What causes enlarged tonsils in adults?

Answer

According to Patient.co.uk, the most common cause of enlarged tonsils in adults is viral infections, but bacterial infections can also cause a patient’s tonsils to swell or become painful. Although it is rare, The Tuscaloosa Ear, Nose, and Throat Center P.C., contends that adults may also suffer from throat cancer or abscesses behind the tonsils. Both of these conditions may cause the tonsils to swell or appear swollen.

The Better Health Channel explains that tonsils are small areas of glandular tissue located near the back of the throat. The structures are part of the immune system, and they produce white blood cells and antibodies to fight off germs that enter the mouth. The human tonsils are initially very small, but they grow in size with increasing age. They reach their largest size between the ages of 4 and 7. While adults rarely have problems with their tonsils, they can become swollen and yellowish when infected or overwhelmed by germs, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The Los Angeles Times contends that the number of adults who suffer from tonsillitis has risen primarily because fewer children are having their tonsils removed. While doctors were quick to schedule children for tonsil removal until the 1970s, doctors in the 1980s and more recently have taken a more conservative approach. Currently, only children with severe infections are scheduled for tonsillectomies. Nevertheless, the Tuscaloosa Ear, Nose and Throat Center P.C., explains that as long as no other health problems are present, tonsillectomies can be performed on patients of any age.

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