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Tonsil Questions

Have you had tonsil problems and wonder what the treatments are? Do you need to know what tonsil stones are or what the symptoms of tonsil cancer are? Often when medical conditions arise, patients may not be aware of the causes or possibly even what the condition is. Often Expert insight is needed to help clarify any doubts and concerns.

What are tonsils?

Tonsils are part of the lymphatic system which are located in the back of the throat. The tonsils help protect the body from infection trapping germs that come through the nose and mouth. There may be times when they become infected. Tonsillitis can cause swelling, soreness and even a sore throat. Infections can be treated by antibiotics. Surgery may be needed if frequent infections or breathing problems occur. When someone has tonsil issues, questions can arise regarding the symptoms, causes and possible treatments. Read below for questions that have been answered by Experts.

What are tonsil stones and how are they treated?

A stone is a piece or possibly a cluster of calcareous material that can form in the back of the mouth on the tonsils. They are caused by dead white blood cells, infections, and overactive salivary glands, and mucus secretions, residuals of enzyme actions on retained food, smoking and allergies. Typically, they are removed by the tongue, cotton swabs, warm water gargles, and drinking water. The use of toothpicks and other sharp objects are not recommended. Surgical removal may be needed as a last resort. Although irrigating the nasal cavity may not treat the stones, it could help prevent infections and possibly stop the formation of stones.

How is tonsil cancer diagnosed?

A medical practitioner will use a flexible, fiber-optic instrument to examine the tonsils and surrounding tissues. Imaging tests such as a CT (computerized tomography) scan and a biopsy may be needed to help confirm a diagnosis. It cannot be diagnosed with a physical examination. The risks of developing cancer could be higher for individuals that heavily use alcohol or nicotine.

What are symptoms of tonsil cancer?

The symptoms can include:
• Difficulty swallowing
• Chronic pain
• Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
• Ulceration of the tonsils
• Progressive enlargement of the tonsils
• Fever, weight loss, and night sweats

Could tonsil stones become imbedded?

The tonsil stones may recur. An x-ray can help to determine the size of the stones and help determine if they are imbedded. The tissue of the tonsils could grow over and around the stones. If they go away before a visit with a medical practitioner, the exam may still be needed so the throat can be inspected and any other stones can be located.

What could cause a tonsil to become elongated?

Adenoid disorders could cause an elongated and enlarged tonsil. There are several different types of adenoid disorders. The adenoids are a mass of lymphoid tissue that is located at the back of the nose where the nasal cavity and mouth meet. Tangier disease could be another cause of an enlarged or elongated tonsil. This condition is a genetic disorder that can be characterized by low levels of high-density lipoprotein. Inflammation could also cause an enlarged or elongated tonsil. A consultation with a medical practitioner may be needed to help rule out cancer and to determine a proper diagnosis.

Anytime individuals experience problems with the tonsils, questions and concerns may arise. Questions regarding the diagnosis of cancer, stones, cancer symptoms, and complications should be monitored by medical professionals. For more information or for answers to these questions, an individual should contact an Expert.
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