Tonsillitis And Tonsil Stone : Difference, Symptoms and Treatement

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  • Tonsillitis and tonsil stone are 2 different diseases that affect or occur in the tonsil.

Tonsillitis

Tonsillitis (also known as tonsil inflammation) is an inflammation of the two (2) oval-shaped pads of tissue located at the back of the throat. Tonsillitis is often caused by viral infection although it can also be caused by a bacterial infection. Tonsillitis is common among children between pre-school ages and mid-teenage.

Symptoms and signs of tonsillitis

  • Sore throat
  • Fever and chills
  • Headache
  • Difficulty in swallowing (pains while swallowing)
  • Bad or foul breath
  • Loss of appetite
  • Swollen neck/jaw gland
  • Sometimes ear pain
  • Throat pain and tenderness

THERE ARE THREE(3) TYPES OF TONSILLITIS

  • Acute 
  • Recurrent
  • Chronic

Acute Tonsillitis – symptoms last for mostly 3 – 4 days but can also last for 2 weeks.

Recurrent tonsillitis – this refers to a case where tonsillitis occurs several times in a year.

Chronic tonsillitis – this refers to long term or prolonged tonsil infection.

SYMPTOMS IN CHILDREN

  • Vomiting
  • Stomach or abdominal pain
  • Drooling
  • Stomach upset
  • Loss of appetite

CAUSES OF TONSILLITIS 

The common cause of tonsillitis can be either viral or bacteria

For bacteria, the most common cause is streptococcus bacteria

For viral

  • Adenoviruses
  • Epstein – Barr’s Virus
  • Influenza Virus
  • Para-influenza Virus
  • Entero Virus
  • Herpes Simplex Virus 

COMPLICATIONS OF TONSILLITIS

  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Tonsillar cellulitis (infection spreads to the surrounding tissue).
  • Upper respiratory tract infection
  • Rheumatic fever
  • Scarlet fever
  • Sinusitis 
  • Glomerulonephritis

TREATMENT

  • Antibiotics can be used especially if the cause of infection is bacteria

Some home remedies can help relieve symptoms – they include;

  • Drinking warm water or very cold water can help ease throat pain
  • Rinse and gargle mouth with warm salt water and garlic.
  • Eat foods(s) that are not hard or rough

In complicated cases, tonsillectomy surgery may be required.

HOW TO PREVENT TONSILLITIS 

  • Maintain proper hand hygiene i.e. wash hands as often as possible.
  • Don’t share food, drink, or utensils with a sick person.
  • Always change toothbrush at most every 2-3 months

NOW, WHAT IS TONSIL STONE?  

Tonsil stone is quite different from tonsillitis. Tonsil stone (also known as tonsillolith) is a disease that occurs when different types of debris (mucus, saliva, dead cells, food particles) become trapped in the tonsil crypts (crevices, tunnels, and pits that makes up the tonsil) and buildup. As time goes on the trapped debris starts to harden and thereafter forms a stone (known as tonsil stone).

When a person has tonsil stones, it cannot be easily spotted or noticed. The size of the stone might be as small as a rice grain or even as big as a large grape.

CAUSES OF TONSIL STONE

  • Lack of proper dental hygiene
  • Long term/chronic tonsillitis 
  • Larger tonsil
  • Chronic sinus problems

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF TONSIL STONE

  1. Bad breath – because of micro-organism feed on the buildup of debris in the tonsil crypts which then causes bad breath or oduor.
  2. Sore throat
  3. Cough
  4. Inflammed tonsil
  5. Difficulty in swallowing 
  6. Earache
  7. Presence of whitish or yellowish debris on the tonsil

HOW TO REMOVE TONSIL STONE(S)

Most times tonsil stones are harmless especially when it is so small but people remove them because they cause bad breath or discomfort.

Tonsil stones can be removed either by using medical procedures or home remedies.

REMOVAL OF TONSIL STONES CAN BE DONE BY;

  1. Coughing up the stones – you may first realize you have tonsil stone(s) when find one in the sputum of your cough or you actually cough one up. Deep coughing can help you expel some stones.
  2. Manual methods – do not try to remove tonsil stones by yourself using hard items like toothbrush or spoon, it is very risky and could cause bleeding or an infection. The tonsil is a very soft and delicate tissue so be gentle. If you must remove it manually, it is necessary to use something more soft and gentle such as a cotton swab.
  3. Gargling – tonsil stones can be removed buy gargling vigorously with warm salt water. Also gargling with warm salt water can help get rid of the mouth odour caused by the tonsil stone(s).
  4. Antibiotics – antibiotics can also be used in some case to manage tonsil stones. Taking antibiotics can lower bacteria counts which plays a significant role in the development and growth of the tonsil stones.
  5. Laser tonsil Cryptolysis – this is a procedure that involves using a laser to remove the crypts where the tonsil stones are found. In performing this procedure, local anesthesia is used.
  6. Coblation Cryptolysis – this procedure involves the use of salt solution; the solution is transformed into charged ions by radio waves. In this procedure no heat is involved therefore burning sensation is not felt afterward.
  7. Tonsillectomy – in very complicated or chronic cases of tonsil stones, tonsillectomy is done. Tonsillectomy is the removal of tonsils through surgery. This surgical procedure is done using a laser or scalpel. Tonsil stones associated with tonsil infection requires surgery. Large tonsil stones can distort the growth of normal tonsil tissue.

If you notice any of the symptoms (of tonsil stone) mentioned in this article please see a doctor.

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