Enlarged tonsils, or tonsil hypertrophy, can be a contributing factor to other, more serious conditions. Dr. John Austin has been providing treatment for a variety of Ear, Nose and Throat conditions, including tonsil hypertrophy.
Tonsil hypertrophy, or enlarged tonsils, is a condition very common in young children, but it can also be a problem for adults. Often tonsil hypertrophy does not cause undesirable symptoms, though in instances this condition can be highly problematic. Tonsil hypertrophy can lead to breathing obstruction or common occurrences of tonsillitis. Dr. John Austin is the leading Lubbock area Ear, Nose and Throat doctor providing compassionate care and treatment of tonsil hypertrophy.
What are Tonsils?
Tonsils are a pair of masses of soft tissue that are located in the back of your throat close to the pharynx. One tonsil rests on either side of your throat. Tonsils vary greatly in size from one person to the next. The tonsils are a part of your body’s lymphatic system and help fight infection. Each tonsil is composed of tissue that is similar to your lymph nodes and are covered by pink mucosa. As a part of your lymphatic system, which helps combat infections, your tonsils help trap bacteria and viruses from entering your body. Immune cells in the tonsils produce antibodies fight and kill germs thus helping to prevent infections of the throat and lungs.
When your tonsils are exposed to infection, they will swell in response. Infection is a potential cause of tonsil hypertrophy in individuals. However, some people are simply born with tonsil hypertrophy.
Who Gets Tonsil Hypertrophy and What Causes the Condition?
Enlarged tonsils can occur in anyone, though it is more likely to occur if there is a family history of tonsil hypertrophy. Additionally, those who are frequently suffering from illness or infection tend to be more likely to suffer from tonsil hypertrophy.
The most common cause of tonsil hypertrophy is recurring illnesses and infections in and around the throat area. Because your tonsils produce antibodies to fight infections, when you are ill much of the time your tonsils are repeatedly stimulated. In addition, allergies may play a role in enlarged tonsils and can be a contributing factor to tonsil hypertrophy.
What are the Symptoms of Tonsil Hypertrophy?
As with any other condition you may have, the symptoms vary from person to person. However, the most common symptoms associated with enlarged tonsils are:
- Halitosis (chronic bad breath)
- Mouth breathing
- Sleep apnea
- Inability to gain weight
- Decreased appetite
- Chronic fatigue
- Chronic ear infections
- Hearing loss
- Recurring sinus infections
What Treatments are Available?
The first step in treatment is consultation with a doctor. The specific cause of your enlarged tonsils will determine what the appropriate treatment is. If the cause is an infection, a doctor may prescribe antibiotics to fight the bacterial infection. Should a doctor suspect that allergies are the cause, he or she may prescribe or recommend corticosteroid sprays or antihistamines in spray or table form.
Tonsillectomy, the surgical removal of tonsils, is the treatment of choice in cases where there are recurring or chronic infections/enlarged tonsils. The American Academy of Otolaryngology sites the following two indications for tonsillectomy as treatment for tonsil hypertrophy:
- “Hypertrophy causing dental malocculsion or adversely affecting orofacial growth documented by orthodontist, maxillofacial surgeon or dentist”
- “Hypertrophy causing severe dysphagia (particularly when supported by swallow evaluation) or cardiopulmonary complications”
A tonsillectomy is also a common treatment in children who experience six or more instances of tonsillitis in a one year period.
If you suspect you or a loved one may be suffering from tonsil hypertrophy, consult with a medical professional right away. Dr. John Austin has been proudly providing superior care to the Austin area since 1995. His experience, expertise and level of care make him the best ENT doctor available to help treat your tonsil hypertrophy or any other number of ear, nose and throat conditions or disorders. Contact one of his three convenient locations to start the healing process today.