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Tonsils are located on each side of the back of the throat. Adenoids are higher in the throat, behind the nose and the roof of the mouth. Tonsils and adenoids are one of the body’s first defenses against germs. They filter out germs that attempt to enter the body through the respiratory passages. They also help the body develop antibodies to fight these germs. But sometimes tonsils and adenoids become infected in this process.


Tonsillitis is an infection in one or both tonsils. One sign is swelling of the tonsils. Other symptoms are redder than normal tonsils, a white or yellow coating on the tonsils, sore throat, painful swallowing, fever and bad breath. Chronic infections can affect other areas such as the eustachian tube, which can lead to frequent ear infections and potential hearing loss. Obstruction to breathing from enlarged tonsils and/or adenoids causes snoring and disturbed sleep that leads to daytime sleepiness in adults and behavioral problems in children. Other symptoms of enlarged tonsils and/or adenoids are breathing through the mouth instead of the nose, the nose sounding “blocked” when speaking, and breathing stopping for a few seconds while sleeping.

Treatment of Tonsillitis and/or Adenoiditis:

Antibiotics are given for infected tonsils. Recurrent tonsillitis or enlarged tonsils and adenoids that cause difficulty breathing and disturbed sleep, and tumors on the tonsils, are usually treated by removal of the tonsils and adenoids.