Tonsillitis: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

Reviewed by Dr. Hasan Feroz M.D.,


Tonsillitis is the inflammation of tonsils glands located in the back of the throat. The shape of the tonsils is oval sized located on both side of the back of the throat. Tonsils generally prevent the invasion of bacteria and viruses to enter our body through the airway which may cause infection. In simple words, you can say it is the filters of our body.

Sometimes when there is a huge bacterial or viral attack in the tonsils they became inflamed and swollen and causes pain and uneasiness. Sometimes it is found that tonsillitis occurs recurrently in many patients and causes tonsil stones which causes a lot of discomfort and pain.


The main symptoms of tonsillitis are inflamed tonsils glands and pain while swallowing food but there are a variety of other symptoms also:-

  • Pain and swollen glands
  • Fever
  • Bad Breath
  • Tonsil Stones
  • Headache
  • Stiff neck
  • Trouble in Swallowing
  • Ear Ache
  • Distorted Voice

Diagnosis of Tonsillitis

Your doctor will do a physical exam. He may check your tonsils like is there any swelling or redness is there. He may also ask you about your medical history, occurrence of fever, frequency of inflammation in tonsils etc to confirm the diagnosis of tonsils. If your doctor needs to confirm the disease he may write some pathological tests like CBC and throat swab test to ensure the presence of bacteria or virus. Your doctor may also check your ears and nose to rule out the infection of them which may also lead to strep throat infections.

Types of Tonsillitis

Acute Tonsillitis

Generally, most children suffer from this kind of tonsillitis. acute tonsillitis resolves within 5 to 8 days and most people face this kind of tonsillitis. This tonsillitis resolves within own and does not require any special treatment. Home treatment like warm water gargling suffice for acute tonsillitis but in some cases medical treatment requires.

Chronic Tonsillitis

Chronic tonsillitis continues to longer than acute tonsillitis and does not resolve within own. It causes tonsils stones formation in the pockets of tonsils which has odor and bad breath. Your doctor may recommend you for tonsillectomy to remove your tonsils surgically.

Recurrent Tonsillitis

Recurrent tonsillitis means a person who is infected with tonsillitis more than 5-7 times yearly will be considered as recurrent tonsillitis.


Tonsillitis is generally caused by bacteria named Streptococcus Pyogenes which also causes sore throat but it can also be caused by viruses like adenovirus, Herpes Virus and para influenza Virus.


Though the treatment of tonsillitis infection varies from patient to patient. It resolved on its own in some patients while some may need antibiotics for the treatment. Some patients who have chronic tonsillitis may require surgery to remove the tonsils.

For pain relief and treatment patient may be recommended painkillers with antibiotics like azithromycin and cefdinir for the treatment of bacterial tonsillitis.

The use of gargle with warm water and salt also gives relief to the patient. you may also gargle with hexidine solution or povidine iodine.

Home Remedies For Tonsillitis

If you have a mild infection you may try this at your home:
Gargle with warm water and a pinch of black salt
Take light food if possible take it warm.
Take OTC medications to relieve the pain.
Gargle with antibiotic mouth wash like povidine-iodine or hexidine.
Take Complete rest as much as possible
Avoid A.C., Cooler’s air directly.

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