Are You Having Your Tonsils Or Adenoids Removed?
Sometimes there comes the point where having tonsils or adenoids can cause more harm than good. Tonsils and adenoids are part of the lymphatic system that filters harmful bacteria that enters the body. Sometimes, these lymph nodes can become repeatedly infected, especially from the streptococcus bacteria. To avoid repeated infections, a doctor will perform a tonsillectomy or adenoidectomy.
All about tonsils
The palatine tonsils are 2 mounds of tissue on each side at the back of the throat. The adenoid is a mound of tissue a little further in the throat, behind the nose. For most people, adenoids disappear with age, but some still have adenoids into adulthood. As a result, children and some adults can get repeated infections. Infections cause soreness, difficulty breathing, fever, chills, and even sleep apnea. And for some, these infections continue into adulthood, impacting the quality of life.
Why pain management helps
A surgeon removes the tonsils or adenoids with a minimally invasive procedure. Sometimes, the surgeon will remove both in the same surgery. Post-operative pain is expected and can last 2 or more weeks. The pain can move to the neck, jaw, and throat. Pain can be particularly difficult for adults, who take longer to heal than children. However, managing pain can allow patients to function daily. Try these 3 pain management tips during the recovery period.
1. Use medications as prescribed
Pain medication is crucial during the first 2 weeks post-surgery. Make sure to use the right medication as directed by a doctor. The doctor will likely prescribe a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory( NSAID), with a pain killer. These should be used alternately in 3 to 6-hour periods. Studies have shown the use of certain medications, particularly in children, should be used sparingly. Most physicians do not recommend the use of more potent narcotics. Using prescribed medication effectively so tasks like eating, swallowing, and sleeping are more manageable.
2. Stick to soft foods
The sore throat after surgery could be unbearable. Solid foods can irritate the throat, increasing the pain or bleeding. So, stick to soft foods for the next 2-3 weeks, avoiding salty, spicy, or acidic meals. These foods should be cool or cold if possible. Acceptable food choices include yogurt, ice cream, applesauce, smoothies, soups, and popsicles. Over time, add anti-inflammatory fruits and vegetables to foods could be turned into a soft consistency as recommended by a healthcare professional.
3. Stay hydrated
Keeping up the liquid intake is another excellent way to manage pain. Cold liquids like water and juices help soothe the throat. Hot drinks can increase inflammation and pain. There is a temptation to avoid food and water because of the pain, but dehydration can worsen and can come on quickly.
Navigate recovery wisely
Removing the tonsils or adenoids is the easy part. Managing the pain after could be difficult for adults and children alike. The best option is to avoid anything that will irritate the throat right after surgery. For 2-3 weeks, stick to cool liquids and foods. More importantly, use pain medication as directed by a doctor. After managing the pain, expect little to no throat infections and a better quality of life.