Tonsillitis: Types, Causes, Symptoms, Treatment and Home Remedies


Facing any difficulty swallowing food due to swelling at the back of your throat? You may think that this is a sore throat or strep throat, but you may be wrong. You could be suffering from tonsillitis, which is an inflammation of the tonsils at the back of your throat caused by bacteria. So what is the job of tonsils?

Tonsils are two lymph nodes that can be found side by at the back of your throat. The primary function of tonsils is that they act as a defence mechanism that prevents your body from any infection. When these tonsils are infected, then such an occurrence can be diagnosed as tonsillitis.


This disease can occur for anyone at any age, but primarily attacks children during their mid-teens. Some of the most prominent symptoms include swollen tonsils, severe fever and sore throat and if these symptoms are left untreated it could turn out to be a nightmare for you in the future.

Also, this can also be caused due to streptococcal bacteria that is responsible for causing strep throat. If you have been diagnosed with tonsillitis, then you may experience devastating and painful symptoms for a maximum of 10 days. If there is no sign that the symptoms are reducing, then you need to get back to your doctor again.

Types of Tonsillitis:

Tonsillitis can be a problem that can affect your consumption process because the lymph nodes located at the back of your neck gets swollen and this brings in difficulty and severe pain while swallowing. Moreover, there are two types of tonsillitis namely:

1. Recurrent Tonsillitis:

This type of tonsillitis basically occurs in episodes throughout a year. This means that the person would be suffering from tonsillitis for multiple times a year. Though the person may be on antibiotics, the disease may come and go which means that this is repetitive in nature.

2. Acute Tonsillitis:

This type of tonsillitis is something very simple such that a person suffering from it may have the symptoms for not more than 3 days to 2 weeks. This is a normal occurrence provided it has been diagnosed at the earliest.

3. Chronic Tonsillitis:

This type of tonsillitis is similar to that of acute tonsillitis where the symptoms are much longer. People suffering from this type of tonsillitis can be dealing with an acute problem that may include symptoms such as chronic sore throat, bad breath, swollen and tender lymph nodes at the back of your neck. This is usually found among adolescents and youngsters wherein most of its symptoms seen are:

  • Bad breath and enlarged lymph nodes (Tissue behind your mouth).
  • Sore throat.
  • A person suffering from chronic tonsillitis can face infection caused due to bacteria, virus, and antibiotic resistance.
  • If you are exposed to radiation, then you may develop tonsillitis.
  • If chronic tonsillitis is left untreated, then you may develop sleep apnea.

Tonsillitis Causes:

Tonsillitis is basically caused due to multiple factors such as common cold or by bacteria that causes strep throat. However, the main cause of tonsillitis is due to bacterial infections. You need to know that your tonsils have the capability of combating different viruses that your body may be prone to. However, why this disease is prone among most children in their teens is because of the fact that most children come in close contact with each other without knowing the significance or degree to which one could spread an infection.

Tonsillitis Symptoms:

Swollen tonsils are the most significant symptom and much know a symptom of tonsillitis, but the person dealing with this disease can be facing more difficulty that he/she could even imagine. Here are some symptoms of tonsillitis that you need to know:

  • Severe fever and chills
  • Difficulty in swallowing and pain in the throat
  • A scratchy sound in your voice
  • Sore throat
  • Ear pain
  • Severe headaches
  • Tonsils appear swollen and red
  • White and yellow spots found on tonsils

Note: If your child is suffering from tonsillitis, then the most significant symptom is a loss of appetite and irritation in his/ her throat.

Tonsillitis Treatment:

The treatment for tonsillitis depends on the cause of it. This could be either bacteria or viral infections that have caused the disease. Understanding the root of the problem will help cure tonsillitis. The basic cause for tonsillitis is due to strep throat, so curing strep throat would be the main aim in order to get rid of this disease. There are two tests that your doctor may use to determine your case.

  • Rapid Strep Test:

This type of test is done within minutes and this will show the presence of group A bacteria called streptococcus that is responsible for causing strep throat. This is done because strep throat is the major cause of tonsillitis. Since strep throat is known to infect the back of your throat, this can cause tonsillitis.

  • Throat Swab Culture:

This test is used to diagnose bacterial infections in your throat. The test includes figuring out pneumonia, tonsillitis, meningitis, severe cough and strep throat. Moreover, the main purpose of this test is to detect infections that have cause tonsillitis. So when does your doctor conduct this test? This test is done by your doctor when he has the slightest signs of you having strep throat, sore throat along with another bacterial infection. However, samples of the infection will be taken from your throat and examined for the doctor to develop a diagnosis and treatment plan.

Note: The above-listed treatment to cure tonsillitis is done in order to find the root cause of the disease which you are suffering from. Treating this disease well in advance is something that will save you from other medical conditions that can be dangerous.

Home Remedies For Treating Tonsillitis:

Treating tonsillitis with antibiotics can leave with side effects that can lead to other medical complications. Here are some home remedies that you can follow and get rid of this painful oral disease.

  • Make sure that you consume fluids that can ease the pain down your throat and help you swallow your food with no difficulty. This means that you need to try some chicken soup or some herbal tea that will help ease your throat.
  • Also, make it a point that you get good rest. Undisturbed sleep can be the solution to your problem.
  • Keep yourself hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
  • Gargle using salt water. You need to gargle your mouth 3 times a day with some lukewarm salt water. This will help get rid of the tonsils.
  • Do not smoke or use home fragrances that can aggravate your problem. Also, smoking and home fragrances act as irritants that can worsen the tonsils.

Note: In case your situation is extreme and that you are facing difficulty in breathing, high fever or signs of infection, then you need to consult a doctor at the earliest.

Can Tonsillitis Cause Cancer?

Getting cancer on your tonsils is a rare occurrence and this is a group of cancers that grow on your mouth and tongue. These types of cancers are called oral and oropharyngeal cancers that usually begin to appear in your throat and neck. People who smoke and drink are at high risks of developing tonsil cancer. Some of the symptoms of tonsil cancer include:

  • Sore throat that lasts for longer periods of time.
  • White or red coloured patch on the tonsil.
  • A feeling that something in the throat exists and does not cure.
  • Difficulty in swallowing food.
  • Changes in your voice.
  • Weight loss.
  • A lump that is visible on the neck.

Causes of Tonsil Cancer:

The primary causes of tonsil cancer are excessive smoking and drinking. Also, what you need to know is that a person’s age and natural factors can trigger a tonsil cancer for the person. Some major irritants such as cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption can harm the DNA or genetic codes in your cells and cause cancer. Also, sexually speaking, there is a capability of developing cancer by sexual contact. This is also called the HPV group of viruses that can help spread the infection sexually.


There have been many cases of tonsillitis in the last few years, but countering such a disease can be a difficult affair. Here is some frequently asked question that will shed some more understanding into the phenomenon.

1. How long does tonsillitis last for?

If your symptoms are excessive, then you may experience tonsillitis for three to four days with proper and timely medication. This is a contagious disease and can spread especially among children and teens. If you want to prevent yourself from spreading any of those infections, then you need to take some of the below-listed steps in mind:

    • Do not go to school, college or work till you get better.
    • Consider using a tissue instead of a handkerchief while you sneeze.
    • Always make it a point to wash your hands before and after touching food or any door handle in your house. The slightest touch can help spread the infection as this is contagious.

2. When do you need to see a doctor?

Tonsillitis can turn out to be very contagious if you end up sharing your water or food with another person. But, more than this being contagious, here is when you will have to consult a doctor:

    • When your tonsils have pus-filled spots at the back of your throat.
    • When your sore throat is very painful and that you are finding it very hard to swallow or consume anything.
    • If the symptoms do not go away within four days, then it is advised that you consult a doctor at the earliest.
    • When you develop difficulty in speaking, breathing or even opening your mouth.

3. Can tonsillitis heal on its own?

Tonsils are usually caused by the bacteria that causes strep throat. In this case, a strep throat has the ability to self resolve, however, this needs to be supported by some antibiotics. Moreover, if the antibiotics that are advised for strep throat is not taken as per directed, then you may end up developing antibiotic resistance.

4. What happens if tonsils are left untreated?

Tonsillitis leads to life-threatening complication if it is left untreated for a long time. However, if tonsillitis is caused due to strep throat, then you may end up having complications in your ear and severe sinus. Also, you may be under the risk of developing a rheumatic fever which is usually a rare occurrence.

There are several risks that are associated with tonsillitis as this disease occurs among most children and rarely among younger than those 2 years of age. Taking preventive measures that can prevent from spreading this disease is the only way that can keep you healthy. All you need to do is to follow some of the above-listed preventive home remedies that will keep you healthy. Also, you need to keep in mind that frequent exposure to germs is the primary root cause for you to develop any disease.

This could be the cause of tonsillitis, so practice the habit of washing your hands after you touch anything around you. Tonsillitis is a contagious disease that can spread rapidly and you need to keep in mind that this needs to be prevented.

You need to keep in mind that if this keeps affecting you constantly during the year, then you will be dealing with something very dangerous. So make it simple and consult a doctor. This will save your health and help you get better soon. So live healthy and follow hygiene as this will keep you and your family safe.


Prevention is Better Than Cure.

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