Common ENT Problems

Tonsillitis

The human palatine tonsil is lymphoid tissue located in the strategic areas in the back of the throat on the sidewall on each side of the uvula. The most common term is called tonsils. This tissue represents ingested or inhaled foreign material. This tissue represents organs in the lymphatic system that are believed to involve helping fight off infections of the pharynx and upper respiratory tract. Inflammation of the tonsils is called tonsillitis. It is not uncommon for children to get infections of the tonsil, but when those infections become numerous for example three bouts per year in three separate years, four bouts per year in two years, or five bouts in a single year, these children become at least fit criterion for removal of their tonsils. The most common reason to have the tonsils removed is due to enlargement. 80% of the time when a tonsillectomy is performed, it is usually secondary to the tonsils being so large that they cause a multitude of problems including snoring, tossing, and turning, pauses in breathing, waking up frequently, sleep walking, sleep talking, grinding of the teeth, nighttime cough, and bed wetting. In younger children, bad breath, lack of weight gain, frequent allergy, cold, and sinus symptoms, problems swallowing foods, sore throats, frequent doctor visits, and a lack of response to medication are usually present. In older children, the children are hard to get up in the morning, they are frequently tired, they have exercise intolerance, they are overweight, they have average to below average schoolwork, depressed mood, they anger easily, sleepy in class, lie around and avoid strenuous activities typically preferring video games to outside activity. If you suspect your child has a problem with enlarged tonsils or chronically infected tonsils, please request a referral for an evaluation by a board certified specialist at the Pediatric Ear, Nose, & Throat Clinic.