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Adenoids and Tonsils (cont.)

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How are tonsillitis and adenoid infection diagnosed?

Diagnosis of tonsillitis and adenoid infection is based on a medical history and a physical exam.

If symptoms suggest strep throat, the doctor may order a throat culture or rapid strep test, which are done by swabbing the back of the throat and checking for the Streptococcus bacteria. This can be performed in the doctor's office. If the Epstein-Barr virus, which can cause mononucleosis, is suspected as a cause for the tonsillitis, a blood test for mononucleosis may be done.

Strep throat is more likely if at least three of the following signs or symptoms are present:

  • Fever
  • White or yellow spots or coating on the throat and/or tonsils (tonsillar exudates)
  • Red spots on the roof of the mouth (upper palette)
  • Swollen or tender lymph nodes on the neck
  • Absence of coughing or sneezing

Antibiotic treatment may be needed if the infection is caused by bacteria. In more severe, recurrent or chronic cases, surgery to remove the tonsils or adenoids (tonsillectomy or adenoidectomy) may be needed.

How are tonsillitis and adenoid infection treated?

Bacterial infections of the tonsils and adenoids are treated with various antibiotics. Tonsillitis caused by the Streptococcus bacteria can lead to serious complications. Once treatment begins, it is important to take the full course of antibiotics as prescribed because if you stop taking the drugs before you have finished them it can lead to adverse consequences and regrowth of the bacteria. Surgical removal is considered in situations resistant to medical therapy or in frequently recurrent infections.

Viral causes of tonsillitis or enlarged adenoids are often treated with only supportive care (hydration and control of fever). Antibiotics are not effective for viral infection of the tonsils.

A peritonsillar abscess should be drained either by removal of fluid with a needle and syringe (needle aspiration), cutting open with a scalpel (incision), or tonsillectomy. Chronic stones in the tonsil can be removed with a clean finger or with a blunt probe. Massive enlargement of the tonsils and adenoids causing airway obstruction may be treated with a long course of antibiotics, or even a brief course of steroids to reduce inflammation (cortisone-related medications, such as prednisone and prednisolone).

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/4/2014

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Tonsillitis - Symptoms Question: What were the symptoms associated with your tonsillitis?
Tonsillitis - Diagnosis Question: What kinds of tests or exams led to a diagnosis of tonsillitis? Did you have recurrent infections?
Tonsillitis - Treatment Question: What was the treatment for your tonsillitis?
Tonsillitis - Surgery Question: Were your tonsils removed? If so, how was this decision made (did you have recurrent infections, sleep apnea, etc.)?
Tonsillitis - Snoring and Other Problems Question: Did enlarged tonsils or adenoids cause sleeping or breathing problems? What was the remedy?
Source: MedicineNet.com
http://www.medicinenet.com/adenoids_and_tonsils/article.htm

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