Zocdoc Answers

Medical questions & health advice by licensed doctors

"Why are the glands in my daughters throat so swollen?"


My 16 year old daughter has had very swollen glands in her throat for 3 weeks. She saw the doctor two weeks ago and he gave her antibiotic and said she had infected glands. She took her full dose of antibiotic (10 days) and as soon as she finished them she came down with a very nasty head cold and her glands swelled again to the size of gulf balls (worse on the left side). Should she see her pediatrician?


I am sorry to hear that you have been dealing with this problem for so long now, and that your daughter continues to be sick. In general, any time that you treat an infection with antibiotics, and you either get better but then get sick again quickly, or even don't get better at all, you should talk to your doctor to make sure that you are on the right antibiotic or to make sure that you have not developed an additional infection. Please take your daughter to see her pediatrician again.

See a doctor who can help

Find a Pediatricians near you

As for the swelling in your daughter's throat, I am assuming that you mean her tonsils. Tonsils are small glands that sit on the sides of our throat, near the back of what you can see in a mirror. They are bigger in children, especially when they get an upper respiratory tract infection, as they contain lymphoid tissue (i.e., tissue that reacts to infections by swelling, which is a sign of inflammation). When the become swollen more than a few times in a year, doctors start to suspect that they might be harboring bacteria, and it is sometimes recommended to remove them, as with a tonsillectomy. An ear-nose-and throat surgeon would be able to help you with that, if it becomes necessary. For now, please return to your pediatrician for further instruction specific to your daughter.

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.