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The treatment for tonsil cysts, or tonsil stones, usually begins with a round of antibiotics and may be all that is needed to clear them up. If these pus filled lumps are thought to be cancerous, more serious treatments are required. In some cases they may be chronic, and this also requires further treatment beyond antibiotics alone.
Sometimes tonsil cysts will clear up on their own without any medical treatment. If they persist, oral antibiotics are generally prescribed. It may be necessary to complete more than one cycle of antibiotics before the cysts are eliminated. They can be resistant to treatment and quite hard to get rid of.
When tonsil cysts remain or recur after antibiotics have been tried, surgical removal may be required. A tonsillectomy is often performed by an otorhinolaryngologist, i.e., an ear, nose, and throat doctor. This type of surgery removes the tonsil tissues, which prevents the cysts from being able to form in the throat. Surgery is the only way to ensure that they do not return.
Most of these painful nodules are benign, but they can occasionally become cancerous. If a physician suspects cancer, a portion of the cyst is cut out and tested for malignancy. This is a biopsy. Malignant cysts are then completely removed and further action may be required such as chemotherapy or other medications.
Smoking and drinking alcohol can lead to tonsil cysts by increasing the amount of acid within the mouth and throat. Giving up these habits can help to prevent new ones from forming. Chronic sinus problems can also increase the tendency for cysts to form in the tonsils.
Preventative measures should be taken to prevent tonsil cysts from recurring. Nasal irrigation is helpful in some cases, especially those that occur from frequent sinus infections. To do this, a saline solution is inhaled through the nose. The solution is then spit out and should not be swallowed. A salt water gargle can also be helpful when done regularly because this loosens the calcium deposits that can lead to cysts.
The most common symptoms of a tonsil cyst are pain and difficulty in swallowing along with severe bad breath. Swollen glands, earache, headache, and fever may also be present. Some people try to remove the cysts by squeezing them or pushing on them with a cotton swab. This should not be done as it can lead to infection and can cause the cysts to spread.
@irontoenail - They used to have tonsils out at the drop of a hat, just because they thought people didn't need them. Now they know tonsils do serve some purposes. They help to stop you from choking and might have some use in guarding against infections for example.
But they still remove them if they think it is necessary. Some people are really vulnerable to cysts or infections of the tonsils or lots of other lovely things.
In those cases, where it keeps happening, doctors will usually just take them out. It's actually cheaper and easier than treating the infection.
Kids have them out all the time and it is still the same process, with icecream and jello after the operation.
I read a book once where a doctor a few hundred years ago had to remove the tonsils of someone with severely infected tonsil cysts. In the story, the cysts had caused him to become deaf and he was near dead from not being able to eat and so forth.
We're lucky to live in a time where simple things like this are not the problem that they used to be. If you had really bad ones with no access to antibiotics you might not be able to eat, or sleep properly. There would be no way to make yourself feel better.
In fact this article makes me wish I'd had my tonsils out altogether when I was younger, but apparently they don't do that anymore.