URL of this page: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/tonsilsandadenoids.html

Tonsils and Adenoids

Summary

Your tonsils and adenoids are part of your lymphatic system. Your tonsils are in the back of your throat. Your adenoids are higher up, behind your nose. Both help protect you from infection by trapping germs coming in through your mouth and nose.

Sometimes your tonsils and adenoids become infected. Tonsillitis makes your tonsils sore and swollen and causes a sore throat. Enlarged adenoids can be sore, make it hard to breathe and cause ear problems.

The first treatment for infected tonsils and adenoids is antibiotics. If you have frequent infections or trouble breathing, you may need surgery. Surgery to remove the tonsils is tonsillectomy. Surgery to remove adenoids is adenoidectomy.

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