Should Your Child Have Tonsils Removed? A Guide for Parents
If your child has chronic throat infections, it may seem like the tonsils do nothing but cause trouble. In actuality, they do have a role to play as a part of the body’s natural defense against germs. However, when your child has recurrent tonsillitis, removing the tonsils can make a dramatic improvement in his or her life.
We’ve provided this guide for parents to help determine whether or not this procedure is right for your child.
What do the tonsils do?
The tonsils are located at the back of the throat and the soft palate. They are responsible for trapping germs when they enter your body through your mouth or nose. When the tonsils come in contact with these bacteria or viruses, they activate your immune system, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
When should you consider a tonsillectomy for your child?
If your child has experienced any of the following, we encourage you to speak with us about whether or not a tonsillectomy would be appropriate:
- Frequent throat infections
This is the most common reason for a tonsillectomy. Recurring infections that cause swollen lymph nodes and a fever may prompt the need to remove tonsils, especially if your child has six to seven infections a year, and the problem has been ongoing for the last three years.
- Difficulty swallowing
Enlarged tonsils can make it difficult for your child to swallow
3. Sleep difficulties
Some children have larger tonsils, which may cause difficulty breathing during the night when your child is in a reclined position. This can cause a potentially serious condition called sleep apnea, where your child will stop breathing for several seconds at a time throughout the night. According to the Cleveland Clinic, when children fail to get restorative sleep, they can have problems at school, difficulty concentrating, irritability and poor coping skills.
What are the adenoids, and why are they often removed as well?
Actually, the adenoids are a part of your tonsils. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, there are three different types of tonsils:
—Two palatine tonsils, which are located on either side of your throat. These are the tonsils you can see when you look in a mirror.
—The adenoids, which are located behind the roof of the mouth in the soft palate
—One lingual tonsil, located at the back of the base of the tongue.
The adenoids may also be enlarged and inflamed, which prompts their removal as well.
Is a tonsillectomy the right choice for your child?
Tonsillectomies are some of the most common procedures we conduct. If you’re concerned about the frequent throat infections your child has had, please contact one of our ENTs for an appointment.