Tonsillectomy: A foodie’s worst nightmare
** DISCLAIMER** The following post is merely a personal account of my trials & tribulations over the past week following adult tonsillectomy. It should not by any means be taken as medical advice. I do however hope that the shared experience will provide some comfort to those of you recovering from tonsillectomy yourselves and wondering ‘why me?’. If you found this post through obsessive google-ing of ‘tonsillectomy’ (as I did myself) in the lead-up to surgery or during recovery, this one is for you….
It’s been just over a week since I had my tonsils removed, hence the reason why this foodblog has been rather neglected of late. With the simple act of swallowing becoming a Herculean feat in the initial days following surgery, it’s not surprising that I haven’t had any happy thoughts about food to share. The bright-side now that its all over? – NO MORE TONSIL STONES!!! And gone (hopefully forever) is the daily routine of having to dig my tonsil crypts free of trapped food. I’ve also lost almost 3 kgs along the way. Woop Woop!
Here are my memoirs from a quite horrendous post-op week…
Surgery Day: The surgery day itself is all a bit hazy now… The last thing I really remember before going under (apart from the seven hour NHS wait that is) was some small talk with the Anaesthetic Consultant and me jokingly reminding him “you better wake me up after”. Next thing I knew, I was already in the recovery room. The post-op photo below (taken by covertly by Jo) says it all. I was clearly not a happy bunny…
Get this ol’ school dressing gown off-a meee…
Looking through my iPhone text messages the next day, i did find this amusing text message (in verbatim) which I only now realised I had sent Jo:
27 May 2011, 16:40: “I an up. Verrjy dizy tho”.
Days 1-2: With some residual anaesthesia and morphine still running through my veins,the pain was actually pretty bearable. There wasn’t really a constant background pain per say, but it did hurt like mad when I tried to swallow anything, even saliva. What didn’t help was the inflammation around the salivary glands which meant they were constantly in overdrive. I must have produced a mouthful of saliva every 30 seconds and found myself drooling uncontrollably like a dog and needing to spit excessively. Ugh.
Days 3-5: There now was a constant pain at the back of the throat, which crescendoed and peaked on day 5. What made things worst was that the pain wasn’t just confined to the tonsil area (the ears, temples and back of the eyes all gatecrashed the party as well). This was probably the lowest point for me post-op and on many a sleepless night I constantly found myself questioning why I had even elected for the surgery in the first place.
Days 5-7: The sutures and foul-smelling white surgery scabs from the cauterisation process now began to fall off which resulted in some minor bleeding about 2-3 times a day. Though the constant pain from the earlier days started to ease, there was now a searing/burning sensation of new exposed skin whenever I took a sip of water or ate anything.
Day 8-9: As I sit here writing this, I’m finally beginning to feel that the worst is over and starting to eat proper food again. Yes, there is still the occasional minor bleeding as the last of the surgery scabs fall off, but the pain is starting to ease up so I can finally start to ween myself off the 3 different painkillers I’m on.
Some dos and donts (from personal experience and trial/error)
… drink as much water as possible. As painful as it is to swallow, the pain of a dry/dehydrated throat is even worst.
… ice-water, ice-cream, iced-everything to numb the pain.
… strawberry jello and muller rice pots!!
… try to force down some mildly abrasive food (such as toast) about once or twice a day. I found it helped to clean the surgery wound and suck up all that excess saliva that was clinging onto the throat.
… gargle and rinse with Difflam. I found it helped me immensely (especially when the pain got unbearable and I had already maxed out on painkillers).
… time the taking of painkillers you are prescribed carefully, especially on Days 3-7 when the pain is at its worst.
… eat or drink anything even mildly acidic (not even orange juice).
… voluntarily cough/sneeze violently or gargle excessively. I found it often triggered a bleeding episode on a couple of occasions.
… eat or drink dairy products excessively. For instance, I found milk and cereal a little nauseating as it clung to the throat like glue for hours on end.
… sleep facing up unless you have to. I found sleeping on my side was best to avoid being awakened to the feeling of being choked by my own saliva and phlegm.
I don’t wish for anyone to have to go through what I did unless they have to. But at the same time, no human being should have to dig their throats free of tonsil stones everyday or suffer from tonsillitis every other month either. If you are about to have a tonsillectomy, or recovering from it, I wish you all the very best! If it’s any consolation, food really does taste better without those pesky flaps of redundant flesh in the way.
😦 I had no idea that tonsil stones even existed! Glad you’re not going to get them anymore. I hope the rest of your throat healing goes well!
Tx Su-Lin! I think the worst is over and am feeling far better relative to earlier on in the week. Good to be back on my feet after a horrific week. It has really made me appreciate how nice it is to start to swallow again without immense pain!
bro just had mine out the TASTE IS BAD
oh man, I had my tonsils out 7 days ago… and I have gone through the same phases as you. I am living on ice cream only because I am scared to hurt my throat.
Thank you for this. My daughter suffering on day 7 and its horrific. It feels never ending as she screams like a dying animal! I hope each day she improves as you did but your article has brought me some comfort knowing this is somewhat normal healing process.
I had my surgery on the 7th of October. I wish I had found this sooner to help further prepare me as it seems that so far everything I am experiencing was similar to what you did.
No loss of the scabs as far as I can tell right now but what you have shared will be good information for me to think about these upcoming days.
I know this post is old but I still found it to be helpful! I hope you are doing well now and I look forward to being pain-free and able to eat once again~
I just had my tonsillectomy on the 26th of January and now am on day 6. I thought the first few days were going to be a breeze. They cauterised the tonsils so I had no bleeding and no tongue swelling or pain, or any issue sleeping but since day 4 I’ve had the worst ear pain and now on day 6 the swelling at the back of the tongue has started. While a humidifier is slighting helping with the dry throat and an ice back to ease some of the swelling is mild, eating, and swallowing is proving to be challenging. The pain is awful and since I cannot even handle soft foods, I’ve gotten a bunch of baby food in those pouches to eat because it’s all I can handle to swallow. The pain meds (15ml of 7.5 mg liquid hydrocodone/325mg Tylenol) every 6 hours is not cutting it as the meds only last about 3 hours before the pain starts in again. What I’m worried about now is that the tongue at the back is just now starting to swell and of course my throat is on proverbial fire. I’ve taken to chewing gum as it says it helps with jaw tension and keeping the throat moist and that’s not an issue. What my concern now is the tongue swelling.
Thank you so much for posting this. I am currently sitting on day 7 of my tonsillectomy and adnoidectomy at age 25. Article after article that I read made it seam like the issues were not that bad. I was starting to think that there was something wrong with my experience. They said it would be bad, Noone said I would be laying in the bathtub begging to die to end the pain. Unless you have experienced this pain, there is just no way to describe it. The narcotics didn’t even begin to touch the pain. I begged for it to end. On day 7, I still can hardly eat, still need heavy painkillers every 4 hours, I haven’t slept all week. What I wish they would have told me was that I would be so dependent on my caretaker. I am so thankful that I had access to care 24 hours of the day, without that I am not sure how I would have made it this far. I needed someone blend up ice, get ice packs, administer medication, literally every hour for a week. That pain that we experienced is real. Thank you for showing me that I am not alone in this.
@Mariah: Oh gosh, thinking of you Mariah. All the best with the rest of the recovery and hope the worst of the pain will pass soon and you will be on the mend!
Same. Here. Day seven right now and I have been completely dependent on my caregivers. I can’t speak and the pain is excruciating. The pain meds only KINDA work for two hours. How are you doing now? Please tell me it ends.
@Laurel: hope the worst is over for you soon! If I remember right. Day 8 or 9 really started to feel like I turned a corner for me and things started to get better. best wishes in the meantime!
Hello Laurel, everyone will have a slightly different recovery path but yes you are on your way to feeling better. Its been 25 days since my surgery and I only need medication maybe once or twice a day which is great! I can eat normal foods and return to work tomorrow. I will say that I do still have issues left over such as small ear pressure, headaches, and sinus congestion due to the adenoids scabs still falling. Overall, it feels like a medium level cold which is so much better than where I started. During day 7-9 for me is when I found that switching to warm drinks reduce that bad ear pain and swelling. What helped me was having an ice pack on my neck and rinsing with warm salt water on my throat. Be patient. I understand the struggle. I was up every 2-4 hours to repeat this but wow did it help me! I was able to start having bites of normal food and then run to salt water every couple bites. I know its exhausting but your past the hurdle and every single day you will see success. Its important to recognize every improvement in order to feel better. I celebrated when I was able to finish my small plate of food. It makes you find hope. Again, be patient. You are at the turning point but it will take time.
oh no….hope you are heaps better now…..never knew tonsil stones exists..have to keep that in mind
Kay, its pretty yeuchh to be honest. For me, the problem slowly got worst and worst over the past 4 or 5 years. Initially, the stones were there only once or twice a year. Then, once a month, then before i knew it, the crypt had gotten so large, it was daily!! so glad its over and am back to eating proper food again….
I just had mine out five days ago! The pain is significantly less tonight. I believe the scabs are about to come off though so I’m not looking forward to this next bit. But I was able to walk around without the throbbing in my ears and throat today!
I don’t agree with the toast advice whatsoever though. I don’t think it’s a good idea to scrape the scabs off prematurely as you risk major bleeding.
Orange sherbet is my best friend. The long ice bag collar they gave me at the hospital is Gods gift. And these vegan shakes from amazon really helped sustain me these first few days!
I work at a CBD place so I definitely recommend CBD tincture to combat the tongue/throat swelling when the ice and prescription painkillers aren’t working alone. It truly does help the inflammation and because it’s taken under the tongue it gets directly to the most inflammation super fast! (I actually held the oil/tincture under my tongue for one minute and then rolled the liquid to the back of my throat and let it sit directly on the swollen tongue and inflamed wounds for another minute). I’m also using a CBD pain cream topical option but it’s not very strong and it might just be the soothing aromatherapy of it thst makes me feel better. Either way: I feel better after I’ve applied the CBD tincture and cream.
I’ve been icing my throat pretty much 24/7; I’ve kept bags of frozen peas on my ears too as the pain radiated yesterday and part of today.
Thanks for sharing Meg, all the best with your recovery!
Day 5 for me today and I’m in so much pain. Was planning on going back to work today but that was a no go. I can barely swallow and when I do, the ear pain gets worse with each swallow. I’m sick of jello and pudding and all that stuff! I just want normal food back!!!! I woke up this morning with my tongue all numb, ears bout to burst it felt like, and so much thick salvia in my mouth. Pains meds they prescribed me feel like don’t work, ibuprofen has been my friend but that doesn’t help all the pain. I go back to the day when I said I was ready for this surgery! They weren’t kidding when they said it was worse as adults then it was as a kid. I remember my brother as a little boy running around acting like everything was fine by day 3!
I am at day 5 of recovery and I just want to cry. The antibiotics prescribed are the size of horse tablets and I can barely swallow my saliva without pain. It’s true that the pain medication only lasts up to 2 hours and I still have to wait 4 more before I can take anymore. I can’t really eat even the softest foods without suffering. I’m beginning to regret my decision of getting my tonsils removed. 😦
Right there with you! Had the same problem, the stones! In fact it was getting to the point where I couldn’t swallow food anyways, it was so swollen, etc. I’m on day 5, post op from tonsillectomy. Your descriptions of the days after surgery are pretty much spot on. Glad this was supposedly the peak pain time though (day 5ish)! Here’s hoping both you and I are soon back to eating normal things without pain!
OMG I had tonsillitis and stones all the time , in fact my tonsils were so Holey and large I kept choking . I am on day 5 post tonsillectomy hell ! Beginning to think why the hell did I go through this but if u say it’s worth it to eat food and have no tonsils stones again then I guess a few more days severe hell is worth it ! I been finding myself googling everything about tonsillectomy and I’m a nurse 🙈 ! Good luck everyone with the recovery I hope it 5 days time I can finally start to swallow again
A very tired , 43 year old
@Kelly: Wishing you all the best with the rest of the recovery!
I just had my tonsils and adenoids out yesterday.! They just prescribed the liquid Tylenol with a codeine for me. Is it going to get worse before it gets better? The pain is pretty bad.
Jordan: Sounds like you are recoverying along a similar timeline as I did. I’m on Day 16 now and pretty much completely back to normal (the last of the surgery scabs have mostly fallen off already). I actually managed to take myself off pain killers completely on Day 11 so you should be there in a few more days – hang in there. There may be some bleeding in the coming days as the sutures (if you have any) and main scab areas fall off, but hope its minor and stops after 5-10mins. Feel for you, so hang in there and hope you recover as expected/normal.
Thanks for stopping by – us Post-Tonsil-Stone recovery people should start an awareness group or something i say!!!
That’s good! Glad to hear you’re almost fully healed! Yes, it’s not awful just some residual ear pain and pain during swallowing, but aside from that it’s not too terrible. Thank you for the encouragement! We totally should have an awareness group! Haha, here’s to longer suffering with them! 🙂
I have found not being able to lie flat – is causing mr to go into sleep debit. This makes the whole episode that much more of a nuisance. The surgeon didnt use sutures just applied pressure until bleeding stopped. Hopefully as scabs fall off – bleeding will be minimal.
Chewing gum helped enormously between pain killers.
Wayne: Feel for you. How is Chewing gum helping? – i could barely chew and move my lower jaw without cringing the first few days! Wish you a good recovery.
hey thanks a lot for this. i just got my tonsils removed yesterday because of tonsil stones and I’m in really bad shape. reading this was helpful though and made me feel a bit better, thanks for the advice.
Alan: feel for you! The discomfort gets a little worst over the next week before it gets better… But it is so worth getting rid of those bloody stones for good!!
Thanks for this post. I am now at day 5 post op and am really looking for some positives.
I started on chewing gum a few hours out of surgery, a couple of friends who had been through it recommended it and the Nurse in the hospital confirmed it was one of the most helpful things. I think if you start chewing it straight away it prevents your jaw from seizing up too much and the saliva it helps generate assists in healing.
It was great to read a non-American’s experience of a tonsillectomy recovery, I’ve been doing a lot of googling and reading over the past few days and so many of them talked about eating foods that just aren’t prevalent in Australia.
Lala: I think once you are pasy day 5 or 6, you should be on the home straight to recovery. All the best! On the bright side, you will get far less sore throats going forward, and food really does taste better without those pesky flaps in the way!!
Oh, I can’t even tell you how happy that makes me!
I can’t get over how big my tonsils were! I keep swallowing too much water because there’s nothing in the way!
Thanks again 🙂
This gives me hope! Had my tonsils out last Friday and it’s been a night mare! Ready for read food 😦
Karrie: Wish u all the best with the recovery! Food really does taste better once it’s all healed up.
Everything u said is what is happning 2 me im on day 6 an my scabs are falling off it feels like im gona choke on em but im not
Zo: I feel for you! Hopefully it only gets better from this pt onwards.
a little story i like to bore people with. i had my tonsils out at the royal london decades ago. no visitors were allowed and the nurses were tyrants. i was promised ice cream and jelly, which of course i couldn’t even contemplate when the time came. i remember right after surgery them asking me several times did i feel like being sick? i was puzzled then realised this must mean i was going to be and oh yes i was. how painful! and the second day after surgery they delivered me a plate of cut oranges and bread soldiers for lunch. i was six years old but knew this couldn’t be for me especially since the name under the plate was someone else’s. can you even imagine trying to eat oranges after a tonsillectomy? i didn’t try after the first attempted bite but was yelled at over and over for being ungrateful. the good old days? i’m glad your op is well over.
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Hey, just going through tonsillectomy recovery myself. Had them out last Thursday, so today will be day 8 post op. Just woke up in loads of pain. Popped 2 Codeine and used some Difflam spray, easing off a little now. Had an interview toady, well yesterday now… so think I overdid the talking. Somehow I can’t see this healing quickly enough for me to be back at work next week with how painful it is =/ Here in the UK the hospitals make you eat normal food right after surgery. I had salad, potatoes and rice pudding within 2 hours of waking up, and then they made me eat a bowl of cornflakes and 2 slices of toast before they would discharge me. I’ve eaten normally every day, although it is taking me over an hour to eat most things. I’m so done with feeling like this now! Urgh! Thanks for the post about this though! x
@twistedbarista13: I feel your pain! hopefully the worst is over and you will be on the mend soon!
How are you doing now? Hope it’s been better!
Thanks for posting this. I’m 32 years old, and am currently on day 6 of the recovery. Had my tonsils out for the tonsils stones as well. I was feeling great over the last two days, but now have taken a massive dive. The pain, the pain! When will it stop? It seems endless. Hard to stay happy when you are in so much pain. Not to mention the side effects of the pain meds, that’s a whole other kettle of fish!
Shaz: Hope you are on the mend! Feel ur pain and wish you all the best. I remember the odd day during recovery where I had already maxed out on painkillers yet the throbbing pain could be felt with every heartbeat! On the brightside, it only gets better from here…. And no more tonsil stones!!!
I hope the creator of this blog and those who have commented realize how much of a comfort reading all of your thoughts and experiences have been. I’m on day 5 after surgery and the scabs are starting to come off and the pain is very minimal. After suffering with some pretty horrible sickness due to the pain medicine, I’m happy to say that I’m down to only two doses of Tylenol a day. Thank you again!
Wow. This helps a lot! I am from South Africa and had my tonsils out last week Wednesday. That makes today day 5. I have been like a crazy person on google ever since the op looking for any advice or help!! Thank you so much for your blog!! I feel a bit more at ease after waking up this morning in heaps of pain and feeling like I was back at square one after a relatively positive and active day yesterday. Here’s to getting through the pain together and hopefully only one or two more days in agony!! X
@Jessica: Good luck with the recovery! It should hopefully only get better from this point onward…
Got mine out day before yesterday along with my adenoids and cauterization of my turbinates hurts like hell!! im scared for day 3-7 now 😦
@Kayla: Hope you are recovering well! Take care and all the best.
Hi, I’m 16 and Ijust had my tonsils taken out yesterday. Thankfully i hardly felt any pain yesterday and swallowing was not painful! However, im pretty sure i overdid it on the whole talking bit because i woke up today and found it very hard to swallow anything, including my own saliva. I take my medicine (liquid hydrocodone) which helps a bit but not much . I have a couple questions , does chewing gum really help? If so, what kind of gum? Also, what should Ido to help prevent nausea ??? Please reply. Thanks!
@Veronica: Hope you are recovering well. Sorry, not sure about ur questions… probably best to ask ur doctor? – not sure that chewing gum helps in all honesty – i kinda avoided chewing anything too vigorously the first few days so as to not to aggravate the swelling further….
I am currently on day 5 of recovery and it has been so so painful.
Day 1- it was painless as I was on so many strong drugs from the hospital such as morphine for one. I could sip water and eat a little but the morphine and anesthetic made me nauseous so I was vomiting all night. Luckily no blood.
Day 2- was a little more painful I could barely swallow foods let alone water. I got discharged from hospital that afternoon when I showed I could eat 2 slices of toast with just butter on them. Was tough but I pulled through as I just wanted to be in my own home.
Day 3-4 was a lot like day 2, pain to swallow but I made sure I kept my fluids up to stop dehydration and ate soft foods such as jelly mashed potatoes smoked gem fish boiled carrots and ice blocks to ensure I was getting enough vitamins and minerals into my body also to ensure I was not taking my medication on an empty stomach.
Day 5- this is a day of pain! Woke up this morning and I was in tears it hurt so bad because my throat was dry and I hadn’t taken medication for about 9 hours. I just wanted to sleep all day. I had a couple boiled eggs to eat and after that fell asleep again. Woke up and was in such pain from my throat to my ears took more pain relief and chewed on some gum and had an ice block this soothed my throat and felt nice. Tonight I needed to cough because I felt something tickling the back of my throat so I coughed softly and felt something come into my mouth but before I could grab it or spit it out I swallowed my saliva so I am unsure of what it actually was. I’m thinking it was a scab because it is now so much easier to swallow and the pain lessened. Here’s to hoping my road to recovery gets easier and not harder. Definitely missing decent foods.
Drink as much water as you can as this lessens the pain
Suck on ice chips or ice blocks as these help keep the throat numb
Take pain medication as often as required
Go to bed with a water to sip on through the night to stop the throat from getting dried out
Go to bed with a humidifier in your room as this will also stop you from getting a dry throat
Chew gum! It helps the jaw from getting stiff and helps with ear aches
Talk every now and then I know someone who had to go through speech therapy because she didn’t talk for 2 weeks and her jaw seized.
Eat soft foods as much as you can as swallowing helps you recover more quickly.
I wish everyone a speedy recovery, it’s definitely no fun being unable to eat or talk or drink.
Just wanted to thank you for your post! I’m on day 6 post op and the scabs are coming off. They really ought to warn you about how much it burns! Like so many others, I’ve been online…those of us who have gone through this almost have our own support group/society.
@Katrina: Yes, I was googling obsessively when I was going through recovery as well! All the best, hope it gets better for you from this point onwards!
Hi, I just found this website after Googleing ‘tonsillectomy stitches falling out’! I had my surgery a little over a week ago and I have had very similar experience to the majority of posts above. I ate a sandwich before leaving hospital, some soughdough toast with avocado on when I got home and then ate normal meals the next day and the pain was completely manageable through the painkillers. It was only over the next couple of days that the pain increased and I couldn’t take the medication frequently enough. I still can’t sleep lying down but the earache is receding and I’m waking up less during the night from a dry throat causing pain. I didn’t expect so much pain in my tongue but it makes sense as they have to clamp it out the way so gets very bruised – the first couple of days this was more painful than my throat!
What did surprise me was coming across advice on American websites (had lots of time on my hands!) that gave opposite advise to that of the UK NHS, ie only ice, drinks to begin with and then apple sauce, mash etc for days. I actually enjoyed eating solid food, made my throat feel clean and helped reduce feeling icky from all the painkillers I was taking.
Ten days after my op and I’ve only taken one lot of Ibuprofen to help me eat lunch. Hopefully in a couple of days I’ll be completely recovered! I’m looking forward to enjoying cooking and eating whatever I want again.
One tip: avoid anything with any kind of tomato in. It will sting!
Thank you SO much for posting this. I had my tonsillectomy done four days ago and I think I’ve had next to nothing to drink since Sunday night. I find it excruciatingly painful to swallow anything, even if it’s immensely cold and will numb my throat. I’ve found myself having to spit constantly because of my own saliva, and quite frankly, as much as I’m glad the tonsil stones are gone, I wish I never went through with the surgery. I don’t care if I would have had to put up with tonsil stones for the rest of my life, the pain is absolutely unbearable for someone with an extremely low pain tolerance. However, I will most definitely heed your dos and donts. Again; thank you very much for posting this.
@Brittnie: Hang in there and best of luck with the recovery!
2am in the morn…gota love the internet. just woke up to take next bout meds, im on…day…9! now of recovery and even though there is still pain i was much brighter during the day today than ive felt over past 2/3 days. im 26, female, living in australia & yeh all the stuff ive read/been reading might not have been good for my anxiety levels during this but i think its great to know we are not alone! i think for people suffering inability to swallow at all & having to actually spit out saliva that cant be good, i dont think you are managing your pain meds or even perhaps taking good ones? Ive had bouts of tonsilitis where i felt couldnt swallow but not during this post op recovery have i felt like that! would just like to say ive felt more annoyed by inability eat properly & having extreme mood swings than anything else, even, yes, the pain. SPEEDY & SAFE RECOVERY TO ALL 🙂
Honestly, I was avoiding swallowing up until yesterday. My grandma kinda forced me to swallow almost immediately after I drank water. Only way she forced me was by threatening to take away my iPod, which is literally my world. I even wanted it when I woke up post operation. Either way–I’ve been swallowing and talking fine since yesterday. Now all I want is for the pain in my ears to go away and to go back to school. I miss school.
damn! *hugs* your grandma got the right incentive for u. :p thats a good point too about wanting to go back to school/work, how boring is this lengthy recovery! i dont want to see anyone coz my breath stinks lol and i dont REALLY want to go back to work but id like to enjoy SOME of my time off.
I have nothing to do at home, which is why I enjoy going to school. Plus, this is my last year of school. I graduate in a couple of months. My surgery was at the WRONG possible time, but oh well. I’m still doing my school work here, so we’ll see how far that gets me when I finish with it all. I’m extremely grateful though, after only five days of recovery, it’s easier for me to talk and swallow now. I’m beyond grateful that my grandma made me do that yesterday.
This is the most reassuring thread that i have found online.
I found this pretty late on i’m on day 9 and i feel fairly good just a bit of soreness whilst swallowing. its good to take advice from others but also do as your body allows you to. Water and ice are your best friends!!
I’m 25 and going on day 3. I keep a spit cup next to my bed bc I’m literally drowning over here. My spit cup I’d fuller than my water cup. Luckily I have not mixed up the two. I knew it would be painful but I had no idea my mouth would be covered in thick saliva.And it hurts to spit so I just have to lean forward and let it drool out. The first two days I was able to eat mashed potatoes and apple sauce, now I’m lucky to get water down .
And fyi stay away from ice cream. Popsicles are better and won’t turn you into a mucus factory.
@Lauren: Wishing you all the best with your recovery and welcome to the post-tonsillectomy club 🙂
Brilliant blog, but if anyone has had a LINGUAL TONSILLECTOMY they can ask me too as I am now day 14 of the above operation, similar pain but totally different operation
Hi All, its 6 weeks since surgery and i thought id share my experience at the moment. I just googled “tonsillectomy 6 weeks” so everything im experiencing is normal:
After the surgery my recovery took about 11 days of shitness (very manageable though, i had a good recovery, i just really hated what taking the drugs did to me but absolutely necessary) and then it just got better from there (and especially when i made effort to talk and eat more, coz at first I was too scared to really do it too much but after seeing my GP on..was it day 7 or 8.. i felt better about it) I also saw my ENT at about the 3 week mark and everything was on track and scabs gone.
However for about 3 weeks ive had a very dry mouth/throat with constant weird/bad taste (yes i had bad taste for first week after surgery but it went away mostly) in my back of my mouth, during this time it was also a bit sore but more like dry/sore throat sore.
For past 2 weeks ive been having more of a sore throat, especially at night, it actually wakes me up. Im not bothering with pain meds much, this isnt anything like the first week post-op. But its annoying! And i have been feeing like weird blistery things on roof of my mouth with my tongue as far back as i can reach in my mouth. And when i drink it sorta gives me a stinging sensation like when you put water on an open wound.
Im not worried,dont get wrong idea, its more annoying than anything. I might go see my GP in next few weeks if it doesnt get better though. At first i thought maybe i was getting sore throat/cold sick but i dont have other symptoms so its just still post-op recovery.
Im eating normally, my tongue has nearly full movement without feeling tight and i just have one regret that I stopped drinking as much as i was in the first 2 weeks post op so my advice is DO NOT STOP DRINKING HEAPS!!! 🙂
Hi all, Im 37 and Had mine tonsil out 5 days ago. I didn’t realize that I had to go through all this pain which no one had mentioned. From the get go, I had so much problem just taking a sip of water and kept choking on it. It kept going up my nose. Now the liquid Lortab and Amoxicillin. the Lortab is so strong it stings as it goes down the wrong hole and up my nose makes me choke and cough and eyes tearing i almost wanna to punch my bathroom mirror.
I also now see that my uvula is swelling and thats cuasing issues too. The saliva is just constant at day 4 and 5 which i’m on now I have to spit out every minute. I started to see the scar now and got this nasty bitter taste. On top of all this pain, I develop cancer sores on my lip and tongue!! Dammit things just getting worse. I can tolerate pain but boy this pain will make a full grown man cry. I so gad I’m not the only one and appreciate everyone’s story and tips. I so looking forward to getting back to normal life. I so regret having this tonsil remove but now I all hope for is the better days coming.
This is the only blog I’ve read that makes me smile. I’ve had a terrible time since removing my tonsils and adenoids three days ago. Been in and out of emergency room twice due to allergic reactions to the pain medication. Just got home from an appointment with my surgeon who advised that if nothing changes by tomorrow, I’ll have to get admitted to the hospital. I forced myself to eat a puréed potato and drink more than ice water because I don’t want to be admitted. Every sip I take is so painful and until today, I would throw up whatever went in my mouth. I’m only allowed to take Tylenol extra strength for pain management due to allergies to everything else and some narcotics to prevent me from coughing and allow me to sleep when the pain is too much.
I’m happy I won’t suffer tonsilitis every other month and that I won’t have those terrible complications caused by sleep apnea anymore. From what I’ve read here, I have to look forward to good food sooner than later and that although I’m suffering now, I will be healed and back to my enthusiastic self again 🙂 Look out world, I’m under construction and will be back spreading my joy for life everywhere!
I know how you feel, it’s day 5 of my recovery and it’s the worst day by far, I was admitted into the hospital for being dehydrated still not keeping fluids down but the sent me home, and I have cough fits all the time unwillingly, a dry mouth is the worst! I hope it gets better by day 9 but right now scab removal days fun
Sigh. I am on my day 4 of recovery and i know the worst is yet to come
@Karen: Hang in there Karen! Wishing you a speedy recovery!
This article was great!!! I wish I would of found it days before i got over the worst of it. Just be thankful if you didn’t have massive post op bleeding where you thought you were dying because so much blood was pouring from the throat. When intense bleeding occurs they have to cauterize the wound where the bleed is at which means another fresh damn scab and it resets the clock on healing by a good bit not to mention it makes it impossible to eat anything besides a liquid diet. I was a healthy 22 year old fit male with abs and descent muscle tone and it’s day 11 right now and I finally enjoyed a smoothie king with a pain scale of 5 without being on any pain meds. I went from 142 lbs to 122. HYDRATION is KEY. Getting down NUTRIENTS is KEY no matter what as long as you aren’t causing bleeding. Without nutrients your body cannot clot and heal so you will bleed more, the pain will be worse and it will all just be a living hell. This was the hardest thing I’ve EVER had to go through. I didn’t eat for 10 days straight besides 2 bowls of pure liquid broth and the IV’s from the hospital. Save yourself and do your research. Good luck.
@Jordi: Tx for stopping by the blog, good luck with the rest of the recovery!
I every time spent my half an hour to read this website’s articles everyday along with a mug of coffee.
Hi there. i also suffer tonsil stones and chronic bad breath. Im (17) student and Its hard to deal with other people being self conscious about my breath. My only question is that does your bad breath remain after having tonsillectomy? or no more tonsil stone and no more foul smell of breath? thanks for all your comments and to the original author 🙂 Hope for some response. and will much appreciate it 🙂 To those who undergo with the surgery: Hope for all your good and fast recovery guys 🙂
@jes: I feel for you! I think it’s best for you to seek professional medical advice from a doctor/specialist so they can properly diagnose the source of your problem as it can differ from person to person.
In my case, the tonsil stones used to cause me problems such as throat infections/swelling as well as breath issues. Before I had my surgery, it got to the point where I needed to clean the stones out every single night to keep the infection & bad breath issues away (which is why I finally got fed up and seeked medical advice for a long term solution). I was referred by my local doctor to an “ENT “(Ear/Nose/Throat) specialist so they could take a look. Thankfully, my tonsillectomy has solved my problems.
Wish you all the best whatever decision you make. There are of course risks associated with any surgery so it’s best to sit down with your doctor and family to make an informed decision!
Hi Guan: Thanks for your swift reply. Its really helped 🙂 I m also in the point now that I used to dig my stone every single night just to prevent bad breath and irritation of my throat. I’ve got some research for home remedies like gargling with salt water which I use to do for 3 times a day. Did you also try it before your surgery Guan? The bad side is that the stones was reoccuring 😦 My tonsil is small ,not so big compared to those other people that i saw in the internet that also suffer this situation. I also researched that there are people who got their tonsil out still having a tonsil stones. its weird coz after the worst pain they suffer after tonsillectomy, their problem was not cured. 😦 They said that tonsils grows back. I dont know what to do now guan 😦 Thanks again for your response. I was glad for you that your problem was solved and you will never deal again with those nasty tonsil stone.. 🙂
I’m from the Philippines, 34 years old. Currently Day 7 post Op. Recovery has been kinda hard for me, Had bleeding on Day 3 and was rushed to the ER. My 3 year old son I think was terrified because I looked like one of those zombies from the walking dead with blood dripping down my mouth. What’s more frustrating than the actual tonsil site is the pain from my tongue and upper soft palette which I think, I got from the clamp used in the operation. It stings so bad whenever I have cold water. My swolen uvula is also a nuisance as it affects my sleeping and the little effort to talk. I find that aside from water, Difflam spray has been a lifesaver to address the pain in my tongue and upper soft palette area. I’m having minimal pain swallowing right now, I have no idea if my scabs have fallen off (I don’t want to look in the mirror), I’m just hoping it all gets better from here.
@Ace: All the best with the recovery, hope the worst of it is now behind you.
I’m so glad you took the time to write this post.
I’m sure it’s just a faded memory now but reading about your recovery has really put me at ease. Seeing as I am a foodie myself I know how bad this can really get.
I’m day 6 post op right now and I have yet to eat anything! The pain is so bad I can only handle popsicles and crushed ice. Mashed potatoe, pudding and pretty much anything you can think of just gets caught in my throat.
My scabs have started to fall off because even water is terrible to swallow. Lots of burning. I don’t even know how I will take my morphine today.
My ear and neck pain has also been pretty constant even though the doc told me it should only last 2 to 3 days -_- .
I’m just glad to see that this is all pretty normal and everyone goes through it.
Thanks again for writing this post. Winterlicious is coming to our city in about 2 weeks and I’m really hoping I can eat by then lol.
Take care 🙂
Hi everyone. I am on post op day 6. I live in the UK and had my surgery private. I was told to eat whatever I could and drink plenty. I had minimal pain to begin with and have eaten pretty much a normal diet without too many difficulties. I’ve been taking standard paracetamol since day 2 and have just finished the course. Being British I’ve found warm (not hot!!) tea a life saver during the mornings and drink about 4 cups in a row – it really sooths the throat. Jelly is also a great addition to sooth the throat and get lots of moisture. I’ve had no bleeding at all and I think this is due to eating normally straight away and not letting the throat become used to liquified food. I’ve started taking codeine at night just to help with the sleep and although it’s effective to make me sleep I have woken up the last 2 days with a dry throat – very sore but nothing the tea won’t sort after a couple of cups. My advice to one and all is that everyone is different and will respond to different things. I’m a big believer in doing what you feel is right and not being put off by scare stories about what not to eat or drink – my consultant told me to buy lots of ben and jerry’s ice cream and indulge – all this nonsense about staying away from dairy is rubbish in my humble opinion. Don’t be worrying about saliva build up either – it’s your body’s way of coating the throat and helping out and it’s also because the saliva glands are swollen too. These blogs are great because we are all seeking reassurance about out own experiences but remember folks that although we will all (most likely) end up at the same destination (land of the tonsillitis/stones free) we will all arrive a different way! Keep drinking and eating and think about long term happiness!
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I’m so glad I’m not the only person feeling like this! I’m on day 6/7. I had a really bad reaction to my pain meds which made me feel sick so I couldn’t eat or drink. After being dehydrated I got and infection on day 5. I was throwing up and collapsed the works it was awful! Day 6 has been better drinking flat coke to replace sugars and eatting toast to keep my energy up. No pain meds so the pains pretty awful but it seems like everyone is in the same boat. It’s so nice to see a realistic post about recovery! I keep thinking no more tonsil stones! It also sounds like the worst is over yeay!
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Had my toncills out on the 29 July day 8 of recovery still in a lot of pain ,sleep a nitemare ,haven’t felt sick have eaten 3 times a day from ,soup to scrambled egg ,and toast sore to swallow but need to do it for the meds also to keep my calories up have been eaten a big bar of chocolate a day it the only joy Im getting right now ,can’t wait till pain goes and I can get off my couch where I have lived for the last 8 days ,glad to read other posts keeping me sane ,when the pain is still their you relise it takes at least 12-14 days good luck all
@Alan: Hope the recovery is going well – All the best!
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Well I guess this is kinda old but all these comments are helpful I was so scared when I woke up today (5th day) I woke up with my throat so sore it’s unreal I decided not to take my meds and just drink water it’s feeling somewhat better but do y’all Know anything that Would help me I think my scabs are coming off to
@Sidney: If i remember correctly, I recall my stitches getting quite loose as the swelling reduced.. some of my scabs did start to come off as well, but wasn’t too much of an issue for me as the bleeding did eventually stop again. All the best with the rest of the recovery!
sidney – take your meds! seriously, how are you meant to give your body a proper chance at recovering (meaning sleep!) if you are battling pain all the time? and drink drink drink! keep those scabs moist otherwise itll hurt a hell of a lot more
I had my surgery on Jan 8th and day of and day after didn’t seem so bad. I’m on day 5 post surgery and this is the worst day so far. Being awakened with excruciating pain in the ears at 2:00am and it being too soon for the next pill was almost too much. Everything regarding the pain levels that have been documented are true. I have a pretty high pain tolerance, been through a few surgeries and this is absolutely the worst. 3 months from now I’ll be thinking I’m glad I did it but right now it’s what the heck did you do! Wishing well to all those going through this who searched excessively to find as much info as possible. Please take the meds on time.
Hi, Thank you for this post. I will undergo tonsillectomy this coming June. I am just wondering if what are the medicines you had? and how many days you had for the recovery period. Looking forward for your response.
@ysa: best to speak to your doctor about medicin! recovery for me took about 10 days…
I had my tonsils out yesterday because of tonsil stones. They were so swollen I found it difficult to breathe sometimes. The doctors told me I should eat normal food and have been so far, although just ate some chicken and felt that it was stuck in my throat, have gotten most of it out and gargles with salt water as many times as possible. I’m paranoid about residual food causing bacterial infections. I’m hoping the advice to eat normal food and try not to stick to ice cream and soft foods is to encourage the scans to come away more easily? Because the thought of that happening is really freaking me out. I’m so scared about them bleeding. I’ve found the pain very bearable even without a lot of painkillers. At the moment however I’m free of pain after a dose of codeine…so, wahey. Seriously not looking forward to the inevitable pain and scariness of the next few days
All the best with the recovery!
Well what a journey this has been so far. Hi all been a great comfort reading all your experiences thank you! I’m a 39 year old female in the UK who has just woken up to day 9 post tonsillectomy surgery. For one I can’t believe I have made it this far without over dosing on codeine!! It has been my friend along with ibruprofen, difflum rinse and my hot water bottle. If i could have got myself organised sooner i would have got a ice pack and a humidifier too!
Days 1 and 2 where the calm before the storm. My body was still full of general anaesthetic so obviously I could eat and drink and talk without a problem! Great this was going to be a walk in the park!!
Day 3 – 5 how wrong was I. The pain was unbearable, I wanted to cry but that just made things worse. From the jaw, ear, throat and tongue the pain was so bad. There are added problems pain wise. Your tongue hurts as this is clamped out of the way during surgery, the throat hurts due to the breathing tube put down during surgery and your ear pain is because the tubes are all connected. To add I have not had one night’s sleep up to this point. So sleep deprived, in pain and now feeling very depressed these were not good days!
Days 6 – 8 managed to get pain under control and was alternating my meds and taking them every 3 hours. Had a bleed on the morning of day 6, so I just sat down and sipped and swished round ice cold water in my mouth for about 10 mins. Luckilly it stopped so i didnt need to go back to hospital!
Day 9 I slept!!!!! I went from 12 midnight through to 8am! I am so happy the first night I got some actual sleep.
It’s the little things that get you through this. For me resting is all I can do at the moment. Some days you find you have a bit more energy then others so I havemanaged to keep up with the washing and some housework.
Shower every day, brush your teeth regularly and set your alarm for every 3 to 4 hours so you take your meds on time 24/7. I found that a bit water bottle on my pillow was good for the ear pain.
Food wise, I’m gutted as good is my favourite past time! I have been having marmite on toast in the morning’s the first 3 days. This helped clean the throat. Best breakfast so far has been bio natural yoghurt mixed with some honey, and wheetabix and ice cold milk. I have also been snacking on cold melon cubes. Day 8 I had booked egg and soilders. This really filled me up and helps with keeping your stomach protected from all the horrible meds. My advice is eat what you can, avoid tomatoes though! You will find what suits you as you go along. Instead of ice cream I have been eating frozen yoghurt whic is better for you! Avoid ice cream is will just clog your throat up! I ate an avocado for lunch which was reay good, soft and good for you.
Day 9 is the halfway point, been signed off for two weeks and boy do you need it!! Dont think you dont, rest up and stsy at home. Keepaway from infection and drink, drink, drink! Keep hydrated with plenty of ice cold water and chewing gum will also help with the jaw tension.
I’m signing off now and hoping that on day 9 the worst is behind me. In fact im praying the worst is behind me as at my age this is not a good operation to have. But if I never have Quinsy again or have yo deal with those horrible tonsil stones again this will all be worth it!!
Good luck everyone, 2nd week is easier then the first. Rest up and drink plenty! Oh and by the way you will need senakot!! Constipation is also added into the mix of this one!! Fun fun fun xxxx
@Sarah: All the best with the recovery Sarah! Reading your experience certainly brings back the memories…. Onwards and upwards from here!
Hi thank you for the best wishes! Day 10 really felt like I had turned a corner. I really think the worst is now behind me! So everyone good luck and head for day 10 knowing this will get better! There is light at the end of this tunnel!!! 🙂
I have a tonsil problem. I just got my tonsil removed just 2 months ago.After surgery I am hopefully better now.
I had my surgery about 6 days ago (almost 7) and I wish I read this article earlier. I feel so much better. OH! and popsicles work better than ice cream. Try not to eat ice cream with chunks like cookies and cream ice cream
Oh! I also think my worst day was day 3 because ALL the numbing medicine for me stoped and boy! it hurt so stick with medicine they give you even if you don’t feel like taking it unless it’s after day7
@Kendra: All the best with the recovery!
Thank you for the post. I just had my tonsil operation 3 days ago and the second day it became unbearable painful. My issue is i cant’t take cold food due to asthma. Any suggestions what should i eat?
@Amril: Best to speak to your doctor Amril! Wishing you all the best with your recovery.
It’s already 2017, how’s your life after tonsillectomy?
Recently I had mine on the Valentine’s Day, still staying at the hospital – I’m in Japan and they usually keep ppl after tonsillectomy for 1-2 weeks (tomorrow is a discharge day though).
Pain is still real, though I don’t feel myself as nearly miserable as during/after my every sore throat episodes! I’m energetic and have a HUGE appetite… what a bummer but I hope it’ll be better soon! (I’m already planning my eat-outs from the day 2 – was craving for juicy burger and crispy French fries; also want spicy Korean food, noodles, BBQ meat etc etc. I’m desperate LOL)
But recently I discovered that lingual tonsillitis is actually a thing, can develop after tonsillectomy and in Japan ENTs don’t take out palatine tonsils because of high risk of bleeding… Praying I don’t have to go to ENT’s office with such problems ever again!!
@Mira: Good luck with the recovery!
Hey, I’m from Malaysia. May I know where you got your tonsillectomy and which hospitals in Malaysia you would recommend for this procedure? Thanks and cheers. : )
@Mimi: I actually had my surgery done here in London as I’m based here most of the time! No idea about which Malaysian hospitals are best I’m afraid. Good luck with the procedure if you go ahead!
Thank you so much for this blog, being on day 5 post op it has explained a lot, the pain seems to be getting worse for me now which I was expecting and I see what you mean about the ear pain, feels like I’ve been 90mph winds my ears ache quite bad 👎 the thick gluey throat sensation is not nice I just want to keep swallowing it down but hurts bad!! Hopefully in a few days the pain will start to ease, thanks so much for all the Info, glad I’m not alone on this crazy journey
Great article! Just reading this, 4 days post op. So far so good, honestly the pain isn`t much worse than one of the 10 tonsillites I had last year 🙂 The real pain is being a foodie on a liquid hospital diet 😀 Dreaming of a juicy burger every night.
I did find this post through obsessive googling of tonsillectomy! Currently on say 6 of recovery, and I did not expect it to hurt so bad! I find myself constantly choking on my phlegm (gross), and every time I try to cough it up I make myself bleed. Thank you for this post though, I found it very helpful knowing that this happens to everyone, and I’m not just being a huge baby about it.
I’m also on Day 6 post tonsillectomy. I knew it would suck but didnt know it would suck this bad! Still in a lot of pain, and occasionally bleeds, which is not in massive amounts and stops pretty quickly – I think it’s the scabs coming off. it is also that it’s not the area where tonsils were that hurt, it’s the whole mouth! I just hope the worst has gone past and now start improving.
Currently on day 6 of recovery & it’s not my throat that hurts it’s my tongue where they clamped it down! Pain has been very manageable for me but I have high pain tolerance. Taking smaller doses of hydrocodone/acetaminophen 4ml every 3/4 hrs as the prescribed amount is way too much for me. At 45 I wasn’t expecting to have a surgery like this but it beats tonsil stones and waking up gasping for air because my tonsils were so huge. DRINKING from day one no matter what is so important. I drank all day and ate well on the first few days to keep my strength as I haven’t had an appetite or been able to swallow food much since day 2 post op. Down 10lbs but as long as I’m drinking it’s ok. Warm tea has been great as recently anything cold burns my tongue. Looking forward to the scabs coming off and getting back to normal soon. Good vibes to everyone!
I’m currently sat here on day 6, in the worst of it I feel, excruciating throat pain. When I look back on day 1-2 and thought this was a piece of cake…I realise how naive I was. Frantically googling to see if there were any first hand accounts to read to make sure something wasn’t going terribly wrong. Haha
The article has helped and although I still have a way to go, I can take some solace in knowing that food will taste better and that this moment won’t last forever. I look forward to no longer having to tonsil stones that’s for sure. Thanks for the article!
All the best with the recovery!
Great blog Guan, very helpful. I’m on day 5 from an intracapsular tonsillectomy (coblation) for recurrent tonsil problems including stones. Like you, mine were making me feel sick and causing problems for me generally. I would wake up feeling like I was choking as they swelled up. Fortunately my surgeon is one of Queensland’s best surgeons, and his work looks pretty neat from the mirror. I had some idea the recovery would be bad, but it didn’t morph into reality until I got to day 4. The referred ear pain has been the worst, but I also had grommets put in so have no idea how much of that relates to that procedure. The dreaded scabs look staunch at the back of my throat and I have been still eating and drinking as much as I can. I’ve read lots about this sloughing off the scabs stuff, but yet to see any evidence it works. Like many say the honey and iceblocks are great. Luckily, I have been able to eat some nice half meals of risotto, Pad Thai noodle, curries, softer toast, cake and rice soups. I had an adverse (though common) reaction to the Palexia 50mg tabs last night and got the panics and sweats, which I treated with a 20min walk in the cool winter air. Reading from what other poor folk have written I am middle of the pack progress wise. Of all the things though have saved me so far is playing J.S Bach on my guitar. I’ve learned most of a lute suite and worked my way through most of the Chachonne in D minor. Sometimes you just need distraction :).
Hey Peter, wishing you all the best with the recovery! Hopefully not long before you are cruising and tonsil stone free & swelling free forever. Thanks for sharing all your experiences over the past few days – will no doubt be helping any others who stumble upon this post pre / post op!
This is honestly so reassuring. I just googled something like “tonsillectomy pain worsening” after a rough night of interrupted, accidental mouth breathing and waking to post-op day 5 to find your blessing of a blog. There’s no greater comfort at 4:30 AM as I crawl out of bed for pain medication that someone has endured the same pain and survived. Give me medication-free child birth any day, but I will never miss my routine midnight paracetamol for the next week. Thanks for the esky morning comfort reading!
@Lauren: All the best with the recovery!!
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Very awesome to see that your blog is still active 9! years after you made your post 🙂 I’m on day six, my scabs are still there, tho I’m guessing I got my adenoids removed aswell since I experience some burning pain in my lower throat. Pain wise I didn’t get any medicine for the first day after the surgery because my doctor forgot to give me the prescriptions 😀 so I went home and found some Paracet. On my pain scale, I’d describe the pain at a 0 to a maximum 2 for me (0 = no pain at all, 10 = living hell / unbearable). It just doesn’t hurt. Yeah the occasional stinging in the ear, and the burning in the throat, but literally zero pain when I’m just chilling with my mouth closed. Lucky me! I still take Paracet (1g)every for hours, but will most likely stop taking it every 4 hours because it totally fucks up my stomach. Having the runs for days. But no more swollen tonsils and annoying death smelling tonsil stones 😀 take care everyone! Greetings from Norway to the rest of you!
@Chris: Thanks for sharing your experiences – this post has (accidentally) become an unexpected resource for so many suffering/recovering! All the best with your recovery.
As everyone else has said thank you so much for posting this so we all know we are not alone and not just having a really bad recovery. I am on day 5 after my tonsillectomy and the pain is non stop, my meds are meant to be lasting 4 hours but only seem to be working for 2 hours for last two days so I’m finding it so hard to deal with. Like everyone else I have started questioning why i have put myself through this, and being at very low points when the pain is unbearable. It’s great to have a little bit of a time line from your story and everyone’s comments as to when I can hopefully start feeling my pain ease.
Good luck and speedy recovery everyone 🙂
@Amanda: Wishing you a speedy recovery!
Thanks so much 🙂❤️
PS can I just ask what day did you start being able to eat solids again?
@Amanda: I imagine will highly depend on how each person’s recovery is going, but I think i recall starting to eat proper solids comfortably from about day 8 or 9 onwards (I did force a bit down between day 5 to 7, but wasn’t particularly comfortable!!)
Oh ok thanks for that, I am on day 8 now and still don’t think I’m ready for solids as the scabs are still there and only the right side has started to fall off.
Thanks again for all of the advice 😊
Hey guys I’m 27 and from South Africa. I had my tonsils taken out on the 8th of December so when it gets to 4pm here today It will be the start of day 3.Eating and drinking as normal. A little bit sore to swallow but I’m doing good. The painkillers from the hospital are lovellly 🤣🤣 one dose of antibiotics yesterday and my uvula is back to normal. I react really well to painkillers and antibiotics 🥳 good luck everyone 🥰
Thank you so much for this post! I’m on day 3 at the moment, I thought the pain was bad enough on days 1 and 2? Hah! I’ve dosed up with paracetamol and Palexia (which I’m trying to keep to a minimum), an haven’t dared touch the Oxycodone yet.
I agree with several others here that the swelling and brusing is the worst! I can only open my mouth a few centimetres, and my tongue really hurts when I move it. Oh, and my uvula is ENORMOUS! Was hoping that would’ve started to go down by now.
I seriously hope I’ve got the day 5 peak a day or two early, because I’m not sure I can cope if it gets much worse.
Thank you again however – reading your post and everyone’s comments has shown me that we’re all in the same boat here, and my mouth and throat are normal, and I just need to get through it.
Thank you for posting this! Today is day 7 post surgery and this article has helped me know what I may expect. The consent pain and lack of sleep are starting to really get to me but I keep thinking I’m better than I was yesterday. (I can’t wait for it to be a week from now!)
Guan, I am post op Day 4. When I woke from surgery my mouth and throat quickly began to fill with blood, and I coughed up three blood clots about a quarter the size of my fist. The nursing staff worked quickly to clear my airway, but the suction kept breaking. Also, the surgeon was nowhere to be found despite being paged numerous times! Eventually the anesthesiologist came in and wanted me prepped to go back to the OR to stop the bleeding…the surgeon eventually showed up and was kind of lax about everything until I coughed up a clot in front of her, at which time she said “ok yea, we need to get him back to the OR.”
Everything else happened quickly from there. With the obvious exception of the surgeon, the surgical team was aces! Once the call was made to return to the OR, they swooped in and had me prepped and anesthetized in a little over a minute. Never saw or heard from the surgeon again after waking up, although I am scheduled to see her Friday.
I have since developed a fever twice, and I am now on antibiotics, and had to go in post op day 2 for fluids and Steroids.
Ok so that’s the horror story…here is my question…did you find that you were coughing up yellowish brown phlegm occasionally? I don’t want to clear my throat too much because I don’t want to risk a re-hemorrhage.
Pain wise I’m doing ok, although I expect my pain level will increase on day 5 or 6.
Oh gosh James, sending best wishes your way – sorry to hear about the horror story scare. I do recall there being a lot of excess saliva, that did thicken to a phlem-ish texture. Similar to your thinking, i told myself not to clear my throat too hard as was afraid it would stress the stitches… but where it got really congested I did try to clear as gently as possible, or swallow it down with some liquid. Wish you all the best (and anyone else reading!). Never expected this post to become a international forum for us post-op tonsillectomy people.
Wow that’s is scary! Mine were removed via cauterization (burned not cut) so I didn’t have any bleeding at all. The brown/yellow phlegm you are coughing up is most likely the scabs falling off. They are whitish/yellow in color and are covering your surgery area if you take a flash light and look into the throat. The scabs can fall off quite thick and gross.
Ending Day 5 and it’s been absolute HELL! The painkillers barley help. I’m beyond miserable… and the smell.. my god.. Why does my breath smell so bad. Thank you for posting this and all the comments. I find comfort in knowing i’ll eventually get thru this misery and i’m NOT alone. Day 3 and 4 i just sat there and cried from the pain and nausea. i suffered from recurrent tonsillitis and it was getting so bad i would get an episode every 3-4 weeks. I cant wait for all this to be over. I pray that the pain will eventually subside and i’ll be able to eat again. I’m starving
The scabs and burned flesh is why the breath tastes/smells bad. I was able to gum down mash potatoes, applesauce, and mac and cheese in very small quantities. Personally, I think I ate a “real food item” around day 8 however that is also when the excruciating ear pain started. I usually took 2 bites and had to run to the sink for hot salt water and ice packs behind the ears. And then repeat!
Hang in there. It gets better but it may take the full 14 days. You got this!
Thanks Guan and Company! This blog has been a huge source of re-assurance, and support through one or two sleepless nights. Guan, you’ve done a good thing here my friend! There are few higher callings in life than using our lives experiences to help other along their own journeys!
This helped so much! I thought my recovery was going wrong. I also had a septoplasty and turbinectomy at the same time. The pain is awful.
I am so glad to know I am not alone!! I resonated with this post so much and especially with the burning even on day 9, now! The pain will also travel into my jaw and I’m still unable to open my mouth all the way. When I talk, it almost sounds like I have a lisp! My surgeon literally said I would be eating crackers on day 4 and almost never gave me any stronger pain meds. The hydrocodone wouldn’t touch it though and I am NOT one to even ask for pain meds unless I am definitely in pain, and BOY WAS I. I am now able to scarf down a little more food than I was though so that’s promising. I’m a foodie too so I’m ready to be able to eat normal again.
Glad to hear you’re feeling better!
Hello everyone I am 14 and from Baghdad iraq and I am currently in day 6 or 7 I dont even know and have been recently just playing halo campaigns and assasins creed odyssey to pass the time. On night I could barely even breath with all the saliva but I made it through that. And one day I even almost drowned myself while drinking water, that had me shook for a bit but I have been more careful recently and taking my meds. Also just wanna say guan I can’t believe this post has been up for ten years and its still bringing people comfort just like me thanks homie and everyone else who posted all these years! My advice is to just eat food that you like and don’t eat acidic stuff.
@Yousif: Take care Yousif, all the best with the recovery!
Thanks hope you are doing well!
One of the most helpful post on the internet re: post tonsillectomy. Thank you, very grateful!
I was struggling with dehydration on day 3 and the hospital advised me to have fizzy drinks…
What I would like to say about your post is that you only need to have a look, at first glance, you understand how hard people have worked to write your post, you have not put any useless content at all. . Wrote my post in beautiful words.
Thank you for this post! It is helpful to know the healing process from the point of view of an adult patient. I am a 41 year old woman who should of had my tonsils removed as a kid. This is a stinking painful procedure! It sounds like there are many typical patterns that go along with this throat wrenching experience as mine are very similar, jaw, ear, and throat pain especially when swallowing or attempting to chew. (day 7 post op). I too questioned my decision (day 5, I think), but know in the long run the benefits will prevail. Looking forward to regular meals again soon!
Great post and really helpful, I am 5 weeks post op now but having issues with breathing. Anyone else having the same problems? I wonder if it’s anxiety from the surgery though as I kept waking up feeling like I couldn’t breath, might go back to docs if it’s doesn’t improve!
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Finding this blog was a god send. Similar to everyone else, after scrolling google for days on end, I finally found this and thank god I did!
Male, 31, currently day 6 post op.
Pain today seems the be by far the worst. First couple of days were ok, was eating normal foods, (slower than usual)
Day 5/6 it seems like the pain is increasingly worse. Hurts to talk, swallow and my tongue is soooo sore. Hoping that it’s just a couple more days until I turn the corner.
One thing I have noticed that I haven’t read much about, my taste really seems to have gone!
Currently on day 8 of my recovery, 19 year old girl. I can’t see the end to this pain. The burning is something else, which is really putting me off trying to drink water and even taking my medicine I have to pluck up the courage. When will this end?
Despite this, this feed is so comforting I’m hoping there is light at the end of the tunnel which appears to be true!
If you’re going to undergo this procedure please do your research and decide whether this recovery is worth it, because it is going to be very tough!
Thank you guys for sharing your experience I am on day 6 today and I can actually say I haven’t ate any food since February 24th my throat is always burning and the ear pain is unbearable I’ve been taking the 325 hydrocodone they only help for 3 hours and then I’m back in pain I was drinking water the first 5 days but I’m at a point I don’t even want water anymore just happy I won’t have and peritonsillar abscess so maybe it was worth the pain I’ll update on day 14
Melissa, we’re on the same day! I also had mine out February 24th. I’m so sorry to hear about you not being able to eat, that sucks. You might want to speak to your doctor, I have to alternate my Oxycodone/Tylenol/Ibuprofen so I never go 4 hours without a new pain med. I wouldn’t make it, otherwise. I’m not eating much, myself, but enough to keep from being entirely miserable. Also, a cool mist humidifier literally 2 feet from my head is a lifesaver. I feel worse if it goes out for more than an hour. Also sucking on ice chips/icing your through can really help with dehydration and pain, gotta hydrate to heal. ❤ We're almost there, light's at the end of the tunel.
Just keep distracting yourself and try to forget about the pain lol. That’s what did I hope you get though it and you get better.
I found this blog prior to my 35 year old daughter’s tonsillectomy. Honestly, I was a total wreck after reading this because I was anticipating that she would suffer so much. That said, I was totally prepared. And I have a few thoughts to share. First, her surgeon was the ENT she saw (so he understood exactly what this surgery was going to entail for an adult). Second, he didn’t cauterize but used stitches (his opinion was that the “burn” of cauterization is added pain to the healing process; that might be something to discuss with your surgeon). Daughter had her surgery around noon and received a “cocktail” (pain killers presumably) before I brought her home. Nurse said she could take the Rx meds right away, so we did just that. Pain med was both liquid and tablet forms of hydrocodone and Tylenol (liquid to be used for 3 days, tablets for 3). Nurse also said we could layer those meds with motrin, so that’s exactly what I did. I wrote down the schedule so we wouldn’t get things mixed up, but basically, she got the Rx liquid every 6 hours and liquid motrin (kids syrup but adult dose) every 6 hours. Basically, she received something for pain every 3 hours. I even woke her up in the night to stay on this schedule. She was able to drink and eat from the time we got home after surgery (chicken noodle soup with mushy crackers) and has continued to be able to do so. The only time the pain got a little bad was this morning (day 5) when she went 8 hours without any med. I got right back on top on the 3 and 3 schedule. She has been drinking LOTS (flat soda, pedialite, Snapple tea, and water). She is chewing gum and using Ricola throat drops (no menthol, no numbing med). She has been eating three meals a day plus yogurt and applesauce when she needs to swallow a tablet med. I reserved some of the last liquid Rx doses for middle of the night because it’s hard to swallow a pill in the middle of the night. She has been able to take her regular meds (all pills) after day 3; she is sleeping good. Everyone says that hydration is the most important; it is 2nd most important. Pain meds are MOST important because if you’re in horrible pain, you won’t swallow or want to move your jaw. And if the throat pain is searing, that’s when it’s going to radiate into your ears (daughter hasn’t had any ear pain). We’re not done yet; today is day 5, but I am finally beginning to relax a little. Good luck to anyone having this surgery but it can be done with less pain than some of the responders have experienced. Stay ahead of the pain! Finally, if you’re taking hydrocodone, begin taking a stool softener morning and night with your meals to prevent the constipation that can accompany these meds.
I just had a tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy on the 13th, so I’m on 7 now, also from the US. I’m so grateful I’ve come across this article and hearing everyone else’s story, really let’s me know i’m not alone on this. One of the things that has truly helped sooth my throat is tea. My manager gave it to me as a get well soon gift, extremely greatful for her. Once you boil your water, add a tea bag, the one i’ve been using is peach mango green tea by a nice cup of tea, let it sit for 3 minutes, after that i use these honey spoons, look up which ones you might like, then add a spoon of sugar for taste. For me, warmth has helped more than cold fluids. Ice packs will for sure become your best friend though. Day 1- I was so pumped full of meds that i wasn’t in any pain that day. i slept most of it. Day 2- the pain started to kick in but it was manageable, i mostly ate mac and cheese and mashed potatoes. that morning though my uvula and throat was so swollen when i went to take my liquid pain meds, i choked on it and my throat closed up. My mom and I were both freaking out because i couldn’t breathe, but i finally caught my breathe, if this happens try and stay calm because I didn’t and it definitely made it worse. Day 3- this was the day it all went down hill. I thought it would stay steady like day 1 and 2. yeah, absolutely not. For me, i barely had throat pain but my ears were KILLING MEE. I think that was the worse part of it all Day 4- ear pain just kept increasing and it was always worse in the mornings and at night. There were several times I almost started crying that it was so bad, but like i said in the beginning ice packs will become your best friend. If your holding them at your ear and feel no different try holding it at your throat, or wrap it around both Day 5- I maybe took 3 sips of fluid this day, bad mistake no matter how hard it is to swallow it’s so important to stay hydrated. I promise you will regret it if you don’t, a dry throat that’s trying to heal is extremely painful. I also didn’t eat much so I was starving but couldn’t get anything down without it burning Day 6- yesterday, was the best so far, not sure if it was because I felt starved to death for not drinking or eating much for two days, but I managed to get down some ramen noodles, chicken alfredo, and pizza. I drank TONS of water Day 7- now, I didn’t get stitches, they cauterized mine so I havnt had any bleeding. I only had slight ear pain this morning but very very manageable compared to day 3 and 4. I’m not sure how the scabs differ by getting stitches or not, but i’m not sure if mine have fallen off or even if they’ve scabbed yet. I know when I eat I get a very pinching, stinging feeling, so maybe that’s where a scab was? because I didn’t have that feelings until now. I’m really hoping the worse is over, as many other people, I’ve found myself wanting to go back to the day I agreed to the surgery as well. I got mine out because I kept getting strep, tonsillitis, and tonsil stones ALL. the. time. Another thing is you might lose weight during this recovery. I’m 19, 5.5, was 126, now I’m back at 115. Of corse eat as much as possible, but the number one thing is to stay hydrated. Hope this was helpful, and comforts some people that might be having a similar experience.