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Dr. Phil, MD
Dr. Phil, MD, Medical Doctor
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Experience:  Medical Doctor Trained at a Top Academic Institution
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I can feel my tonsils when I swallow. Why?

Resolved Question:

I can feel my tonsils when I swallow. It's as if they are right there in the middle of my throat. I snore loudly and at times it's as if I can't get enough air when I am asleep. In the past I woke up to find whitish saliva patches around my mouth. When I was very young I had this throaciastomy done on me. Please, what can all this mean?

Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Dr. Phil, MD replied 6 years ago.

DocPhil213 :

Hello. I am sorry you are having this problem. Just a few questions.

What are you on Augmentin for?

Are you sick?

Also, any other medical problems or meds?

Are you overweight?

Customer : Yes..I think am overweight (kind of)
The augmentin is to know if the tonsil (am guessing) am feeling is enlarged will go down
No other medical problems
DocPhil213 :

I see. So your physician is giving you augmentin to see if your tonsils will decrease in size? That will be interesting to find out. If, they don't then you are asking what the next step is? If you snore loudly at night you may have sleep apnea. A good place to start would be to have a sleep study. This can tell you not only if you have apnea but where it's coming from. If there is an airway obstruction from your tonsils, then they may need to be taken out. If you do have sleep apnea, you might need to wear a mask at night to help you breath called CPAP. Also, you should lose weight if this is the case. Does this help?

Customer : Wear a mask?..
What sort of sounds scary
Also the augmentin is a trial....the snore and breathing issues has been on way back
It seems like am struggling to breath when I am asleep
What of the whitish saliva patches around my lips when I wake?
DocPhil213 :

Okay. I see. The mask is called a CPAP mask. Basically it helps push air through your throat into your lungs. However, if you have a sleep study and find out the sleep apnea is because you have an airway obstruction with your large tonsils, then you may not need the mask eventually. If you get the tonsils taken care of and lose weight, you may not have this problem. I'm not sure if the augmentin will help. It might and it might not.

Customer : How is a sleep study done?
How much does it cost to get it done? With no insurance and self pay?
DocPhil213 :

You go to a sleep center overnight and they hook all kinds of monitors up to you and you go to sleep. Simple but definitely a big production for the average person.

Customer : Which state or center would you recommend?
DocPhil213 :

I'm not sure how much it would be without insurance. It might be expensive. It might be reasonable to see an ENT doctor first and maybe you can avoid sleep study if he thinks the tonsils simply need to be removed (which might be the case). As far as where to get one, I'm not sure where you are located. You could call your physician's office of hospital to find a local place.

Customer : Must the tonsils be removed if it's the problem? But I did a thoracic surgery when I was a that different?
DocPhil213 :

It may not be necessary but it might help. I can't stress enough how much weight loss will help too if you do in fact have sleep apnea. A thoracostomy is different and shouldn't be related.

Customer : So if it's sleep apnea, I must use a mask to sleep?
If it's tonsils enlargement, I must get it removed.
Both cases, I must loose weight
Assuming it's none, I am still concerned about the whitish stuff...could it be liver?
DocPhil213 :

Sort of. If it's sleep apnea you can avoid the mask by losing weight and possibly getting tonsils taken out. The whitish stuff in your mouth is likely because you are open mouth breathing and you are so dry. I doubt it's infectious.

Customer : Ok.
Taking the tonsils it a major surgery?
Do I have to be worried?
DocPhil213 :

No. It's a pretty minor procedure.

I hope this helps you and I do hope you feel better. Good luck to you!

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