Tonsilitis (Tonsils)

Overview of Tonsilitis (Tonsils)

Tonsillitis Meaning in Urdu

اس بیماری کی وجہ سے گلے کے غدود سوزش کا شکار ہو جاتے ہیں۔ زیادہ تر وائرل انفیکشن کی وجہ سے گلے کے غدود سوزش کا شکار ہو جاتے ہیں، تاہم کچھ لوگوں کو بیکٹیریل انفیکشن کی وجہ سے بھی اس مرض کا سامنا کرنا پڑتا ہے۔ گلے کی غدود کی سوزش کی بنیادی علامات میں گلے کی خراش، کان درد، تیز بخار، کھانسی، اور سر درد شامل ہے۔ اس کے علاوہ گلے کے غدود کی سوزش کی وجہ سے گردن اور پیٹ کے درد کا بھی سامنا کرنا پڑ سکتا ہے۔ اگر اس مرض کی وجہ سے آپ کو سانس لینے میں مشکلات پیش آئیں تو فوری طور پر اپنے ڈاکٹر سے رجوع کریں۔

Tonsillitis (Ghalay ki sozish) is most commonly caused by a bacterial infection. It is identified by the inflamed tonsils at the back of the throat. To understand tonsillitis one must be aware of the significance of tonsils beforehand.

Tonsils

Tonsils are two oval-shaped glands (on each side) at the back of the throat. They along with adenoids are part of the lymphatic system. As the lymphatic system clears away any infection, tonsils stop germs from entering the body through the mouth or nose. 

Thus, they are also a part of our immune system and also contain a significant amount of white blood cells to fight off any infection.

Tonsillitis

A clear inflammation of the tonsils usually by a bacterial or viral infection causes tonsillitis. It is more common in children but can also flare up in adults. The cause of tonsillitis is as important as the treatment itself. Because the treatment itself depends upon the cause. Tonsillitis may go upon on its own in a few days but a persistent condition can lead to serious problems. Tonsillitis is not contagious but the virus or bacteria that caused the infection might be.

Signs and Symptoms of Tonsilitis (Tonsils)

Tonsillitis can be very easily detected as it is one of the most common throat infections in childhood.

Symptoms include:

  • Sore throat
  • Red, swollen tonsils
  • Difficult or painful swallowing
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Headache
  • Stomachache
  • Earache
  • Tonsils with patches of yellow or white
  • Bad breath
  • Stiff jaw and neck
  • Hoarse or throaty voice
  • Extreme weakness or fatigue
  • Drooling
  • Refusal to eat in children

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Types of Tonsilitis (Tonsils)

Tonsillitis is characterized as:

Acute

If the symptoms go away on their own in less than 10 days, then it is acute tonsillitis. It is more common in children and almost every child is expected to get tonsillitis at least once.

If an acute tonsillitis infection is left untreated, an abscess or pus can form in the peritonsillar region. This is known as Peritonsillar Abscess or Quinsy.

Recurring

If the symptoms of tonsillitis go away on their own, but then come back again and again after a time interval, this means you have recurring tonsillitis. 

It is characterized by at least 5 to 7 recurrences in a year, 5 recurrences in two consecutive years, and three each in three consecutive years.  

This usually suggests that there is an increased antibiotic resistance, which causes recurring episodes.

Chronic

Chronic tonsillitis is the progressive stage of its acute form i.e., a persistent or chronic sore throat. It also causes bad breath and tender lymph nodes in the neck. 

This can give birth to tonsil stones which are a hardened build-up of saliva, dead cells, and food. They need to be removed by a doctor or may come to lose on their own.

Causes of Tonsilitis (Tonsils)

Tonsils are responsible for protecting the nose, mouth, and throat from illness and infection. They are the first line of defence. They are abundant in white cell production which helps their cause. 

Viral Tonsillitis

The most common cause of tonsillitis is a virus. Tonsillitis can be caused by influenza (the common cold or flu virus). In other cases, these viruses can be:

  • Rhinovirus
  • Parainfluenza virus
  • Hepatitis A
  • Epstein-Barr virus
  • Enterovirus 
  • Adenovirus
  • Rubeola virus
  • HIV

The epstein-Barr virus can cause both mono or mononucleosis and later on secondary infection tonsillitis. 

Bacterial Tonsillitis

The most common bacteria in action here is Group A streptococcus bacteria. Strep bacteria are also responsible for causing strep throat.

Commonly affected children are between ages 5 and 15. Bacteria are responsible for 15 to 30% of tonsillitis cases.

Other bacteria may also cause tonsillitis.

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Risk Factors of Tonsilitis (Tonsils)

Risk Factors for tonsillitis involve increasing the risk of invasion by pathogenic bacteria and viruses. 

  • Living in an urban environment with more exposure to viruses and bacteria.
  • Living or working in close proximity to children
  • Suffering from diabetes
  • Obesity or being overweight
  • Being a young child or an early adult
  • Excess and prolonged use of corticosteroids
  • Suffering from cardiac disease
  • Being immunocompromised 

Health Complications Due to Tonsillitis

Acute tonsillitis may not cause any severe health complications but chronic or recurring tonsillitis can pave the way to many health complications such as:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Peritonsillar abscess – a collection of pus behind the tonsil
  • Tonsillar cellulitis – the spread of infection deep into surrounding tissue 
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Strep throat infection
  • Rheumatic fever – an inflammatory disorder of the heart, joints, and other tissues
  • Poststreptococcal glomerulonephritis – an inflammatory disorder of the kidneys

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Prevention

Tonsillitis can be prevented by some simple yet effective ways such as:

  • Ensure good hygiene habits
  • Take plenty of rest
  • If you have tonsillitis, stay away until you are no longer contagious
  • Gargle with warm salty water
  • Wash hands thoroughly and frequently
  • Replace toothbrush after being diagnosed with tonsillitis
  • Avoid sharing utensils and drinking glasses with a positive patient
  • Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze
  • Use lozenges to keep mouth and throat moist and comfortable
  • Consume fluids to prevent dehydration
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Diagnosis

A physical examination is performed first and forehand to diagnose tonsillitis.  

  • Checking for a rash, associated with strep throat
  • Gently swabbing the back of the throat
  • Gently feeling for swollen lymph nodes
  • Listening to the breath via stethoscope

After the physical examination, a blood sample may be taken to confirm the source of tonsillitis (viral or bacterial). 

The throat swab is sent to the lab for further diagnosis as well.

Treatment of Tonsilitis (Tonsils) | When to Consult a Doctor

Tonsillitis can be treated in various ways depending on the severity of the condition.

Medication/Antibiotics

Antibiotics can treat bacterial tonsillitis. A full course of prescribed antibiotics is to be taken, otherwise, the chances of recurrence are high.   

A mild case of tonsillitis caused by viral infection doesn’t necessarily require treatment, as the symptoms go away on their own. 

Surgery

Surgery is performed to remove tonsils when tonsillitis is recurring or chronic or is not responding to antibiotics. 

Tonsillectomy is also performed to minimize some complications such as:

  • Abscess or Quinsy
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Swallowing difficulty
  • Intense blockage and restriction with severe inflammation that cannot be treated by medicine 

An individual can recover within 14 days post-op. It is very rare for complications to arise during Tonsillectomy.

Surgery can be performed by laser, ultrasound, cold steel surgery, diathermy, and coblation (or cold ablation).

Doctors to treat Tonsilitis (Tonsils)

Last updated on Wednesday 26/10/2022

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