Dr. Ravi Bhatt Clinic

Tonsillitis- Its types, symptoms, function, and complications

Inflammation of tonsils is called tonsillitis. Tonsils are mass of lymphoid tissue that is situated at the back of the throat, one on each side. Tonsils have a defensive role and they act as a guard at the portal of food and air passage, they enlarge when coming in contact with some foreign substance. Tonsils are larger up to the age of 5 years and gradually diminish during the age of puberty.

Types of tonsillitis:

  1. Acute tonsillitis.
  2. Chronic tonsillitis.

Acute tonsillitis:

Tonsils consist of crypts, surface epithelium, and lymphoid tissue, the acute infection of tonsils involves these components and classified as:

Acute follicular :

When infection spread into the crypts and get filled with pus-like material, it presents at the openings of crypts as yellow spots.

Acute membranous :

It is an advanced stage of acute follicular tonsillitis, in this exudate from crypts coalesce to form the membrane on tonsil’s surface.

Acute Parenchymatous :

Tonsils are equally enlarged and red, the substance of tonsils are involved.

Acute catarrhal or superficial tonsillitis :

Most common in viral infections, in this inflammation of tonsils, is part of generalized pharyngitis.

Causes of acute tonsillitis:

Hemolytic streptococcus is a common organism. Other organisms responsible are staphylococci, H.influenzae.It is common in both adults and school-going children, rarely found in infants and adults above 50 yrs of age.

Symptoms and signs of acute tonsillitis:

  1. Difficult swelling.
  2. Sore throat.
  3. Fever
  4. Earache, it is referred pain from inflamed tonsils or due to acute otitis media which may be a complication of acute infection of tonsils.
  5. Constitutional symptoms are marked and include general body ache, headache, feeling of not feeling well, headache, pain in the abdomen occurs because of mesenteric lymphadenitis, which looks like acute appendicitis.
  6. Tonsils are red and swollen, there is the presence of yellowish spots of pus-like material at the opening of crypts (acute follicular tonsillitis) or there is a presence of whitish membrane, which is easy to wipe (acute membranous tonsillitis).
  7. Bad breath and coated tongue.
  8. Hyperaemia of pillars, uvula and soft palate.
  9. Presence of enlarged and tender (painful when touched) jugulodigastric lymph node.


  1. Chronic tonsillitis with frequent acute attacks, this is because of incompletely resolved acute infection of tonsils. Chronic infection persists in the lymphoid follicles of the tonsils in the form of a micro abscess.
  2. In patients of valvular heart disease, acute infection of tonsils is complicated by endocarditis.
  3. Peritonsillar abscess.
  4. Cervical abscess.
  5. Parapharyngeal abscess.
  6. Frequent attacks of otitis media (infection of the middle ear) coincide with recurrent tonsillitis.
  7. Rheumatic fever.

Chronic tonsillitis:


  1. It is a complication of acute tonsillitis.
  2. Chronic infection in sinuses or teeth.
  3. Subclinical infections of tonsils.


  1. Chronic fibroid.
  2. Chronic parenchymatous.
  3. Chronic follicular.

Clinical features:

  1. Bad taste in the mouth and foul breath due to pus in crypts.
  2. Thick speech, difficulty in swallowing, when tonsils are enlarged and obstructive they cause choking spells during sleep.
  3. Irritation in throat and cough.


  1. Tonsillar cyst.
  2. Peritonsillar abscess.
  3. Parapharyngeal abscess.
  4. Tonsillolith.
  5. Intratonsillar abscess.

Homeopathy treatment is very beneficial in infection of tonsils, it reduces inflammation, pain and fever and many time homeopathic medicines helps to avoid the surgery in many patients. Homeopathy medicines have no side effects and give a prompt cure.

Home remedies for tonsillitis:

  1. Honey in tea.
  2. Cinnamon and honey in warm water, drink it sip by sip.
  3. Salt in warm water for gargle.
  4. Turmeric + salt in the tolerable warm water for gargle.
  5. One teaspoonful Turmeric + pinch of ground pepper in warm milk to drink.
  6. Glycerrhazia lozenges help in tonsillitis.
  7. Warm liquids like soup.
  8. Chewing gum containing mint.
  9. Voice rest.
  10. Avoid food which is hard and rough.
  11. Soft food to be promoted which is easy to chew and swallow.
  12. Cool air humidifier.
  13. Warm juice/extract of basil leaves.