Is chronic tonsillitis causing you to take too many sick days off work? Are you wondering why you suddenly seem more susceptible to these painful throat infections? If your work, family and social life are filled with stressful situations, this is likely the reason that you now find yourself plagued by chronic tonsillitis.
More Adults Are Coming Down With Tonsillitis
Although tonsillitis is most common in children, more adults than ever before are coming down with this painful infection.
Stress Weakens Your Immune System
This isn't exactly a new discovery. There are countless studies documenting the effects of stress on the human immune system. However, if your life has been relatively stress-free, it may not have been an issue for you—until now.
Nowadays, stress is never far away; however, while short-term stress actually strengthens your immune system, long-term exposure to stress weakens it.
Stressed Tonsils are Easy Prey
The immune system of a healthy, stress-free body uses certain organs, cells and tissues to fight infection and harmful pathogens. Your tonsils are part of this defense. Because your mouth provides bacteria and viruses easy access to your body, the tonsils are perfectly placed to keep them from making you sick. They do that by producing white blood cells to fight foreign invaders such as the tonsillitis virus.
However, when you inadvertently expose your body to long-term stress, it reacts by flooding your system with the stress hormone cortisol. This, in turn, causes a reduction in white blood cell production and increases the risk of inflammation. As a result, your tonsils may fall victim to the bacteria and viruses they should be eradicating. The result is tonsillitis, wherein the tonsils become swollen and inflamed.
As well as the often severe pain you may experience, you may also suffer from nausea, fever, chills, aches and stiffness of your back and neck.
You Should Consider a Tonsillectomy
If you have had several bouts of tonsillitis over the last year or two, or have been suffering with tonsillitis for over a month, you should speak to your doctor about having a tonsillectomy. This surgery prevents any recurrence of tonsillitis through the removal of the tonsils. According to a study in 2002, former sufferers of chronic tonsillitis who had their tonsils removed saw a reduction in doctor visits from an average of 6 per year to just 0.3 per year.
Therefore, if your career, and family and social life are being negatively impacted by bouts of chronic tonsillitis, see a doctor at your local medical centre to determine if you are a good candidate for a tonsillectomy.