Your Tonsils Do What?


My tonsils were removed when I was in kindergarten, so I never had to put much thought into what my life would be like if I still had them. But after a recent “wee hours of the morning” visit to the ER with my hubby, Al, and his peritonsillar abscess, I became curious. What exactly is the purpose of those nodules still hanging in the back of my husband’s throat—and the throats of our three boys?

Knowing that each little part of the body serves a purpose of some kind, I had to admit there was one question at the top of my mind as I sat there watching the pain Al was in: Your tonsils do what? After all, I couldn’t think of any way my life had been compromised since my own tonsils were taken out.

Any self-respecting self-healther would dig a little deeper. And that’s just what I did.

According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology (which refers to the study of diseases of the ears and throat), the tonsils are the first line of defense when it comes to your immune system. Along with your adenoids, the tonsils inspect the bacteria and viruses that enter your body through the mouth or nose.

As you might suspect, exposure to bacteria and viruses puts your tonsils at risk of falling victim to these troublemakers on occasion. The results can lead to things like tonsillitis, strep throat, or an abscess like Al’s. (I’m told it’s like  a run-of-the-mill sore throat multiplied by approximately a million.)

Tonsillitis While I won’t go into the gruesome details of what was done to relieve Al’s pain, I can tell you that it wasn’t a new experience for him. He had to deal with a peritonsillar abscess thirty years ago as well, losing 25 pounds before it was diagnosed and taken care of. Back then he was a teenager who thought he just needed to “power through” and it would blow over.

The ear, nose, and throat specialist who was ultimately called in to drain his abscessed tonsil suggested that the repeat occurrence warranted consideration of a tonsillectomy. On the spot, Al decided he’d rather have his tonsils come out than deal with this again.

So what does his decision mean for his health? If the tonsils are the immune system’s first line of defense, is the immune system less effective after they’re removed? Having lived forty years without my own tonsils, experience tells me that removing them had a minimal affect—if any. My health is pretty robust, and I rarely get sick.

But what do the experts say?

This study confirmed my suspicion: when researchers compared kids who had a tonsillectomy to kids who hadn’t, they found no increase in disease for those who were tonsil-less.

Of course, we should strive to keep all of our body parts intact. The removal of anything needs to be carefully considered. If someone you love deals with chronic tonsillitis, first try talking with your health care provider about nutritional support.

I can tell you right now that Standard Process Calcium Lactate can play a major role in preventing or alleviating these symptoms. Along with the C and F complexes, it provides chemicals that arm the immune system and allow the tonsils and adrenals to do their job. Perhaps Thymex and Congaplex from Standard Process or Echinacea Premium from MediHerb would be part of that protocol also. Only your holistic practitioner will know for sure!

I love the power that a self-health education can give you. What body part are you curious to learn more about?

Photo at top from iStock/robertprzybysz; inset graphic from iStock/ttsz

Paula Widish

Paula Widish, author of Trophia: Simple Steps to Everyday Self-Health, is a freelance writer and self-healther. She loves nothing more than sharing tidbits of information she discovers with others. (Actually, she loves her family more than that—and probably bacon too.) Paula has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Public Relations and is a Certified Professional Life Coach through International Coach Academy.

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4 thoughts on “Your Tonsils Do What?

  1. Sam says:

    Interesting. I still have my tonsils. But if there’s no difference between those who have them removed and those who don’t, why have them removed if they’re not causing issues? Removal of tonsils was a very popular and common thing among my childhood friends.

  2. Paula Widish says:

    I agree, Sam. As I said, we should strive to keep all of our body parts intact. 🙂 I’m not sure if the doctors back in the day were scamming or if there were just more kids dealing with tonsil issues. I know that was the case for me. Or, maybe it was cyclical like so many other things. Maybe it was all about the knowledge they had at that time. Right? And maybe that is where parents were at too. I believe the average consumer is much better informed these days and don’t just follow along with what the doctor tells them blindly. They listen, investigate, ask questions, etc. and then make the decision that feels right to them. At least that is what I like to think is the case. 😉

  3. Joy says:

    Several years ago I learned that of the children who had polio during that epidemic, more than 90% no longer had their tonsils– much higher than the average population. Interesting.

  4. Paula Widish says:

    That is an interesting tidbit, Joy! I wasn’t aware of this statistic. Thank you for sharing it. 🙂

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