Everyone knows that your tonsils are located between your throat and your neck. But can you be born with these tiny, delicate organs? While some people might prefer not to talk about their tonsillitis past, many other people know that they’ve experienced it. It’s a common infection that can make its victim feel awful for a few days, but it usually goes away on its own. For some people though, the infection is so severe that it leaves them with hoarseness and swelling of the throat from years of screaming during sleep. These people may be referred to as “born-without-tonsils” individuals. If you have this condition, you can learn how your body reacted to being left without the help of these pesky little glands. You might also discover whether you’re more likely to develop this problem if another child in the family has it or if something else is to blame for your ability to produce falsies.
Can You Be Born without Tonsils?
No, you cannot be born without tonsils. They are essential for your respiratory system and help to develop your voice.
How Does A Tonsil Function?
- They help to protect your throat from germs and reduce the number of bacteria in your body.
- They keep your throat moist so that you don’t dry out.
- They are important for the production of saliva and also help with swallowing food.
- Your tonsils are important for the development of your voice so that you can talk properly without choking or strangling yourself on food.
- They help to protect your body from harmful bacteria, viruses, and germs.
- They are used for swallowing and eliminating food and liquids into your stomach.
What Causes Tonsillitis?
- Viral infections: The most common virus that causes tonsillitis is the Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV). It is normally harmless, but it causes tonsillitis when it attacks your tonsils. Although it does not cause tonsillitis frequently, it can cause a lot of damage to the tonsils if left untreated for some time. EBV can also cause problems in the throat other than just tonsillitis such as sore throats, swollen lymph nodes, and even cancer of the throat or neck (tonsil cancer).
- Bacterial infections: Bacteria can also cause tonsillitis by entering your mouth through a cut or cracked tooth or by touching something with an infected hand and then touching your mouth. These bacteria are normally harmless but they flourish in warm and moist environments so they will be more likely to attack when your throat is warm and moist from speaking or eating food that has been contaminated with saliva containing them such as meatballs or pizza sauce on spaghetti noodles. Another way that bacteria can enter the mouth is through a little hole in the roof of the mouth called Strep-pharyngitis which causes sore throats when you yawn or talk too much (for more information on Strep-pharyngitis see “The Name of the Disease” section in this chapter).
- Viral infections: The Epstein-Barr virus can also cause tonsillitis by attacking your tonsils.
- Communicable diseases: Tonsillitis can be caused by other infectious diseases such as measles, chicken pox, mumps, and even tuberculosis (TB) which is normally caused by a bacterium called Mycobacteria. TB is normally not spread through saliva but it can be spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes on another person’s face or mouth causing sores that are easily infected with bacteria from the infected person’s mouth or throat.
- Allergies: Tonsillitis can also be caused by allergies to certain foods such as peanuts, eggs, milk, and even grass pollen (for more information on allergies see “Allergies” section in this chapter).
- Congenital disorders: If a child is born without tonsils he may get tonsillitis because his immune system does not develop properly so it cannot keep his throat protected from germs and bacteria that would normally be kept out of his throat by his tonsils.
What Are The Symptoms Of Tonsillitis?
- Sore throat: When you have tonsillitis your throat will feel sore and your tonsils may also be swollen.
- Pain when swallowing: You may feel pain in your throat or jaw when you swallow.
- Swollen tonsils: When you have tonsillitis the lymph nodes around your tonsils will be swollen and tender to touch.
- Headache: You may also have a headache which is often worse when you lie down at night or in the morning, especially if you get up too quickly from a nap (for more information on headaches see the “Headaches” section in this chapter).
- Fever: If your temperature goes above 100°F there is a chance that you have an infection but if it stays at 99°F or below for more than two days then it is likely that your fever is caused by an infection called mononucleosis (see “Mononucleosis” section in this chapter).
- Chills: If you develop chills then it is likely that they are caused by an infection such as tonsillitis, influenza, or even pneumonia (see “Pneumonia” section in this chapter).
How Can I Treat Tonsillitis?
- Medication: Tonsillitis is normally cured with antibiotic medicine.
- Antibiotic medicine: If you have tonsillitis and your doctor says that you need to take antibiotics then the best thing to do is to start taking them right away because they will most likely help you get better faster.
- Antacid: If your tonsils are swollen then it is a good idea to take an antacid such as TUMS (see “Antacids” section in this chapter) or even an antihistamine such as Zantac (see “Antihistamines” section in this chapter).
- Avoid drinking alcohol: Alcohol can make your throat feel sore and it can also make your tonsils swell so it is a very good idea for you not to drink alcohol if you have tonsillitis because it could cause more damage than good!
- Restroom visits: Try not to go to the restroom after eating or drinking too much liquid because that can cause you to strain and cough which may lead to more pain and swelling in your throat, especially if the fluid is acidic (for more information on dry cough see “Coughs” section in this chapter).
What Are The Side Effects Of Treatment For Tonsillitis?
- Side effects of medication: Tonsillitis is normally treated with antibiotic medicine and if you do not take the medicine then you are likely to get better faster so if you get rid of your tonsillitis then it is a good idea for you to start taking antibiotics right away.
- Side effects of being sick: If tonsillitis is going around then it can cause a lot of damage in your body, especially if it goes on for a long time so if you have tonsillitis then try to rest as much as possible and make sure that you drink plenty of fluids because that will help your body heal faster (for more information on how to handle fevers see “Fever” section in this chapter).
- Side effects of being sick: If tonsillitis goes on for a long time then it can also lead to other health problems such as ear infections, respiratory infections, pneumonia, sinus infections, bronchitis, and even asthma (see “Asthma” section in this chapter).
- Side effects of being sick: Being sick for a long period of time can also cause your immune system to weaken and it can lead to you getting a cold or the flu, so if tonsillitis is going around then try to take care of yourself and get plenty of rest because that will help you heal faster.
- Side effects of being sick: If your tonsil is swollen it can also cause you to have a sore throat which can make it hard for you to swallow and even if you try to swallow the food that you eat, it may end up coming back up into your mouth because the food will be too big for your throat.
People who are born without tonsils are called “born-without-tweezers”. There are a few different reasons why someone could be born with a tonsil, but the most common one is an immune system issue. Kids who are born with tonsils are often underdeveloped and receive little support during childhood. They are more likely to have speech and language issues as an adult and may have a harder time finding work. Kids with tonsils should be evaluated by a doctor as soon as they start to show symptoms. If your child has a frequent cold or runny nose, check their throat for a pus-like build-up that may indicate a tonsil infection.