Having Tonsils Removed As An Adult


Well, I had my tonsils removed last Thursday because I had had a swollen tonsil for over a month and the doctor said they would have to come out. So I agreed and set up the appointment. I really wasn’t worried about it leading up to the operation. I knew that it was going to be out-patient and had heard everyone say ‘It’s harder on adults’. But I didn’t want to get all freaked out. I was resigned to have to eat ice cream and popsicles for a few days until my throat was ready for rougher foods. Little did I know. (By the way, just for reference, I’m a 38 yr old white male.)

Day 1

After arriving at the hospital and being prepped (prepped involved getting the little gown on, putting the IV in my hand and giving me anti-nausea meds) they wheeled me into surgery. I remember the two techs putting the medicine in my IV and the mask on my face. After that I remember waking up in the recovery room about 30 minutes later. My throat was sore and I felt a little nauceous. The nurse was very attentive and got me my MP3 player and some ice water and an ice pack for my throat.

When they were sure that I was OK and wasn’t going to throw up they sent me home. The rest of the day I spent mostly sleeping and taking my hydrocodone pain medicine. If I tried to get up I felt nauceous so I mostly stayed in bed. But I was up every hour on the hour through the night. I couldn’t get comfortable.

Day 2

Day two was better. My throat was in pain but I was able to get up and get around. I even did some chores around the house. I wasn’t able to eat, though. Sherbert ice cream and kool-aid were my friends (other than my hydrocodone). I took a flashlight and looked in the back of my mouth and saw the ‘scabs’. It was gross. There was a yellowish-white layer of muck that was covering the sides of my throat and my uvula. And my uvula was swollen.

Days 3-6

These were definately the worst days so far. By day five I had lost about 10 pounds. My throat would hurt a lot if I overslept and missed my medication by half an hour or an hour. The yellowish-white ‘scabs’ seemed to be growing in my throat and on my still swollen uvula. I tried eating chicken noodle soup, ramen noodles and mini raviolis. All didn’t take well. So I stuck with the applesauce and ice cream. Oh, another fun thing that popped up in this time period, my jaw tightened up and hurt a lot. I couldn’t open my mouth very wide.

One thing that I thought of was that, after my surgery it was like a switch flipped in my head and told me ‘You won’t be eating very much for a while’. So I really didn’t feel hunger pains that much. Occasionally, yes but I was surprised how little I felt hungry as opposed to before the operation. Oh, and something else: Hiccups don’t help your throat much. Ouch!

Day 7

Scabs started coming off in little bits. Mostly it would come out inlittle bits in my spit. (gross, I know but it’s the truth) I don’t know how much went down my throat but my throat and uvula were looking clearer. I’ve lost about 12 pounds by now. Still can’t eat anything solid. Still need my pain medicine (running low, though. No more refills left). Jaw is still stiff and hurts. Hoping tomorrow is better.

Day 8

Tryed to ween myself off of the pain medicine. It worked until I tried to eat some pasta for dinner. Plus, I was down to my last bottle and I wanted to make it last if I had to. I could feel the scabs starting to come off. Still not eating too much. Going to try not to take my pain medicine tonight.


Well, I was able to go off of my pain medicine after Day 9. Now it is a few days until my three week checkup. I’m finally able to gulp liquids instead of taking one sip and having to swallow it then take another. I’m able to eat chips and such. I chew a little extra for now just to make sure that it is broken up small. A couple complaints that I have is that my jaw is still sore on one side when I try to open it wide. Yawning is tough because it hurts when I stretch my throat muscles. Still can’t eat foods that are big because I can’t open my mouth very wide. But each day it gets better so I’m sure it will be fine soon.

Also, foods still taste a little strange. I hope that’s going to go away soon. I’ll be very upset if stuff tastes different. Oh, and some squishy food seems to get caught in the back of my throat until I wash it down with a drink or swallow a lot. I hope this helps anyone who is going to go through this process as an adult. It’s definately tough. I’ve gained back several pounds I’m sure from the twelve that I lost. Another good thing is that I never bled or threw up. I hear that is horrible.  Best of luck to you and share your stories with me if you can!

13 thoughts on “Having Tonsils Removed As An Adult

  • Oh boy did you hit the nail right on the head. I am finishing up day 6 right now. I feel like someone is stabbing my in the ears with screwdrivers. I have had a considerable amount of swelling and the Dr’s gave me more pain meds. I have been liviwng off of water with honey and also drinking gatorade. Anything thicker than water I gag on. I am glad to know that I am not the only one ha ha ha. Oh by the way I am a 28 yr old female who has 2 kids. Would gladly go through child birth again!

  • I am 37 years old and waiting for a date for surgery. Thank you so much for writing this blog as it seems to be so truthful, and there is nothing like the truth! But I am sure I could handle child-birth easier than what I am in for. Update to follow …….

  • So glad to find this site, your experience is the closest I’ve found to mine on the Internet. I’ve just had my right tonsil removed to be sent off for a histology report and I’m on day 5 of my recovery. I had no idea what to expect but everything you said has been exactly the same for me. My jaw hurts to open it, I can’t stand eating anything cold or hot, it all has to be perfect room temperature! Looking forward to getting through this awful bit, and a bit nervous about finding results of the test. How did you get on getting your taste back? I’m really missing the taste of chocolate! And I’m guessing you got the all clear with your enlarged tonsil? Thanks for writing this – it’s s scary thing to go through and good to read about someone who didn’t have a shocking post-operative experience! Susie.

    • Hi Susie,
      So sorry you’re going through this. Just know that it will be better. I did get my taste back after a little while. Not quite sure how long it took as it was 6 years ago now. Just hang tough. Best of luck!

  • Stefanie Svensson

    July 31, 2015 at 7:21 pm Reply

    I am getting ready to schedule an appt I have tonsil stones that drive me crazy
    My doctor said surgery on thurs back at work Monday
    Now I am wondering if that is true I do a lot of talking on my job now I nervous but need to do it

  • Had my tonsils removed a little more than a week ago and after reading different comments from people, I was worried it was going to be a horrible experience. Here to say it was not as bad as I expected. Yes it was one of the worst sore throats I have had but it was not to the point I could not handle it. I guess there were more negative reports than good ones because it is common for us to voice our opinion when it is negative (complaints about service, etc.). I followed the doctor’s orders and took it easy, no hot foods or sharp foods, and took the pain medications as directed (waiting for the fourth hour to come around at first but after a couple of days able to make it past four hours before looking for it). Sonic ice and slushes were the best thing to have around. I am not a big Coke drinker but they seemed to help my throat heal some too. The main things are rest, keep hydrated, and keep a good attitude and you will make it through.

    • Hi Paul. Thanks for your comment. The experience is definitely different for most people. But I think age has something to do with it. I don’t know how old you are but the older you get the harder it is on you. People in their teens and early 20s have an easier time of it than people over 30 generally. Glad you are recovering well. Best of luck to you! 🙂

  • Just due to have mine out for the second time. I hsd them out twenty teo years sgo st the sge of 31 but the right side has regrown. The first time I had them our I had hypnotherapy before and was up snacking on crisps the night after the op. Not having hypnotherapy this time do hoping I will be enjoying food sgain by Chtistmas .

  • Thank you for this and all the comments! I’m 35 years old and dealing with my second round of strep throat in 6 months… this time it almost sent me to the ER. Fever for 3 days. CT scan to confirm there weren’t abscesses because there was so much infection. I ready for these suckers to go!! But I’m glad I stumbled across your expierence so I can better prepare myself for mine! I will schedule more time off work. I also have a very active toddler and will schedule back up care for him as well. Thank you all for sharing!

  • Well I’m having mine out in 2 days due to my nasty bad breath and tonsil Stones, chewing gum all the time is ruining my teeth according to my dentist so they gotta come out!

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