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 Tonsil and Adenoid Pain

Woman touching throat

​​Tonsils and adenoids are masses of tissue that help defend the immune system from infections. Both protect against viral and bacterial infections by catching and trapping incoming germs through the mouth and nose. Tonsils are located in the back of the throat and adenoids are located directly behind the nose. They can become infected by viruses and bacteria causing a sore throat and post nasal drainage. Boys Town National Research Hospital helps guide individuals with tonsil or adenoid concerns.


  • Enlarged or swollen tonsils and adenoids are more common in children. Parents may see problems with sleep apnea, such as snoring and restlessness during sleep, nasal congestion causing mouth breathing. Adenoid enlargement can be associated with chronic ear infections. Patients may have recurrent Tonsillitis or strep throat.
  • Adults who suffer from infections are more likely to have a chronic infection such as constant soreness of the throat or debris that builds up in the tonsil crypts.


  • Viral infections are treated with lots of fluid and rest.
  • Bacterial infections are treated with antibiotics.
  • Antihistamines in a liquid, pill or nasal steroid sprays can be used when inflammation occurs due to an allergy component.

Tonsillectomy or Adenoidectomy

The surgery procedures are called tonsillectomy​ or adenoidectomy – which removes the tonsils or adenoids. Below are two main reasons to consider before getting surgery.

  • Enlargement. When the tonsils and adenoids are causing obstructive symptoms that are causing significant problems such as difficulty swallowing, trouble gaining weight, snoring, not getting quality sleep, leading to behavior issues and difficulty concentrating in school, etc.
  • Recurrent or chronic infections. An individual is suffering from infections often and antibiotics are not working.

Consult our Boys Town Ear, Nose and Throat clinic locations to talk to an otolaryngologist specialist if you or your child is experiencing problems related to tonsils and adenoids.