Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Should I have my tonsils out?"
I'm a 34 year old female. I never had my tonsils out when I was younger, but do seem to get a lot of sore throats, especially in the winter. Could it be because I still have my tonsils out? Could I have them out even if I don't have tonsillitis?
Generally speaking, there are not very many reasons for adults to get their tonsils taken out. The tonsils are part of the body's immune system. They contain tissue that captures germs and helps the body rally to fight them. Therefore, whenever you have an infection in the throat (such as from a cold virus) the tonsils will swell and become red as part of their normal job fighting off infection. In children, this can sometimes be a problem because the throat is small, and the swelling of the tonsils can close off the airway. However, adults have larger airways, so this is rarely a problem for them. Furthermore, it is normal to have several sore throats a year, especially during the winter months when the cold viruses are going around. Having a few sore throats doesn't mean there is something wrong with your tonsils, nor will taking your tonsils out prevent you from having sore throats! Rarely, however, in adults tonsils do need to be taken out, usually if they are persistently swollen and causing discomfort in the back of the throat. If you think this might be what is going on with you, you should start by seeing your primary care doctor for advice.
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