How to Cure Bad Tonsils: Management Options- Medicines, Surgery, and Home Remedies

In case you are wondering whether recurring swollen tonsils can be treated permanently, the answer is YES! Although tonsillectomy is the only viable option to fix this forever, there are a number of measures you can take to prevent the episodes from coming again.

With this article, we will guide you through what is tonsillitis and how to spot it. We will then narrate to you the available medical and surgical options and what are their pros and cons followed by the golden rules for stopping re-occurring episodes.

Lastly, there are some interesting FAQs that will promptly help you comprehend the topic.

What are Tonsils and Tonsillitis?

First of all, the tonsils are glands while Tonsillitis is an infected gland. This is often confused by people and they pronounce it as “How to treat tonsils permanently”. To ease off, we will use the same wording in this article.

Tonsils are small oval-shaped glands located just at the back of the throat. They are two in number and are present on either side of the throat. It is difficult to visualize them, but they are remarkable during infection and can be spotted easily.

They serve by providing us immunity to fight against infections. However, the poor lads can themselves get infected.


The symptoms of infection usually include:

  • Painful sore throat for more than 2 days
  • Earache
  • Tonsils are reddened, swollen, congested, and with or without pus or exudates

How to Cure Tonsils Permanently?

The best way to treat tonsillitis is to remove the glands completely. This is called a tonsillectomy.

However, it is not performed without proper indications for adults and children. You should meet a set of conditions that are described under SIGN criteria (based on the UK medical norms):

  • 7 or more episodes of tonsillitis per year for 1 year
  • 5 or more episodes per year for 2 years (Total= 10)
  • 3 or more episodes per year for 3 years (Total= 9)
Additionally, Sleep Apnea is now considered an indication of tonsillectomy in children.

All the possible treatment plans include the following:

Medical Treatment


Phenoxymethylpenicillin or Penicillin V is the antibiotic of choice. Ampicillin or Amoxicillin should be avoided initially. It is important to note that these have no role if the cause is viral.

Overusage only leads to developing resistance against the medicine and makes it difficult to treat the repeated infections.


Antipyretics such as PCM and Ibuprofen should be used to manage pain and fever. However, it only provides symptomatic relief and does not actually treat the underlying cause in case of acutely infected tonsils by bacteria.


If you are still not convinced, you are probably heading toward tonsil removal already. Tonsillectomy is indicated as per the SIGN criteria mentioned above.

Regardless, there are a number of complications that can develop following surgery for removing tonsils.

These include:

  • Primary and Secondary Bleeding
  • Superimposed infection by another bacteria
  • Scarring

Home Remedies

The most effective treatment options for curing bad tonsils always involve natural practices that reduce the severity of symptoms and help in speeding up recovery.

Additionally, you are not exposed to invasive procedures such as surgery or the risk of scarring.

Best Home Remedies to cure tonsils include:

  1. Saltwater Gargles: This works like a charm every time and provides relief instantly. To do this, boil a glass of water to a maximum and allow it to cool. Test if you can drink the hot water once the temperature goes down a bit. Finally, add half a tablespoon of table salt to a glass of hot water and gargle deep as you can. It is observed that the max you can tolerate, the better the results are.
  2. Hydration: Often, dehydration can worsen tonsillitis. Therefore, the more you keep those tiny glands hydrated, the better the chances of a speedy recovery. Drink at least 3-4 liters of water a day to sustain the healing.
  3. Natural Herbs: Echinacea is one of the finest herbs that help fight off infections and boost your immunity. This can be used in spray form which is often available over the counter. Additionally, it provides relief from sore throat. Garlic is another natural home remedy that you test to bolster your immunity.
  4. Supplements: Vitamin C is an evergreen supplement you can take. It helps you strengthen your body and help you combat infections naturally. You can also try Strepsils to relieve manifestations.
  5. Warm Tea: Ginger garlic tea is an underestimated home remedy that provides rapid comfort from a painful throat. Additionally, this is another warm liquid that will help you keep the soreness away for a while.
  6. Improve Eating Habits: Consuming a vitamin- and mineral-rich diet, as well as avoiding foods and drinks that can irritate the throat, such as alcohol, spicy meals, and acidic fruits, can assist in preventing tonsillitis and promote the body’s natural recovery process.
  7. Avoid Strain on Vocal Cords: This goes without saying. Yes, using loud pitch or shouting can worsen the tonsils. You need to keep them well-rested and minimize their use so they have proper time to recover “politely”.
  8. Avoid Stress: Stress can impair the immune system, making the body more prone to illnesses. Stress management practices such as meditation, exercise, and deep breathing can enhance the immune system and lower the risk of tonsillitis.
  9. Maintain Sanitation: Washing hands routinely, covering the mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, and minimizing direct contact with sick persons can all help to prevent the spread of germs, including tonsillitis.
  10. Get Sufficient Sleep: A good night’s sleep is vital to keeping a well-functioning immune system and combating infections. Try to sleep for at least 7-9 hours per night will significantly lower your chances of getting tonsillitis.
  11. Stop Smoking: Close your eyes and imagine your throat filled up with pus and smoke. It’s gruesome, is not it? That’s what your tonsils will feel when you light a cigarette. Listen to the fairy, and start your journey to quitting already.
  12. Avoid Alcohol: There is a myth that rum can help in easing off tonsillitis. No! It only makes them numb. Is it not similar to paralyzing an animal that is already dying?

Here is how you can make Ginger Tea in just 2 minutes:

Credits: GST Kitchen


What are all the indications of Tonsillectomy?

There are 5 Absolute and 4 Relative indications of tonsillectomy. These include:

Absolute Indications

1. Recurring infection: This is the most prevalent symptom. Recurrent infections of the tonsils are defined as either of the following:

A. 7 or more episodes in one year
B. 5 episodes per year for two years
C. 3 episodes per year for three years
D. 2 weeks or more of missed school or work in one year.

2. Peritonsillar abscess: Tonsillectomy is performed on children 4-6 weeks after the abscess has been treated. The absolute indication in adults is a second attack of peritonsillar abscess.

3. Tonsillitis resulting in febrile seizures

4. Tonsil hypertrophy resulting in:

A. airway obstruction (sleep apnea),
B. difficulty in swallowing,
C. speech interference

5. Suspicion of cancer: In children, a one-sided swollen tonsil could be a lymphoma, while in adults, it could be an epidermoid carcinoma. An excisional biopsy is performed.

Relative Indications

1. Diphtheria carriers who are resistant to antibiotics.

2. Streptococcal carriers who may spread the infection to others.

3. Unresponsive to medical therapy chronic tonsillitis with foul taste or halitosis.

4. Recurrent streptococcal tonsillitis in a valvular heart disease patient.

How to Tell if it is Bacterial or Viral Tonsillitis?

Most cases are usually viral, however, it is somewhat easier to spot a bacterial one with the proper knowledge. The most common bacteria causing tonsillitis is Streptococcal Tonsillitis.

Differentiation between viral and bacterial tonsillitis can be done based on Centor Criteria. A score of 3 out of 4 indicates high suspicion of bacterial tonsillitis.

1. Fever more than 38-degree celsius
2. Tender Anterior Cervical Lymphadenopathy
3. Tonsillar Exudates/Pus
4. No associated cough

When are Antibiotics Indicated?

Antibiotics should be taken if 3 out of 4 features are present from Centor Criteria. The best antibiotic of choice for bacterial-infected tonsils is Phenoxymethylpenicillin (Penicillin V).

Why Ampicillin or Amoxicillin is not prescribed for suspected Tonsillitis?

Rash in Infectious Mononucleosis after Amoxicillin or Ampicillin

Penicillin V is preferred over Ampicillin or Amoxicillin. This is because the latter can cause a pruritic maculopapular rash in Infectious Mononucleosis, which is a differential diagnosis of tonsillitis.

What if NOT Bacterial Tonsillitis and Tonsillectomy is not indicated?

If there is viral tonsillitis and there are no indications of tonsillectomy mentioned above, it is always best to give supportive treatment. The ideal way starts with the best medicine- an antipyretic such as Paracetamol or Ibuprofen.

What are the Complications of Tonsillitis?

Tonsillar Cyst Complication of Tonsillitis

Several unfavorable outcomes can develop if proper care is not given to the infected tonsils. Emergency care would be necessary if the following develop:

1. Peritonsillar Abscess
2. Quinsy
3. Otitis media
4. Chronic Tonsillitis
5. Parapharyngeal abscess
6. Cervical abscess
7. Subacute Bacterial Endocarditis

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