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crying-manThere is a vast difference between having a tonsillectomy as a child and as an adult. Firstly, the older you are, the longer it takes the body to heal. Secondly, a child’s tonsils are much smaller than an adult’s and require much less skin to be removed. The larger adult tonsils tend to cause more trauma and pain. However, doctors do not completely understand why an adult experiences more subjective pain than a child. If you are about to have a tonsillectomy or have recently had your tonsils removed, you should expect moderate to severe discomfort and pain for at least two weeks, sometimes longer.

Immediately after the tonsillectomy operation you should not feel too much pain as you will still have the anaesthetic in your system. The pain usually starts to become very uncomfortable when you wake up the following day. Your recovery experience will depend a lot on how you plan for and manage the next two weeks. You should expect to have a mild to severely sore throat in the first two weeks. The throat pain will peak around days 7-11 when the scabs from the wound begin to fall off. You should also expect to lose some weight and feel hungry as you will not be able to follow your normal diet. Loss of taste, sore tongue, bad breath and jaw pain are also commonly reported after a tonsillectomy. Some people also experience mild to severe nausea after the operation due to the anaesthetic.

Your first challenge will be eating and drinking. The most important advice that anyone can give you about recovering from a tonsillectomy is to drink water. Unfortunately drinking water is extremely painful, especially when the throat is dry .e.g. when you first wake up. However, if you do not drink water, the throat becomes even drier and it is even more painful to drink water. You should keep a bottle of water close to you and sip it as often as you can.

Eating food is also very difficult. The most common food in the first few weeks is ice chips or ice lollies as they both hydrate your throat and numb it at the same time which is very soothing. Rough foods which scrape your throat are painful, yet some doctors recommend rough food as they say it will clean the wound and speed up your recovery. I strongly recommend that you talk to your doctor about your tonsillectomy recovery and find out what foods he or she recommends. Most people in the USA are told to eat soft foods for the first week or so until after the scabs have fallen off and then slowly progress to rougher foods. Popular soft foods are pasta, baby food, jell-o, soup, scrambled egg. Do not eat very acidic or spicy foods or sauces as these will cause pain e.g. tomato based sauces or anything with chillies in it.

You will notice that you develop a heavy grey/yellow/white membrane where the tonsils were removed. This is the scab that is protecting the area where you tonsils were removed. It will slowly go away as you heal. The greatest risk you face is hemorrhaging of the wound. This occurs when the wound opens up and begins to bleed. If it is a very small amount it is usually not a big concern, however if it is more, you need to get urgent medical attention. In all cases, you should contact your doctor immediately or get to the nearest emergency hospital. You should not worry too much about the likelihood of serious hemorrhaging during your tonsillectomy recovery period as less than 4% of people will actually experience it.


Another area to focus on is your sleeping environment. You should plan to make this area as comfortable as possible as this is where you will be spending much of your recovery time. I strongly recommend buying or borrowing a humidifier as it can significantly aid in your tonsillectomy recovery. A humidifier will increase the humidity in air that you breathe and therefore aid in keeping your throat moist. Your sleeping cycle will almost certainly be affected by the medication you take and the pain you experience.Depending on the medication you are prescribed and the schedule for taking it, you may find yourself waking up when the medication begins to wear off and the pain increases.

Most people find themselves sleeping for between four and six hours at a time. It is generally a good idea to set an alarm to take your medication if you may be sleeping as this will also give you some time to drink some water.

Medication is critical during your tonsillectomy recovery. You can expect to be prescribed both a pain killer and anti-biotic. The anti-biotic is used to prevent or control any infection arising from the wound. The pain killers are obviously prescribed to help you manage the pain. You may be prescribed an opioid based pain killer which is very effective. Talk to your doctor and ask him exactly how often you should take your medication and the maximum you can take when the pain is severe.

Remember that after the scabs fall off around days 7-11, your recovery will be rapid. Don’t forget to drink water often and follow your medication schedule. If you have not yet had your tonsillectomy and are planning for it, go out now and buy yourself some of your favourite magazines, books etc. Even although the recovery period is quite short, it feels longer than it is and the more things you have to distract yourself with the better!


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 Trinity February 15, 2012 at 7:47 am

2-8-12 was surgery day! Adenoids+ tonsillectomy+septoplasty= hell on earth
i also have thrush they gave meds for it 2 days ago . they gave me liquid mophine that burns more than helps. it will be a week tomorrow since surgery! i am 24 years young. i have tried tea with honey.. i have a humidifier next to my bed. my scabs havent fell off yet … at least i dont think. please help

 Trinity February 15, 2012 at 11:59 am

stopped taking morphine last night at 11:00pm its now almost 6 am i haven’t slept much but honestly i dont feel worse! do you think i should call and see if my doc will give me the Voltaren 100mg suppositories? its been officially one week since surgery. i really need a tun around.

 jade February 15, 2012 at 9:58 am

im 26 and had mine out on 10/02/2012 i have been eating normal and the pain hasnt been too bad until last night!!!! agony! why is it getting worse not better? my tounge is more painful than my scabs the tablets dont effect the pain any more and ice cream does nothing, very sad! i can have two weeks off so im back to full time collage monday, how will i cope? does it get better when the scabs come off? if so when will that be???!!!

 Miss22 February 17, 2012 at 5:31 am

It is brutal. I only started getting a little better day 8 which is I guess for you is about the time im writing this. I didnt bleed nor feel the scabs come off but i realized they fell only because I felt so much better. I suggest ice on your neck or wrapping a scarf a little tightly aroud ur neck. Ice cream sucks cuz sugar and dairy stick to scabs they didnt help me at all. Mashed potatoes and popsicles were the only things i ate. Force urself to eat you will heal faster. Best of luck! I’m on day 14 and no way in hell can i yawn it kills and even sneezing is a huge pain. Still, no regrets!

 jade February 15, 2012 at 9:59 am

i cant have two weeks off i ment to say x

 Angela February 15, 2012 at 10:26 am

Hello, I wanted to write something positive as prior to having surgery the online forums I read were quite “scary”
I am 34 and had my tonsils out two weeks ago today. Days 2 – 5 were painful but if you keep hydrated and on top of your pain medication the pain is managable. I was off pain killers by day 6 and eating and drinking normally. Some tips
Stay hydrated, even though it is painful drink water you have to make yourself
Keep on top of your pain medication, I set my alarm four hourly throughout the night to take the medication and always took it half an hour before I ate
Make yourself eat, I had a freshly squeezed juice each morning and then made myself eat a piece of toast. Even though it is painful to eat it helps with the healing process as solid foods help clear the gunk off the back of your throat.
I found gargling salt water also helped the healing process.
All the best if you are about to have the operation, I am so glad I had it done and it wasn’t anywhere near as painful as I expected.


 dyanne February 15, 2012 at 7:56 pm

omg jade,i got my tonsils out the same day as you,jesus i’ve never experienced pain like it.Everyday it is gettin worse,i keep thinking why did i have this operation.Day 1 & 2 were a doddle,HELL SINCE,so hang in there huni,we’re both in the same horrid situation.

 Leah February 15, 2012 at 9:16 pm

OMG…I am so freaked out about this whole tonsillectomy surgery. I’m 24, and is going to get mines removed in a few weeks. For those of you who had theirs removed, is it really that painful? How long did it take for you guys to recover? did you lose weight? gain weight? did yall have any sleepless night? *sigh* erghh I am not looking forward to this at all.

 Wes February 15, 2012 at 10:48 pm

Leah, I had mine taken out last Wednesday February the 8th. I also had a septoplasty and turbinectomy to correct some problems with my sinuses. The surgeries combined has been rough and I’d has made my recovery different from many.
Days 1-4: I was hardly able to get out of bed due to exhaustion. I experienced pain, nausea, dizziness, and a fever. The pain was manageable with medication but still not pleasant. I slept a lot when the medication kicked in. I couldn’t eat solid foods and was stuck drinking tepid fluids. At night, I spent much of the time awake as I woke up a lot due to dry mouth or coughing to clear my throat. I tried to stay hydrated as best I could but mouth breathing dries the mouth out. My wife set up a humidifier next to the bed and that helped.

 Wes February 15, 2012 at 10:58 pm

I should also mention that when I woke up after surgery I was really out of it and had severe nausea leaving the hospital. Before I left while in recovery the pain escalated as the anesthesia wore off but the nurse had me take my first dose of pain killer and the pain went away. My speech was slow from the drugs but I didn’t notice difficulty speaking at a soft tone. Now that i am a full week post op, talking is more labored because i can not breathe through my nose and there are scabs in my throat. I can talk quietly for short periods but long conversations require me to stop to clear my throat or drink water. Also, during the first few days I wanted to cry more out of emotional frustration than from pain.

 Miss22 February 17, 2012 at 5:36 am

It isemotionally frustrating for sure. You’re a vegetable but in agony! I didnt express nausea as Wes did, maybe because its not the same surgery or because people react differently to anastesia. Ive heard having dairy too soon after surgery has negative impacts on cleansing off the anasthesia. Anyway its tough but im on day 14 and i can now say it felt like it went by fast. I was drugged up the WHOLE time lol. Read about everyones experiences, expect the WORST and u just might be pleasantly surprised. My best advice is to stay positive. After all, theres a reason we put ourselves through this %£!#?&$@!

 Daisy February 18, 2012 at 12:01 am

One thing I’d suggest to anyone about to have the surgery is NOT to read the comments on this site! Wait until afterwards then it’s really useful for tips and advice. I lost a bit of weight the week after surgery but I’ve put it all back on (and more probably!). At the end of the day yes it will hurt, but it’s worth it. Just relax and think about the long-term benefits, not the short-term pain. Like they say, no pain, no gain!

 Leah February 15, 2012 at 9:23 pm

hi, Im gonna get mines removed in a few weeks and i am scared. how did you feel when you woke up after surgery? did it hurt? were you able to talk, are you able to talk now? are you able to eat and drink at all? How much does it hurt? does it hurt to the point where you think you wont make it to the end of recovery? have you cried because of the unbearable pain? omg, i have to know…. :( i am very very terrified. thanks.

 katie wright February 17, 2012 at 4:51 pm

hi i had my tonslis out yesterday for the second time has they grown bk i can remember wakeing up crying cus has i had pain in my ear but once they gave me some pain killers it was ok, i was able to talk but im on day 2 now and i havent had anything to eat as it does hurt a little bit to eat or drink anything.
dont worry everything will be ok xx

 Leah February 15, 2012 at 9:24 pm

how did you feel when you woke up after surgery? did it hurt? were you able to talk, are you able to talk now? are you able to eat and drink at all? How much does it hurt? does it hurt to the point where you think you wont make it to the end of recovery? have you cried because of the unbearable pain? omg, i have to know…. :( i am very very terrified. thanks.

 Wes February 15, 2012 at 11:00 pm

I responded to your first post.

 anji February 16, 2012 at 3:47 am

Hi Leah,

I also had my tonsils out on 8/2/12 same as Wes. I read all these scary comments too before the surgery and was petrified! It has not been as painful as expected. I woke up very happy from anesthesia, and chatted away to nurses. Ate some biscuits and DRANK heaps of water constantly. I was so nervous about drinking that I actually made myself sick from too much fluid too quickly, so go easy just little sips. Pain wise I have a very low pain tollerence and ensured I had strong pain relief before leaving hospital. Similar to Wes it made me very tired so I slept for first 4 days, waking to eat and drink and take pain relief. I also put ice packs on my throat for the first 4 days constantly, even slept with them on. Ice helped a lot and swelling went down quickly. Im now on day 8 and waiting for white scabs to come off as healing almost over once this happens. My throat was pretty painless from day 4 till 7, cut back on pain relief to every 6 hours and only paracetamol. But scince day 7 has been sore again due to scabs and been taking stronger pain relief in mornings as this is worst time after dry mouth all night. Stay optimistic, it has been well worth it as I have two kids under 3 and trying to look after them with repeated tonsillitis far worse than the op! Looking forward to NEVER having tonsillitis again!
1. ice throat constantly when you get home.
2. SIP water.
3. Ensure you are comfortable with pain relief before leaving hospital.
4. Take pain meds 30min before eating,
5. keep eating, although it hurts makes you feel so much better afterwards
6. take pain meds regularly
Stay optimistic, it will all be over soon.

 rachael February 15, 2012 at 10:22 pm

hello people. where do i start????? i am 33 yr old, mummy to a 2 year old and still in pain. i had my op as day surgery 3 wks ago this sat. its thee worst op i have ever been through. i would rather go through childbirth every day than this. my doctor only gave me codiene for the pain, e=which you are supposed to take every 6 hours. i was overdosing and taking every 2 hours to try and control the pain in my throat and ears. as soon as i came around in recovery the surgeon was in my face telling me that he had really struggled to get my tonsills out and then left. 2 hours later when i went to the loo i opened my mouth in the mirror to find my tongue was nearly 3 inches thick and black, reported it to a nurse straight away and it took her a further 2 hours to get someone to have a look. i was then told that this was abnormal and would slow down my recovery time by at least 5 days. great and that was that. i would definetly not recomend this op to anyone, to be honest i would rather put up with the tonsillitus every month. i am now still waiting for all the scabs to come off, breathe through my nose again and swallow a drink without it coming out of my nose (im hoping this will soon stop as corrective surgery has been mentioned, in other words the surgeon has buggered up). i can honestly say after a 32 hour labour, childbirth was a doddle compared to this!!! never thought i would be saying that!!!!

 anji February 16, 2012 at 3:54 am

thats terrible! You have had such a bad experience. Yes sounds like your surgeon had great trouble. Hang in there.

 Kim February 19, 2012 at 11:40 pm

It is terrible and imagine going through it twice? Mine grew back. This is day 4 for me and I feel very nauseated but I was able to eat applesauce and cream of chicken soup. The pain is off and on today.

 paula February 16, 2012 at 4:19 am

omg!!!!!! all these horriable stories about being in soooo much pain am gettin mine out on feb,22,12 all of u just say a prayer pLEASE MY PRIMARY DOC. SAYS MY TONSILS ARE HUGH SO. I NO THE LORD IS GOING TOO SEE ME THROUGH IT AND ALSO JUST LISTEN TOO ALL OF U GUYS STORIES WILL SURLY HELP ME GET OVER THIS. THANX FOR SHARING, MAY ALL OF YOU CONTINUE TOO HEAL,

 Jessica February 23, 2012 at 12:48 am

Hey Paula, I had mine out on 2-15-12. If you follow this mans advice you will be fine. It does hurt, but if you drink lots of water, have a humidifier, and set your alarm every 4 hours taking the max amount of pain med prescribed, you will be fine. My surgeon told me he is giving me pain meds and I shouldnt be scared to use them! I slept for four straight days basically. I’m currently taking a low dose of pain meds every 6 hours and am ok now. Still not eating much more than soup and mashed potatoes. I’ve lost 8lbs in a week, but I was never hungry, the pain meds really surpress your appetite. Don’t be scared, it’s not as horrible as some make it seem. Especially if you have kids, doesn’t come close to labor pains. Everyone’s story is different, but I truely believe if you stay positive you have a higher chance of having a positive experience.

 Trinity February 16, 2012 at 8:32 am

Age 24 post op- 7 days tonsillectomy-adnoids-Sinus surgery
My throat is so swollen you can’t even see the back of my throat or my uvula. My scabs have not fallen off yet… Is there an end? Is anyone in my boat?

 Lee February 22, 2012 at 3:33 pm

Age 34 Post Op 7 Days Tonsillectomy and Wisdom Removal

I am rowing the same boat as you! I thought things had started to improve on day 6 and the whamm loads of pain again today. My scabs have fallen off yet; trying to sip water, find eating a near impossibilty lets hope the end is insight!!

 Katie February 16, 2012 at 10:11 am

I had my tonsillectomy on the 10th feb 2012. Before I had the op done I let the doctor know that I was worried about been sick once I came round from the GA. He gave me anti sickness drugs before and after. I am now on day 6, and the pain has come in waves. I find the pain worse when I wake up, but forcing myself to drink water and take the pain killers helps and usually the pain eases after an hour or so. I’ve had quite bad earache since having the operation but I have found chewing gum helps loads. Also once I’ve eaten my throat seems to feel better, toast and ready salted crisps have helped for me, an the occasional bowl of ice cream :) I know that in a few weeks I will look back and be glad I had this done. I have a 14 month old who doesn’t understand what’s going on, I spent the first 3 days in bed but since day 4 I’ve made myself get up and get dressed and take my mind off things. I hope everyone is feeling better soon. And good luck to those having it done, it WILL be worth it :) x

 Luke February 16, 2012 at 11:26 am

22 yrs old – had my tonsillectomy yesterday 15th Feb 2012. Let me tell you all one thing you’ve done wrong is read these stories before your operation, I purposely avoided it because I didn’t want to hear any horror stories.

Nurses got me to rate my pain out of 10 every 4 or so hours until i left the hospital, I think I said something like 5, 4, 2, 1, 1. For some reason the right hand side of where the tonsil used to be has swelled into a rather large blood clot and the other side is fairly unscathed, it’s not painful but I can feel it sitting in the back of my throat. Only issue I have had is some pretty heavy bleeding while I was still in the hospital, while this wasn’t painful it prevented me from being able to sleep so the nurses got me to gargle salt water and gave me a sedative which got me to sleep.

I have been discharged now and I’m already eating regular food (I was in hospital too) just at a much slower pace than I normally would.

Tips are (like others have recommended):
1. Drink as much water as possible (I also find iced green tea really good)
2. Eat normal foods as soon as possible but steer clear of anything that is hot – wait for it to cool down
3. I’m only using an over the counter painkiller and it’s suppressing the pain well enough
4. Invest in some sleeping pills or something with a light sedative
5. Expect to spit up some blood, this doesn’t hurt but it’s all part of the recovery process

Otherwise harden the f*#k up and it will be over soon – no pain no gain – it’s really not that bad.

 Louise February 16, 2012 at 12:37 pm

I had mine out Monday the 13th of Feb 2012 (3 days ago) and am shocked at the horrible experiences some people are going through :-(

The worst I felt was yesterday when I felt so sick that I could eat at all. So I decided to stop taking the Diclofenac the hospital had given me as a side effect on it was nausea. I can’t tell you how much better I felt last night after the effects wore off, I even ate Pork chops, potato & brocolli. The pain is worse today because now I’m just on paracetamol every 6 hours but it’s better than feeling sick! and like Luke said “No pain no gain”. I never expected the pain killers to mask it all anyway.

My scabs seem to be whitening nicely. I’m looking forward to them going as they make your mouth taste like c*£p and feel sickly on the back of your tongue. I have moderate ear ache too.

But overall I would say if you are having a piece of your body cut out you can’t expect an easy ride. Stay tough, postive, eat normally, drink lots and take your medication (Unless it makes you feel ill!).

 Anonymous February 16, 2012 at 1:57 pm

Hey everyone! I’m 26 had my tonsils put on the 9/02/12 and I went through AGONY on the 14rth of geb (valentines day) I felt the worst I’ve felt since surgery!! I could feel and taste my scabs which caused me to vomit.
When this happened I felt the left side scabs come off! I was worried as this was a little premature however it did feel much more comfortable! The following day (15th of feb – day 7) I was still sore but actually felt more human! I ate a decent meal n didn’t sleep during the day for the first time and swallowing was easier. Day 8 I woke up feeling great, I popped two Panadol n went rollerblading! My throte is still sore but not unbearable, just a dull ache with increased sharp pains when I yawn. All in all YES this is the most painful experience of my life n I felt like I wanted to die, but I’m glad I went through it cos I’m feeling so much healthier!

 Angelica February 16, 2012 at 6:54 pm

Ay Ay Ay!!!! I am having mine removed tomorrow (2-17-2012)and you all are scaring the crap out of me. I take pain extremly well so my mentality is “I got this” ! Hopefully this will be enough. I have to come back to work on Tuesday so hopefully I will be fine. If anything it will be interesting, I teach. lol

 Miss22 February 17, 2012 at 5:39 am

To YAWN or not to YAWN?

Its day 14. I cant yawn! Im normal otherwise. Hubby says just force a yawn but ifeel like i’ll rip my throat. Anyone on same boat?

Also how much did either of you end up being charged? Its weird. Insurance said theyd cover 80% but it looks like they paid it all. Plz lemme know my fellow anti-tonsils

 Katelyn February 17, 2012 at 7:03 am

I had my tonsils removed 2/7/12. To me, it is the worst thing I have ever experienced in the 18 yrs. of my life. Its been almost 2 wks. since the removal and I still havent fully recovered. Good luck to anyone who is planning to get theirs removed.

 reuben February 17, 2012 at 9:28 am

well i had mine removed on the 15 feb 2012. Like luke i havnt yet xperienced the excruciating pain day 3 on as others report. The only thing uncomfortable is that i feel like somthing is stuck on my throat when i swalow. Hav vomited 2ice since the op. Stil on soft food but want try bread & pasta. It sure uncofortable speaki & mayb my share of pain stil to cum, but itts worth it

 Anji February 17, 2012 at 11:54 am

Day 10 and pain really intensified. had very little pain till day 7. However since day 7 sharp razor pain in throat and up into ears. Was expected to be feeling better but each day has been the same. Back on stronger meds which sucks as had weaned myself off them day 4. When will this end? Just want to eat some chips and nuts and drink a glass of orange juice.

 pam February 17, 2012 at 10:51 pm

Hi I hd myn remuvd on th 9th of fb so ts bn a wk and this are gtting beta thou I experience a lot of excruciating pain in the morning don’t knw wat to do abt, ts so bad tht I’m afraid to slp at nyt cz I knw th pain will b thr in th morning. Cn any1 hlp and tell me how I cn reduce this pain coz its really killing me.

 Daisy February 17, 2012 at 11:51 pm

I had my op 5 weeks ago and everything’s fine, no pain, food is tasting more normal. I have one question though… I think my soft palate at the back of my mouth has collapsed. I can’t see down my throat anymore, I’m snoring, and when I had food poisoning and vomited it came out my nose which never used to happen. It feels like it’s blocking my breathing a bit. Is this normal? Do I need to go back to the ENT?

 Daisy February 18, 2012 at 12:02 am

Oh also when I swallow water a bit goes up my nose.

 Emma February 18, 2012 at 1:53 am

I got mine removed 2 days ago,and although i’m only 15 the pain is unbearable, I started to bleed a lot last night in hospital it did stop and i got put on a drip but today I started to spit more blood up, should I go to the doctors to get checked up or just leave it?

 Cristina February 19, 2012 at 6:25 am

My ENT told me if I bleed more than 2 tablespoon to go to ER straight away. So I would go if I were you. Hope it gets better.

 Eric February 18, 2012 at 3:47 am

Hi, I had my tonsils taken out on february 14. I must say that I woke after the surgery feeling ok, no severe pain. today is the third day and i still have some pain, but just when i try swollow something.
I know that it is going to take some time to be over. the only thing that i am worried about is time cause i can not afford to stay home for more than a week.
Hope this will be over soon.

 Amy February 18, 2012 at 10:28 am

I’m 27 years old and had tonsillectomy/adenoidectomy on 1/26/12, today is day 23 for me. Uvula is still swollen and uncomfortable, and I am still more tired than usual. Yawning is the only remaining pain, and my throat still feels very stiff, but otherwise I feel mostly back to normal. Brief breakdown of the recovery as I experienced it:

Day of surgery: felt fine, was given fentanyl with my anesthesia and was released within an hour of waking up.

Day 2: Still felt ok, began taking liquid Hydrocodone every 6 hours alternating with liquid Ibuprofen every 6 hours, for pain relief every 3 hours. Was able to eat chicken and vegi stir fry with rice, and stayed out of bed all day.

Days 3-5: Pain was unbearable, even taking maximum dosage of narcotics around the clock (definitely set an alarm during the night! Do not miss a dose, you will regret it). I could not eat or drink anything besides water and slushies. Anything containing dairy caused awful mucus buildup and was painful. Couldn’t talk more than a few words at a whisper. Bad heartburn, and pain radiating through my ears and down my neck. I have never experienced pain as intense or overwhelming, and nothing helped.

Evening 5: Started throwing up (4 times in an hour) and got dehydrated. Went to urgent care and was given 2 bags of saline, anti-nausea meds, and Dilaudid (strongest pain medicine available and it worked amazingly well, although wears off within a couple hours). So miserable, I asked them to just admit me and knock me out until I healed. Take home medicine was switched to Oxycodone.

Days 6-7: Pain still intense, although better with the new medicine. Swallowing felt like burning coals, then progressed to feeling like being stabbed with needles. Started to be able to eat semi-solid food like mac and cheese, oatmeal, yogurt.

Day 8-9: First day with no narcotic medication, only took Ibuprofen during the day. Voice started to come back, still hoarse but could talk for a few mintues at a time. Scabs came off, which was disgusting, but not painful. Took a hot shower, and it helped to cough them out, instead of swallowing them.

Day 10: First real trip out of the house ended with getting feverish, dizzy and lightheaded after about an hour. Throat felt like a case of strep, still very sore in the neck and ears. Tongue, throat and neck still swollen, and had little energy.

Day 16: Went back to work for the first time (I talk constantly in my job, so it was difficult the first couple days).

Day 21: Post-Op appointment with the surgeon. She said everything was healing well, and the Uvula swelling would take another couple weeks to completely disappear. Also that my tonsils had tested positive for a rare bacteria (didn’t catch the name), which was almost impossible to get rid of without removing them. I had been sick for 6 months, and the only treatment for this type of bacteria besides tonsillectomy was to try daily Penicillin for 6 months.

I had been warned it was a rough recovery, although I was still surprised by how horrible it was. 2 weeks off work was an absolute minimum, and if I could have taken 3, I would have. Ultimately I am glad I had the surgery, and thankful I will never have to do it again! I would only reccomend someone get it done as an adult as a worst case scenario, after every other treatment has failed.

 Anji February 19, 2012 at 4:06 am

Thanks for your comments, my experience similar without the vomiting as I started on oxycodeine two tabs very 4 hours. Yes I’m up to day 11 and still sore and weak but every now and then I feel a little normal. Helps to get out of the house. I also had tonsillitis for 6 months after courses of penicillin nothing worked, even the one tab a day for months on end, it just kept coming back. You made the right decision. I agree, need two weeks minimum to recover! Enjoy your tonsillitis free life.

 Lucie February 18, 2012 at 4:47 pm

I had mine removed on th 16th, and I am 27. So many times I had said no way to have them removed, as I never had any injuries that could have brought me to hospital younger. However 5 tonsillitis last year with big fever and missing 4 days of work and crying for amoxicillin made up my mind. So no wonder how scared I was when they put that anaesthetic in me, but the nurses etc were all very nice, and when I woke up I was fine. Here in the UK they advise as much crunchy food as possible, so i go for it, slowly but surely :) the main thing indeed is to drink plenty water, and to take pain killers as soon as it becomes uncomfortable. I feel it will soon start to get worse, but I am expecting it, and I am only going back to work on the 5th March on purpose. At the moment I am on paracetamol and codeine, when it gets worse I can still double codeine and add ibuprofene, I will probably be KO which will make time go faster!! But right now, all I feel like after big plate of mussels and smoothie, is to cook pancakes and enjoy them with sugar… eating is obviously very important to help your body, and also to help the medecine go down! Last night the paracetamol could not go through as I felt hungry and should have eaten before… I just dream of the days when I dont have to cover my throat as soon as the temperature falls below 20 degres or someones changes the air conditioning in the office!!! :)

 Eric February 18, 2012 at 8:23 pm

I see that everybody is having different experience.
this is the 4 th day, and i have no pain except when i swallow. I dont know if it is going to be worse or better in the comming days.

 Yasmin February 19, 2012 at 2:43 am

Hey guys, just my final update, i had my tonsillectomy on the 3rd of February and i can now say that i feel great. All the scabs have fallen of and life is back to normal, no pain or anything. Im so glad i had it done it is definetly worth it in the end. I hope it all goes well for everyone and Good luck=].xx

 Haley February 19, 2012 at 3:38 am

I’m 27 & had my tonsillectomy on February 16th. Most people have said their 1st day was fine, but mine was not. I grew very nauseous and vomited everything I eaten & drank in by that afternoon. I tried to rehydrate the best I could, even setting my alarm for every 1-1.5 hours to wake up & drink. Early the next morning around 4:30am, I got up to use the restroom and passed out in the bathroom floor. Luckily, the thud woke my husband up. He came to help me up, but then after holding me for a few seconds, I passed out again. I was shaking so badly he thought I was having a mild seizure. So, we went to the emergency room & they gave me 2 liters of IV and did a number of tests. Everything checked out ok.

Since then, (currently on day 3), my throat & swallowing pain has intensified, but I’ve been able to keep food down. My jaw & teeth hurt pretty badly and I’m starting to experience that ear pain everyone’s talking about. I’m pretty dizzy & tired. I know it’s going to get worse (maybe even a lot) before it gets better, but I’m grateful to hear from those of you who made it through and are feeling better!

 Georgiann February 19, 2012 at 5:47 am

Day 19 op op….I just want to encourage those of you that are in your 1st or 2nd week after surgery. I finally starting feeling better on day 11 post op. Glad I took 14 days away from work, wish I had taken a couple of days more. Day 14 through 19 my throat is still sore and my ears hurt very little. Follow up visit with doctor went well. I’m healing well. He stated it will take an additional 4 week before I’m totally healed. Currently food still gets stuck in my throat and I have a constant minor sore throat. But, the worse is over. Please remember to keep yourself hydrated, use a humidifier and drink,drink, drink.

 Sam Powell February 19, 2012 at 6:14 am

hi im on day 4 at the moment and my throat is quite sore and i can hardly talk. i was just wondering if it is normal to have a swallon area where the tonsils were and around there? because that is the reason i cant really talk

 Cristina February 19, 2012 at 6:17 am

Hi, I’m 34 and I had my tonsils out on 13 February 2012, it’s now day 7 for me. So far pain has been minimal and I just take 2 panadol now and then. My sleep is not disrupted at all. I drink lots of water and
constantly suck on ice to keep my mouth/throat moist. Scabs has formed and starting to come off. My only
concern was that I completely lost my taste bud and only today I started to be able to taste food I eat alittle
But I know it’s gonna get better. My uvula is still swollen and back of tongue too but does not hurt
That much. Eventhough I had no problem eating from day 1, I didn’t eat at all because lost of taste buds resulted in lost of appetite. I actually lost 5 kg in 1 week. I hope everyone feels better soon. God bless.

 Cristina February 19, 2012 at 11:36 pm

I forgot to add…I also use difflaam when I feel some pain. It numbs the pain area.

 Lindsey February 19, 2012 at 8:38 am

I had my surgery Feb.13.12. Getting it done was alright afterwards I was in pain but they gave me a shot of morphine which helped a great deal. I was prescribed Hydromorphone 1 mg every 4 to 6 hours as needed and Celebrex twice a day. The first two days I thought this was a pretty simple recovery. By day 4 the pain kicked in not being able to talk, barley eating or drinking, ear pain. By Friday morning I was vomiting after four times I took gravel to try to stop it because of the heighten chance of bleeding from vomiting. It worked and since than have felt sick but keep taking the gravel. The pain at times is pretty bad but mostly gotten much better. For me it would the taste and smell of my mouth that’s making me feel very sick all the time. Since having the surgery I haven’t been able to sleep longer than 2 hours a time. I stopped taking the hydromorphone Friday when I vomited and just took one a hour ago to try to help the pain so I can get some sleep. I’d say for me the smell taste is the worst I have a very week stomach so feeling sick and vomiting are two things I could live without. I wish everyone luck.

 Greg February 19, 2012 at 8:40 am

38 yrs old, male
Tonsillectomy/Adenoidectomy/Uvula partial trim
Surgery date: Feb 9, 2012
Recovery Day 10
METHOD: COBLATION!!!!! The only way to go in my non-medically trained opinion. In any case, make sure you know about this method!!!
See this link: //

I think I could write for days about this subject, but, for me, it came down to two numbers:
60 degreesC vs 600 degreesC

The following is what my surgeon explained to me beforehand and what I want to pass along to everyone else out there who still has the surgery ahead of them:

1) The Bad News: Up until about 5 or 6 years ago, tonsillectomy for 25 years or so was performed pretty much exclusively by heat intensive methods (electrocautery…laser…etc). The instrument used in this case can be as hot as 600 degrees Celsius! (Aluminum melts at 660 degrees Celsius!)

2) The Good News: The Coblation technique is available and is not heat intensive. The instrument used in this case may have a temperature on the order of 60 degrees Celsius. That is an order of magnitude lower.

In short, the suffering that so many people are going through, I’m guessing is a BURN WOUND, and not characteristic of tonsil removal itself. I feel horrible and pray for those that are suffering that torture.

My message is this: I don’t think of different methods of tonsillectomy as equal. I think of all others as antiquated and only the Coblation method as the path forward. (…want to emphasize, just my opinion)

Now that I am on Day 10 of recovery, and feel legitimate enough to write about this, let me summarize some points of my experience:
1) Two weeks beforehand, reading the blogs scared the crap out of me…multiple sleepless nights and constantly gushing sweat, until my surgeon told me those temperature numbers. Before then, I thought…Why are many people having a horrible time, and some lucky few think it’s not too bad? Are these different perspectives of the same event? Now, I think NO. They seem to be significantly different events. The Coblation event seems to allow a way less painful recovery.

2) Even with coblation, my surgeon warned of a “second wave” of pain and swelling…the infamous days 4 through 11. Fortunately, for me, he had a plan to give his patients a chance (And my days 4 until now have not been noticeably worse). Perscriptions starting the day of surgery are:
a. Prednisone steroid to minimize swelling
b. Augmentin anti-biotic to stave of infection and “cover” the prednisone
c. Carafate to act as a “liquid band aid” on the wound. This stuff was hands down the STAR of my recovery.
d. Roxicet which is Percocet in liquid form…the painkiller

3) I will say that I took the Roxicet once in the hospital recovery room and once at home that day and that is all. I’m not the least bit tough. The surgeon told me that people seem to get more comfort from the Carafate than from the Roxicet, and that was indeed my experience. I would have felt no shame in crushing painkillers all week. I just felt them unnecessary and demanding on the stomach. Basically, didn’t want to puke from them.
4) At no time did I feel a burn wound. No ice chips, ice cream, or chloraseptic spray required.
5) I did not feel a noticeable surge any time from day 4 through now. I’m guessing thanks to the steroid/anti-biotic.
6) I still have not really developed scabs like you would expect on a skinned knee. That is probably thanks to the Carafate. I don’t know if my surgeon is a pioneer by using this Carafate stuff because it was originally designed for stomach ulcer treatment, not throat wounds. It helps a lot and is worth asking about. Not only soothes when applied (tastes like pepto bismal), but it aides in the tissue healing process (which I don’t think can be said for Percocet).
7) Significant pain and swelling following surgery took place on my tongue which I didn’t foresee. My tongue and lips were smashed into my teeth during the removal process…again, not a burn wound, but by no means insignificant and it took days to go away. They also chipped one of my teeth…oh well, it wasn’t that bad of a chip. Just goes to reinforce that this procedure takes skill on the part of the surgeon. What they are doing is difficult and, in my mind, training and experience really matters.
8) Pain in the ears upon swallowing? Yes, the whole time, but readily bearable.
9) I did drink a lot of water and sleep with a humidifier and I’m guessing it helped a lot, but again…I get the feeling that stuff matters little if you have a massive burn wound in your throat. Thankfully, I was fortunate not to have that.
10) Food wise: I made a base soup of low sodium chicken broth/coconut milk/orzo pasta. From there added any of a number of things including tofu, egg, cod fish, avocado, etc depending on the desired variety. I ate this for a week and I never felt hungry. From what I understand, fat helps to settle the stomach and coconut milk and avocado are loaded with fat. A lot of the “soft and slimy” foods tend to be heavily sweetened and, for me, sickening…so having this soup which I practiced making once or twice ahead of time was a nice crutch.
11) The thing still isn’t fun even with the Coblation method. But it certainly can be bearable.
12) The results so far. Already, I’m nowhere near as swollen as I was in my life before the surgery, I dropped about 10 lbs, and I look about 5 yrs younger. Isn’t that why we’re doing this? Life sucked so bad, you had to do it!!!

Good luck and my heart goes out to those on this path.

 Greg February 19, 2012 at 6:24 pm

A few notes regarding previous post:

1) Discomfort vs. Pain:
I am not referring to discomfort as a lesser intensity of pain. Instead, I am categorizing discomfort as choking a little on my uvula at the slightest leaning back (like you would to lay down) or feeling the threads of the stitch in my uvula…it is uncomfortable, but not painful. My recovery was characterized by these type of discomforts, but at no time was the pain more than “5″ on a scale of one to 10…mostly a “2″ or “3″. And again, I think that had very little to do with me and everything to do with the Coblation technique.

2) The modular soup:
One of the nicest things about that soup is that it was edible, and even enjoyable at any temperature between straight out of the refrigerator to luke warm or somewhat warm. I thought this flexibility of the soup was an important feature to mention. In contrast, I would think refrigerator cold mashed potatoes would be clumpy and stick to the throat, but warm mashed potatoes would be unwelcome because of the heat…I hate potatoes anyway, but thought I would mention it.

 Tara February 19, 2012 at 10:54 pm

I am a 25 year old female who had my tonsil out on February 15, so I guess this would be day 4. Pain is bearable as long as you stay up with your medications and fluids. The pharmacy messed up my prescripiton so instead of liquid Hydrocodone and Amoxicillion, i have pill form. AHHH… As soon as I woke up from surgery I asked for gatorade, I knew if i could stay on top of my fluids before the pain set in would be a good thing. Later when I got home I refused to sleep, I kept ice pack on my neck, took my medicine as prescibed, and drank. I slept in a recliner much of the first night, it helped. Day 2-3 I just made sure to drink, sucked on popsicles, and took medicine. Day 4 hasn’t been to bad, I tried to ween myself off the pain medicines and skipped one dose, realized that it was way to soon, so I quickly took it. Seems like everyone will recover on their own schedule so the best thing to do is not read the message boards and get some rest. Happy Healing everyone!

 Eric February 20, 2012 at 1:24 am

it amazes me, everyone says that drinking fluids make them feel better. I feel better when I dont drink because drinking makes the pain worse besides it keeps the wound moist all the time, which i think it wont help to heal quickly.
let’s put it this way imagine you have a wound on your arm, the wound will heal quickly, but it you soak your arm in water all the time the wound wont heal faster. the same thing with the wound inside the mouth, the reason why it doesnt heal faster is because it is in a constantly moist erea.
But, I cant say that drinking is bad. just one should drink for his or her body needs not for healing perpose.
The reason why i say that is because i had the surgery on february 14, and now I am almost healed and I am 30 years old.
I didnt take any pain med, only antibiotic, and I didnt do what everyone is saying, ” eat regular food or drink a lot ”. I did what worked for me and now i feel better. Good luck everyone.

 anji February 20, 2012 at 10:04 am

Day 12 and feeling pretty good! Can now SPEAk several whole sentences and feeling energised. Have been playing with the kids at the park and even had first coffee in 12 days, yum! Thanks for advice on soup Greg, made some for dinner, a little sore to eat but nice to have something different. Eating still hurting but swollowiing not too bad and no pain relief today. Biggest battle pain wise were days 7- 11, turned a corner day 12 and recovery has been quick. Hang in there!

 Louisa February 20, 2012 at 5:37 pm

Hey. So I had mine out on the 15th of feb. Everyone heals different.
I am going through some intense pain now, so that’s day 6, I am coughing stuff up and it constantly feels like there is something stuck in my throat, this started about two days ago now. It is making me gag and feel like crap. I have also been coughing and it is so painful.
Yawning as mentioned above is near impossible and OMG, I sneezed the other day and was reduced to tears – that much pain all at once, it was almost like my body was in shock from the pain.
Something little that I noticed no one else has mentioned is the sores on the sides of my lips where they have stretched my mouth. Mine aren’t that bad from what I have heard, but I have been putting pawpaw ointment on them and they are nearly healed now.
I am very much looking forward to being back to normal!

 Kim February 21, 2012 at 2:41 am

This is day 5 for me. Last night was terrible the pain was awful. This morning I went to the ENT and she gave me a steroid shot which helped tremendously!!! I begin to feel better late this evening. She also gave me Percocet which really helps with pain although it makes me extra nauseated. Hopefully this will speed up my healing process.

 Aaron February 21, 2012 at 12:02 pm

Hi, I had my operation over 3 and a half months ago and unfortunately I am still experiencing a lot of pain. I have had a mild sore throat ever since my operation (obviously more than mild in the first couple of weeks!) but whenever I pick up a cold it starts to feel like I have had the operation again!

It seems like I am taking a very long time to heal fully, has anyone else experienced a healing process this long?

I can’t wait for the day where I wake up and I’m not gasping for water to soothe my throat!

 Alison February 21, 2012 at 6:39 pm

Hi, I’m 23 and I had my tonsillectomy on 10th Feb at the QE in Birmingham, UK. I am usually a complete jessie when it comes to any kind of pain.

I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by the level of discomfort and my recovery time. The general anaesthetic did make me sick after theatre and my swollen uvula made it hard to breathe and swallow sometimes but other that I’ve found recovery to be fairly rapid and not too painful if medication is taken regularly. Visitors, good books, films and TV shows are a great distraction too!

I tried to drink as much as possible and eat all the foods I would usually eat. Eating was slow and some foods stung my throat but it’s really important to keep your energy up and keep hydrated as the lack of food or water can make you feel ten times worse. I would recommend avoiding co-codamol or similar painkillers as they can make you constipated and, trust me, that’s way more uncomfortable than the throat pain.

11 days after my op it’s just like I have a mildly sore throat – sorbet, chocolate milkshakes and iced tea help a lot.

I discovered this website a few days before my op and I really wish I hadn’t found it – in trawling through the comments to try and get an idea of what it’s like I only succeeded in panicking myself about the op. For anyone who is considering a tonsillectomy or is due to have their op soon I would just say don’t take these stories as gospel – everyone is different and we all tolerate pain and discomfort as individuals.

Before posting your horror story please consider the people who are looking to this site for reassurance! People who have had a good experience are hardly likely to come on here and rave about how good they feel so I do think the comments on here a quite heavily biased.

 Lydia February 21, 2012 at 6:55 pm

Hi, I had My Tonsils Removed on Valentines Day… Yeah, It Sucked.. I am currently am on Day 7. and the best thing for people to do is to not read the comments above until after recovery has ended… Everyone Heals Differently. I have Been In so Pain, but my scabs are coming off and im slowly starting to get better. WHATEVER YOU DO DO NOT PULL THE SCABS OFF YOURSELF!!!!!!!

 Fred February 22, 2012 at 6:48 am

hey Lydia,
you and I had the surgery on valentines day. Is not that weird? even the nurses kept asking why did i choose such a day for the surgery. well, it was the most convenient date for me and easy to remember in the future. you seem to be healing faster than I do. my scabs havent started falling yet and the pain started to worsen.

 Dana February 21, 2012 at 11:19 pm

I hear and agree with the pain, it surpasses delivery, an accident and any other type of pain I ever experience. I am day 11 and still horrible. Had the surgery on 02/10/2012 and thought could have been back to work but not as yet. Besides the pain, lack of eating and weight loss, I hate that I lost the taste of food. Everything I eat or drink taste flavorless. Another issue is the increase of mucous. This has been the worse ordeal I have yet to experience. Best with everyone with their recovery and to those yet to have their done.

 Cristina February 25, 2012 at 12:10 pm

Hi Dana, I too lost my taste buds and it has not returned. it’s now day 13 for me. I can taste at tip of my tongue and then after about 3 seconds it’s gone. My pain was minimal
Overall, just took over the counter tablets panadol not n then but this lost of taste is starting to worry me. What about you, has it come back?

 YESI February 22, 2012 at 12:10 am

wow im so afraid now i am having mine taken out March 1st.
and i have very low pain tolerance. and from what i have read so far, IT IS DEFINATELY painful :(
any good post op tips?

 Greg February 22, 2012 at 3:07 am

Yesi, I know I’m harping (see Feb 19th comments) …but I suggest checking the method of removal your surgeon plans to use. You can call the surgeon without an appointment usually.
If it’s Coblation, I doubt the pain is going to be too bad at all…
If it’s laser, I would consider somebody who does Coblation instead.

 YESI February 22, 2012 at 2:07 pm

thank you Greg :) i will check on that today! ill update later lol i hope this goes alot smoother than i imagine it will be

 Rose February 22, 2012 at 12:18 am

I am surprised by the number of people who say they took ibuprofen. My ENT told me not to take it because it can actually cause bleeding. I was put on Tylenol 3, an antibiotic, and a steroid pill, as well as a dose of vitamin K on day 5 to help clot the blood when the scabs come off (I’m not there yet). Today is only day 2 for me and I too would rather go through childbirth than this. But, I know it was the right choice because my one swollen tonsil was filled with a green bacteria that antibiotics wouldn’t kill. The anesthetic made me nauseated when it wore of and I vomited 6 times…..up through a raw throat! Not pleasant! I agree with the comments about only reading the comments from this site after surgery. I read them all and was completely terrified. I am now expecting it to get much worse as my recovery progresses. Sigh.

 Lucy Poppe February 22, 2012 at 5:31 am

Im a 37 year mom of 2 and my surgery was done on February 2. Thank God my husband took off of work for a few days and my kids are older. First day not too bad with pain even though I had bad naussea and vomiting from annestitia for at least two days. The scabs were discusting and when I talked it sounded like I had marbles in my mouth. It was very painful to swallow, even apple sauce to be honest. I was always so hungry but every time I attempted to eat it, I just couldnt manage to swallow. I do have to recommend to stay hydrated…water water water, it helps. The things that kept coming out of my mouth…pretty grose. Around the eigth day the pain set in at about a 10, I had shed a piece of scab…OMG i dare not say no more. Im now at almost three weeks in and am feeling much better even though it’s still hurts a little and my tounge is still not quite there either. However, I’m still not able to taste my food like normal. I’m a bit frustrated because i cannot enjoy a simple cup of coffee let alone anything else. If anyone experienced this please let me know how long did this last. Everyone recovers differently, unfortunately, I feel like its going to take me an entire month…sigh

 Kayla February 22, 2012 at 7:36 am

I am a 16 year old and I had my tonsils removed on 2/8/12. I was really groggy when I woke up from the anesthesia, but I could talk normal. I’ve been out of work and school for 2 weeks. I go back Thursday. Friday night, I felt awesome! It was day 9 or 10 and I thought I was able to go back to my normal routine by Tuesday. Saturday morning I woke up feeling awful. It hurt to swallow again, but only the right side. Weird huh? It’s now Wednesday morning and the right side hurts even worse and my scabs are reappearing. There is a bumpy lump on my right side, but I’m not sure what it is. Can anyone help? I don’t need to go to school or work and make it even worse.

 Lucie February 22, 2012 at 8:55 am

Hey Kayla, I am not sure this is normal and I would call the ent to check if it could be an infection? Because if the tissue broke that could explain the scab coming back but not the lump you described. Especially after 10 days and only on one side. Dont wait and call them! They will help for sure!

 Lucie February 22, 2012 at 8:51 am

Hi. I am onto day 7. I dont know what method they have used but most of my scabs fell already which gives an irritated new throat but drinking tea with honey makes it a loooot better. I know it is scary to see what some of us went through, but at the same time when my pain reached a pic yesterday i knew what it was, and what to do. If i did not know that the pain increases between day 5-10 then i would probably have panicked and wondered why it was getting worse instead of better. So yes it is scary before, however it helped me feeling better armed as I knew what would be coming. I would be one of those who recommend to eat solid foods as this is what makes the throat heal faster and it prevents infection (as long as you brush your teeth regularly!). Hot showers also helped to spit the scabs out if you try to cough very gently. I am also going onto zinc and vitamin C for the next weeks to help the body to recover. Homeopathy also helps. So, are we all fighters or not? :)

 Kim February 23, 2012 at 1:11 am

I agree I am glad I read everyone’s personal experience. This was my second tonsillectomy and it was awful!!! On day 7 and feel pretty good. Didn’t take any pain medicine since this morning. The
Pain is minimal. Drinking and eating still hurts but for the most part day 7 is good!!!

 Anji February 22, 2012 at 10:44 am

Day 14, over the worst! Feeling really energized but taking it slowly, back to eating normal diet but haven’t braved sharp food. Still have scabs but they seem to be dissolving every day. Mine did not fall off as I was expecting but slowly wearing away. Off pain meds and throat just feeling like I have been screaming a little too loudly. So glad I had the op, the two weeks of pain totally worth it to NEVER have nasty tonsillitis again! Good luck to anyone about to have op. What an achievement.

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