What Are the Signs of Needing Your Tonsils Taken Out?

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What Are the Signs of Needing Your Tonsils Taken Out?
Removing tonsils will cure severe tonsillitis. (ready for surgery! image by Laser from Fotolia.com)

Tonsils are large glands located in the back of the throat. These glands are one of the body's defence mechanisms against ingested or inhaled bacteria. Tonsils can become infected and swell, causing uncomfortable symptoms, a condition known as tonsillitis. According to the Mayo Clinic, surgical removal of the tonsils is necessary in severe cases of tonsillitis. When symptoms are experienced, consult with a physician to assess what level of medical treatment is required.

Difficulty Breathing

According to the National Library of Medicine, difficulty breathing is a symptom of severe tonsillitis that might result in tonsil removal. As the tonsils become swollen, the enlarged tissues block the air passageway, resulting in restricted breathing. If difficulty breathing is experienced, consult with your physician for medical assessment.

Painful Swallowing

Pain or discomfort while swallowing is a common symptom of severe tonsillitis. When infected with a virus or bacteria, the tonsils become tender and swollen. Swallowing contracts the muscles of the throat, putting pressure on the swollen glands. This causes discomfort in the upper section of the throat. When paired with other symptoms of tonsillitis, painful swallowing is an indication that removal of the tonsils may be necessary.

Discoloured Mucus

According to the Mayo Clinic, when suffering from severe tonsillitis, yellow or white mucus can become visible on the surface of the glands. Shining a flashlight into the back of the mouth at the tonsils will make any discoloured mucus visible. When yellow or white mucus is at the back of the throat, consult with a physician, as this is a sure sign of severe tonsillitis.

Sore Throat

When accompanied by a dull ache, a sore throat is often a sign of severe tonsillitis, writes the Mayo Clinic. Infected tonsils swell and become irritated, causing a sore and aching throat. Minor cases of tonsillitis and other ailments can result in a sore throat as well. However, if you do not experience some relief from the discomfort upon drinking a glass of water, it could be a sign of a serious infection. If a sore and aching throat is combined with other symptoms of tonsillitis, consult with a physician.


ICON Health Publications states that frequent stomachaches can sometimes be a symptom of severe tonsillitis. An excess of liquid draining down the throat from the infected glands causes these stomachaches. When experienced with other symptoms of tonsillitis, frequent stomachaches are a sign that medical attention is needed.

Repeated Cases

Repeated cases of tonsillitis are usually required before removal is deemed necessary by a physician. Several severe cases of tonsillitis in a short period of time typically justifies tonsil removal surgery. In children, many doctors will perform a tonsillectomy if a child has experienced seven throat infections in one year, 10 throat infections in a period of two years or nine infections in three years.Five cases experienced in two years, or three cases in the span of three years might also necessitate removal. A case is considered severe when symptoms of tonsillitis are accompanied by a temperature of 38.3 degrees Celsius or higher, according to eHealthMD.

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