms because enlarged tonsils can block air flow through the throat. This may cause this individual to stop breathing momentarily while they sleep. Over time sleep apnea can lead to exhaustion that limits your ability to sleep normally.


While it is not common, infected tonsils may bleed. If this is very problematic you may require an immediate tonsillectomy.


It is rare, but you can develop cancer of the tonsils. If this occurs it will be necessary to remove the tonsils as soon as possible.

Recurring Ear Infections

The adenoids at the opening of the ear behind the nose are a common place for bacteria to grow, which can lead to chronic infections. Ongoing tonsil infections can contribute to the bacteria in the system which may increase this problem.

Forced to Always Breathe Though Mouth

If the adenoids and tonsils are enlarged it can make you feel like the nose is plugged, leading to more frequent mount breathing. This can cause the saliva to dry out, increasing the risk of bacteria growing here. Seeking out these symptoms can help to indicate if tonsils need to be removed.


Increasing your fluid intake, consuming a lot of vitamin C and fruits can provide a boost to the immune system that may make it easier to reduce the frequency of a viral infection, but may not be enough to ward off tonsillitis.

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