What Do Our Tonsils Do

Last Updated on August 11, 2021 by

Most people think we just have two tonsils, located on either side of the throat just behind the tongue. But this isn’t true. There are several pairs of tonsils of different sizes. Tonsils are small bundles of a special kind of tissue called “lymphoid”. Because of their location in the throat, they have a special job. They are the first line of defense against infections entering through the nose and mouth.

What Do Our Tonsils Do

The largest pair near the palate is “the palatine” tonsils. High in the back of the throat are some smaller ones.  These are called “the adenoids”. Other small tonsils are found just below the surface in the back of the tongue, and there are still others in the back of the pharynx. The tonsils are covered by the same smooth membrane that lines the mouth. 

In the tonsils, this membrane dips down to form deep, thin pockets called “crypts”. The crypts trap germs and other harmful material from the mouth. The white blood cells surround the germs and help to destroy them. So fighting infection is the normal work of the tonsils.

Sometimes germs become active inside the tissue of the tonsils, and this may cause inflammation of the whole tonsil, This inflammation is called “tonsillitis”. One or usually both palatine tonsils become enlarged, red, and sore. The crypts are swollen and sometimes discharge thick pus. This is an acute tonsillitis.

It is an infection that happens suddenly and usually goes away in four or five days. Acute tonsillitis develops more often in childhood than in infancy or adulthood. It also happens more often during the winter months, when colds are common.

Are there different types of tonsillitis?

There are three types of tonsillitis: acute, chronic, and recurrent.

Is it bad to have tonsils removed?

Answer- A tonsillectomy is safe, but it can cause throat pain for several days after surgery. Like all surgeries, tonsillectomy carries some risks.

What bad tonsils look like?

Answer- White or yellow spots or coating on the throat and/or tonsils Red spots on the roof of the mouth (upper palette) Swollen or tender lymph nodes on the neck.

What is the best age to get your tonsils removed?

Answer- A child at any age can have a tonsillectomy if the indications are severe. However, surgeons generally wait until children are 3 years old to remove tonsils because the risk of dehydration and bleeding is greater among small children.

How long does tonsil surgery take?

Answer- The surgery usually takes 20 to 30 minutes. You will not feel any pain while the doctor is removing the tonsils.

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