What are my tonsils and why do I need them?

Tonsillitis is something many of us have had or we know someone who has had it. It is not uncommon to have had our tonsils removed when we were children due to being prone to tonsillitis. But, what a lot of us don’t know is what exactly our tonsils are and why we need them.

Your tonsils are two lymph nodes that can be found on either side of the back on your throat. They act as a barrier of defence for your body.

They protect your body from infections that can enter through your mouth. They trap the germs and also produce antibodies to help fight infection.

Picture them as bodyguards to your body fighting off anything bad trying to get to you.

The information in the navigation menu above will take an in-depth look at tonsillitis and explore everything you need to know about the condition. It is important to keep in mind that, although this article is very informative, it is only to serve as a guideline. We do not intend for this article to act as a treatment or diagnosis for any associated condition. We would suggest that you please consult with your doctor or healthcare professional for that.

What is tonsillitis?

Sometimes your tonsils, or rather bodyguards as well call them, become infected. This happens when they are overwhelmed by viruses or bacteria, they, therefore, become inflamed and swell, this is known as tonsillitis. When this happens, your tonsils will often become red and have a coating that is yellow or white in appearance.

Tonsillitis is a common condition, especially in children. It can occur frequently or occasionally. It is mostly caused by viral infection but it can also be caused by bacteria. Some people might have to have surgery to remove their tonsils, this was once a very common practice, however, in recent times this is only conducted when all other treatments have been exhausted and the patient has not responded to any of them. It is therefore always important to consult with your doctor to get an accurate diagnosis and treatment regime should you experience recurring bouts of tonsillitis over an extended period of time.

Adults are less prone to getting tonsillitis as the tonsils immune system functionality is likely to decline after puberty, making them less prone to becoming infected as they are not working as hard as they once did to fend the body off from infection.

In addition, adults’ immune systems, in general, are stronger and they can better fend off infections using other immune systems within the body as opposed to the tonsils. Therefore, cases of tonsillitis are far less common in adults. 

NEXT What are the symptoms of tonsillitis?

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