Can You Get Tonsillitis with No Tonsils?

Tonsils, located at the back of your throat, are two masses of tissues that act as filters for trapping germs. They prevent germs from entering the airways and causing infection. They also produce antibodies to fight infections. Sometimes, however, the tonsils can get infected when they get overwhelmed by viruses or bacteria. When this happens, they become inflamed and swollen, leading to a condition called tonsillitis. Many people have had their tonsils removed and often wonder whether they can get tonsillitis without tonsils.

Can You Get Tonsillitis Without Tonsils?

There are people who get their tonsils removed after a serious infection. They often wonder if they can still get tonsillitis. The simple answer is NO! If you do not have tonsils, it is not possible to contract tonsillitis. Nevertheless, you will experience the tonsillitis symptoms as the infection affects the area where the actual tonsils should be.

If It's Not Tonsillitis, What Cause the Typical Tonsillitis Symptoms?

Symptoms of tonsillitis without tonsils include coughing, ear pain, headache, bad breath and loss of appetite, etc. with sore throat as its typical symptom. It is worth noting that sore throat could also be an indication of other conditions apart from tonsillitis without tonsils. The following are some of them.

1. Viral Infection

Sore throat can be caused by viral infections such as flu, common cold, mononucleosis, chickenpox, croup and measles. See a doctor to determine the cause and begin treatment accordingly.

2. Bacterial Infection

Other than tonsillitis without tonsils, sore throat can also be caused by bacteria. These bacterial infections include strep throat, whooping cough and diphtheria.

  • Strep throat – it is caused by streptococcus pyogenes, a bacterium. It is also referred to as group A streptococcus. 
  • Whooping cough – this is a highly contagious infection of the respiratory tract.
  • Diphtheria – this is a respiratory infection which is very rare. It is, however, prevalent in some developing countries. 

They can be treated with antibiotics with the direction of your doctor.

3. Allergies

If you are allergic to pet dander, dust, molds and pollen, you can develop sore throat. It can become worse by postnatal drip which can inflame and irritate the throat. Take measures to prevent exposure to substances you might be allergic to.

4. Irritants

Irritants in the air and other chemicals can cause throat irritation. This includes tobacco smoke, chemicals, alcoholic beverages and spicy foods. Avoid any irritants that you react to prevent recurrence of the sore throat. 

5. Dryness

During winter, when buildings are heated, your throat can feel a bit scratchy and rough, especially early in the morning when you wake up. Dryness can also be caused by breathing through your mouth. This should disappear after you wake up and have a drink.

6. Muscle Strain

Like all other muscles, you can strain the muscles in your throat. This can happen when you yell or talk for a long time in a noisy place where you have to raise your voice. This can cause sore throat and hoarseness.  


This is a disorder of the digestive system where stomach acid and other stomach content back up in the food pipe. Other symptoms except for sore throat include hoarseness, heartburn, regurgitation and a lump in your throat.

8. HIV Infection

Sore throat is among the very first symptoms of HIV. The infection keeps recurring due to secondary infections such as oral thrush and a serious viral infection known as cytomegalovirus infection. You should begin to treat HIV to boost your immunity in order to avoid opportunistic infections that cause sore throat.

9. Tumors

Cancerous tumors in the throat, voice box or tongue can also cause sore throat. Other signs and symptoms include difficulty swallowing, lump in the neck, phlegm, blood in saliva and noisy breathing.

When Should You See a Doctor?

If the sore throat does not go away after taking the first drink in the morning, it is time to see a doctor. This is especially so if it happens to a child. If your child exhibits the following signs, get immediate help:

  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Unusual drooling which could be an indicator of difficulty swallowing
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