Tonsillitis Symptoms

If you have a sore throat, you may be experiencing one of many tonsillitis symptoms. A sore throat doesn’t always mean tonsillitis, of course, but it’s almost always the main symptom.

Tonsillitis is an inflammation of the tonsils, pads of lymphatic tissue located at the back of your throat.  Your tonsils serve as filters to prevent infection in the body. A viral infection is the usual cause of tonsillitis, but the condition can also result from a bacterial infection. Typically, home remedies are all it takes to recover from tonsillitis.

Tonsillectomy, once a common surgical procedure, is usually reserved for frequent occurrences that do not respond well to other treatments. But appropriate treatment depends on the cause, so it’s important to get an accurate medical diagnosis. Visit your doctor if you have the following symptoms of tonsillitis.

  1. Sore throat. A sore throat is the main symptom of tonsillitis. Sore throat is usually the first sign of a tonsil infection, especially if it is severe and lasts longer than 48 hours.
  2. Vocal changes. The sore throat that accompanies tonsillitis may produce a scratchy, husky voice or hoarseness. In some cases, tonsillitis will cause a complete loss of voice. 
  3. Bad breath. Bad breath, or halitosis, is another sign of tonsillitis. The bad breath produced by infected tonsils has a different odor than ordinary bad breath caused by bacteria on the tongue.  
  4. Nasal congestion. Tonsillitis can obstruct the upper airway, causing nasal congestion, runny nose, and snoring. Since nasal obstruction causes you to breathe through your mouth, this increases the risk of tonsillitis.
  5. Swollen lymph nodes. Swollen lymph nodes is another tonsillitis symptom. If your tonsils are infected, the glands in your neck will feel enlarged, and your throat and jaw will feel tender.
  6. Raw, swollen, or discolored tonsils. Red, swollen tonsils are another sign of tonsillitis. Your tonsils may also have white or yellow patches on them, which is pus from infection.
  7. Difficulty swallowing. You may have tonsillitis if you find it difficult to swallow your food or drinks. Your throat may be so raw and tender that it is simply too painful to swallow.
  8. Headache. A headache, combined with other symptoms, may also be a symptom of tonsillitis. Or you may have a neck ache or a stiff neck.
  9. Abdominal pain. Sometimes abdominal pain occurs with tonsillitis. Your stomach may hurt, you may not be hungry, and you may feel weak or fatigued.
  10. Fever. Fever is another tonsillitis symptom, especially in combination with the other symptoms. Along with fever, your body may feel cold and you may experience chills.
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