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Concerned about your swollen tonsils? Then you’ve come to the right place. As an ENT specialist for ear, nose and throat disorders, we can talk you through some common causes and suitable treatments, while offering help and advice along the way.

What are the tonsils?

First, let’s talk about what the tonsils are: fleshy lumps that sit on both sides of the throat. As part of the lymphatic system – which can help prevent infection and illness – they’re one of the first lines of defence against many bacteria and viruses that enter the body.

What causes the tonsils to swell?

There are lots of causes, from viruses like oral herpes, measles and the kissing disease (Epstein-Barr virus), to those responsible for concerns like bronchitis and even the common cold. Of course, bacteria can also cause throat problems, like strep throat.

How do I know if my tonsils are swollen?

You might have some other throat problems, like a sore throat, neck pain, trouble swallowing and bad breath. Your tonsils might be red, have white spots, or have a yellow coating. Finally, headaches, tiredness and fever are also common with swollen tonsils. Your ENT specialist can help diagnose them for you.

Diagnosing swollen tonsils

If you’re unsure whether your tonsils are swollen, an ENT specialist like Jon Hughes here in London can help get to the root of your throat problem. A light is shone inside the throat to look for any infection, and your nose, mouth and ears might also be checked. You might also have tests like an antigen test for strep throat or a swab to check for other conditions. Sometimes, you might need a blood test.

Woman with swollen tonsils

Treating swollen tonsils   

If your tonsils repeatedly swell, you might need tonsil removal or cause other concerns like sleep or breathing problems. Your ENT specialist will be able to advise you as to whether they need removing.

Other things to try

If the swelling is rooted in viral infection, try soothing your throat with warm fluids or cold ice pops. You may also consider pain relief (especially in cases of fever) or gargling with saltwater. If you need more advice, talk to a throat specialist like Jon Hughes

Preventing swollen tonsils

It’s not always possible to prevent swollen tonsils and throat problems, but eating healthily, exercising regularly and avoiding smoking can all help. Regular hand-washing can also help stop the spread of germs.

Why Jonathan Hughes?

With years of experience, Jon Hughes PhD FRCS is an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist based in London, with Harley Street facilities available to diagnose and treat your ENT concerns. With countless happy patients and a location at the heart of London’s medical district, you couldn’t be in better hands. Get in touch with us today to book a specialist ENT consultation and get the answers and treatment you need.