Zocdoc Answers

Medical questions & health advice by licensed doctors

"Why do I still get sore throats if I had my tonsils removed?"


I had my tonsils taken out when I was a kid but I still get sore throats. I thought that it was supposed to fix that. Why do I still get sore throat with no tonsils???


Tonsils are the structures in the back of the throat that hold the lymphoid tissue in that area. Lymphoid tissue is basically just areas that house a lot of immune cells. The reason that they are sometimes removed is that they can enlarge and cause discomfort in the back of the throat.

See a doctor who can help

Find a Primary care-doctors near you

Most causes of a sore throat are because of a viral infection. Viral upper respiratory tract infections can irritate the throat and cause pain. This will occur in people with tonsils or those that have had them removed. In other words, having your tonsils removed will never prevent a sore throat or an infection in your throat. It only helps to prevent enlargement of the lymphoid tissue during an infection that can cause discomfort and difficulty with breathing and swallowing. I know that probably sounds disappointing. If you have a sore throat now, then you should schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. He or she can examine the back of your throat closely and determine if you need tested for strep. If you have strep (which you can still get with no tonsils), then you will need antibiotics. If you don't, then you will just need medication to help with your symptoms. Good luck.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.