Large Tonsils

Updated on November 29, 2010
K.M. asks from Paynesville, MN
11 answers

My 4 year old daughter has very large tonsils to the point were they are almost touching. It is affecting her speech and she snore's very loud at night. I have been bringing her to the Doctor for the last year and he keeps telling us they will go down. We want them out but he keeps telling us NO ENT Dr. will take them out. I don't know what to do anymore any suggestions?

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answers from Denver on

Keep looking for a doctor willing.

The thought about tonsils these days is they won't take them out because they help with immunities. I've got the same issue with my daughter (15) and no one will take them out and I live in a major metropolitan area.

Good luck.

More Answers



answers from Charleston on

Get your daughter to an ENT or another pediatrician for a second opinion asap! Your story sounds just like my daughter when she was 4, and when her ENT came out of surgery, he told me and my husband her tonsils were the largest he'd ever seen and the "debris" (food, phlegm, etc...)on them was probably what was keeping her sick! (She had reoccurring episodes of strep throat over a 4 month period.) She was over the surgery in less than 3 days, and we haven't regretted it one bit. She's only had strep once since then and she's 7 1/2 now. She no longer snores and told us a week after surgery how much easier it was to chew her food. My son's are on the verge of being too big now, and we're contemplating the surgery after the holidays. Trust your instincts and get another opinion. Good luck!


answers from Norfolk on

Your Dr's advice is complete nonsense. Get another Dr or take her to an ENT yourself. If the first one you see is also an idiot, find another. My son was almost 4 when his tonsils swelled up till they were almost touching. He was not sick. He wasn't running a temperature. He had no ear infections, but they were interfering with his swallowing and his sleeping. I took him to my ENT and we tried to shrink them with a steroid series. It worked while he was on them for 2 weeks, but as soon as he finished they ballooned right back up again. The ENT said some kids are just prone to very large tonsils (mine were large - I had mine out at 5 yrs old and I can remember I could almost chew on them they were so large). As soon as he turned 4, the ENT took the tonsils and adenoids out. He didn't even have to stay at the hospital overnight. He healed up quickly and he had no more trouble sleeping or snoring or swallowing. We are so glad we had them out.
PS: Tonsils helping with your immunity is nonsense if they are choking you to death.



answers from Davenport on

K., my suggestion would be to call your insurance company to find out if you have to have a refferal to go to the ENT. We have 4 children and 3 have had tonsilectomies and adnoidectomies and one had an adnoidectomy at 13 months old. All snored and had huge tonsils and our Family practice MD felt for our kids to get a healthy night sleep they needed them out and our ENT agreed. If your little one is waking in the middle of the night and has speech problems there is definately a need. Keep track of your daughters sleep patterns and listen to make sure she does not have apnea. After you keep track that will help the Drs. make a more educated decision. Good luck.



answers from Madison on

My daughter had a lot of ear infections and went through 3 sets of ear tubes when she was little, as well as adenoid surgery. We were given the option of having her tonsils taken out when she was three (along with ear tube and adenoid surgery), but we opted out at that time, since she didn't seem to be having any issues with them. How little we knew at the time...

Fast forward to when she was 7 years old and we went in to have her tonsils out (the reason was that she was having system-wide strep infections and severe strep/tonsil infections). The Pediatric ENT who performed the surgery (her ENT doctor was gone that day) came out of the surgery looking like he'd seen a ghost, he was so white. Not only were her tonsils overly large--they went way back into her throat, instead of hanging down, where you could see them--but when pathology/the lab opened them up to check them, there were COMPLETELY full of strep infection. And she had just had a lab test done before the surgery that came back stating she was free from strep!!

My point is, if your health insurance allows you to see a doctor or a specialist without prior approval from your doctor (many do), I'd make an appt with a Pediatric ENT and take my daughter there ASAP. If you have to have a referral, then I'd look for a new Pediatrician who will listen to you and give you the referral you need to take your daughter to a Pediatric ENT. If it's making her snore and affecting her sleep (it could be large adenoids as well), then by all means, please get her in so you can get her the help she needs.

BTW, now my daughter is almost 11 years old and hasn't had a cold or the flu or any other type of an infection in four years. The surgery was the best thing we've ever done.



answers from Atlanta on

Hi K.,

Doctors are shying away from removing tonsils because they have determined they really DO have a purpose. Tonsils, large or small, work as a filter to protect the heart from bacteria. I personally think that no body part should be removed unless it is life threatening (e.g. an appendix that is about to burst). People with no tonsils are more susceptible to heart related issues much earlier in life. I wish I still had mine!

My two cents! God bless.




answers from San Diego on

I'm curious how they are affecting her speech? My tonsils were so large that they did touch. I snored very loudly, but I never had apnea. I opted to have them out my junior year in high school, as a favor to future college roommates. :) Otherwise, I had no health problems because of them. In fact, I probably was and still am the healthiest one of my family.



answers from Dallas on

Do not take no for an answer. Do whatever it takes to do what your gut says is best for your child. I grew up with enlarged tonsils, and my daughter had them too. Neither of us got any rest or relief until they were gone. I was sixteen and she was 8. The surgery amd recovery was muuch easier on her.



answers from Minneapolis on

See another doctor for a second opinion. My oldest (9) had huge tonsils and snored and also has asthma. His speech is also somewhat slurred/muffled. My doctor said that unless he had apnea when he was not sick, there wasn't any real need to get his tonsils out. His were also about 1/8 inch from the uvula as well and when he would see a different doctor, he/she would ask if they were usually that large. Well, this last year, he got Strep four times and an ear infection between March and October. I finally asked my dr to get me a referral to an ENT and we scheduled their removal for the following week. He hasn't snored once or stopped breathing while sleeping at all since they were removed. The Dr also looked at his adenoids while he was removing the tonsils and took them out as well. He said " the really huge tonsils are out and the even larger adenoids are out, too. My nurse asked if that was an adenoid or a third tonsil!"

I don't know what your insurance situation is, but if you can swing it, I HIGHLY recommend Dr. Dennison. He works out of Stillwater and Woodbury. It's an in-office surgery, you're there for about 3-4 hours -- most of that is all post-op. If you have any questions, just let me know.

Good luck!



answers from Omaha on

Take your daughter to an ENT yourself Not all doctors are created equal and they often disagree. If you need referral then tell your dr. you want a 2nd opinion from an ENT and ask him to suggest one, if he won't do that, then switch dr.s.



answers from Madison on

My son had a terrible cold last fall and all of a sudden he snored very loudly. During that cold at night it seemed that his breath was paused a couple of times for longer than it should have been (apnea). We didn't hear that again, and he snoring decreased slowly over months. There was stuffiness at night too. I mentioned this at his wellness checkup and did get a referral for an ENT. He said the tonsils were large (4, not nearly touching though) and he advised to take them out, and the adenoids too if also enlarged. He would have scheduled if I had said go ahead. So it is very possible that an ENT will take them out with no problem. I'm more conservative, and I said I wanted to wait until after the summer and see if the tonsils would decrease by themselves. I made sure I gave my son sudafed at any sign of a cold. This fall his snoring stopped. Maybe the effects of that cold finally went away, or maybe he grew so there was more space in his throat. You should definitely see an ENT, and get an opinion and ask questions. Apnea and stunting of growth are 2 good reasons for this surgery.