Tonsils are lymphatic glands that are located around the throat and play a crucial role in protecting the body from infections. The tonsils comprise of pharyngeal tonsils that are located along the posterior wall of the nasopharynx, tubal tonsils that are located along the Eustachian tube, palatine tonsils that are located along the palates and lingual tonsils that are located at the base of the tongue.
Tonsils are composed of T cell lymphocytes and B-lymphocytes. As per experts, tonsils are involved in production of lymphokines, antibodies and interferon-gamma which contribute towards secretory immunity. In contrast to other lymph nodes, tonsils are not involved in filtering of the lymph tissue.
Hypertrophic tonsils are referred to enlargement of tonsils to extent that they may obstruct breathing. The tonsils usually get enlarged in presence of an infection around the ear, nose and throat region. Enlargement of the tonsils are one of the most common pediatric problem and significantly affects the upper respiratory tract.
Tonsils are most active within the age group of 3 to 10 years, after which involution begins.
Further, hypertrophic tonsils are associated with increased immunological activities, which may result in recurrent airway obstructions and often require treatment.
Symptoms Of Hypertrophic Tonsils
Hypertrophic tonsils may result in airway obstructions and can be associated with a wide range of symptoms depending upon the extent of obstruction. Some of the key symptoms include,
- Recurrent acute and chronic infections of the middle ear due to obstruction of the Eustachian tube.
- Recurrent episodes of sinusitis and rhinitis, with symptoms of fever, malaise and weakness.
- Poor development of the upper jaw and palatal arch due to repeated opening of the mouth.
- Chronic hypoxia can lead to poor mental growth and development.
- Sleep apnea is common in children with very large tonsils.
- In severe cases, the condition may lead to development of pneumonia, cor pulmonale, pulmonary hypertension and even right heart failure.
Natural Treatment For Hypertrophic Tonsils
The treatment module depends upon the severity of the symptoms, size of the enlargement and overall prognosis. While tonsillectomy may be recommended in about 30% of the cases, there are certain home remedies and natural treatment options that can help improvement in the condition,
- Salt water gargling along with steam inhalation is recommended. Salt water gargling helps in reducing the risk of spread of infection while steam inhalation helps soften the nasal mucosa and improves drainage. While these treatments may not directly help in reducing the size of the tonsils, they can prevent associated infection and airway obstructions.
- Prepare a paste of comprising of equal parts of raw honey and turmeric and consume it four times a day. Turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties which help reduce hypertrophy while honey has potent anti-microbial properties which can prevent secondary infections.
- Maintaining utmost oral hygiene is also crucial in preventing tonsillar infection.
- Homeopathic drugs namely Baryta Carb and Phytollaca are considered helpful in the management of hypertrophic tonsils. These drugs are known to deal with symptoms ranging from airway obstruction, hypoxia and recurrent upper respiratory tract infections.
In severe cases, tonsillectomy is inevitable, as hypertrophic tonsils poise a greater health risk of the overall growth and development of the child.