Adult Tonsillectomy: Is Getting Your Tonsils Out As Bad As They Say It Is?

What ever happened to the days when children got their tonsils out regularly?

I mean, seriously, what is the opposition?! Do I sound like a bitter adult who got their tonsils out at 29-years-old instead of 5? Because I am. Don't get me wrong, I had wonderful parents who took me to the doctor. I just had a doctor who adopted the notion that tonsils serve a purpose or whatever. They do, by the way...serve a purpose. But that's not the point!

Here's my story...

I've always had huge tonsils, but like I said...tonsils serve a purpose. Well my allergies are pretty bad, so last year I went to see an allergist. We did that allergy testing where they poke you with a needle and turns out I'm just allergic to every form of life. Grass, trees, cats, dogs, etc. It was torture because you're not allowed to take your allergy medicine for a few days before the test and you're also not allowed to scratch for 15 minutes after they poke you with a million things you're allergic to.

My doctor and I went over the results and put together an action plan. I was prescribed some pills, some nasal spray, some allergy shots, and some steroids to see if it would bring down the size of my tonsils. His concern was that they were large because I didn't manage my allergies well. Oh...did I leave out the part where I was snoring like a 300 lb. man?

After the steroids, my tonsils were still the same size, so my doctor had me do a sleep study to see if they were the reason I didn't sleep well (a.k.a. snored). The results came back and I was diagnosed with severe sleep apnea. I stopped breathing 34 times an hour and had alarmingly low oxygen levels at night. By the way, I had to take a sleep apnea class before I did the sleep study and it was full of 300 lb. men.

Two weeks later I went in for a tonsillectomy/adenoidectomy and it was SO MUCH WORSE than anybody can ever tell you. Oh my God, it was HORRIBLE! As with any surgery, coming off of anesthesia is awful. Then you can't talk, the back of your mouth is white and gives you bad breath for WEEKS after the operation because they burn your skin back together instead of doing stitches.

The prescription pain pills make you constipated and nauseous, which is the last thing you want to feel after your mouth has been operated on. I was so sick. Vomiting kind of sick because of the pain pills. Also, apparently I was just horrible when I was taking those drugs. Side note: try calling your doctor on the phone to tell them you're vomiting when you're know, vomiting. And you don't have a voice. And you're high on pain pills. Why didn't my mom or boyfriend call the doctor for me, you ask? They did. But there's that whole HIPAA thing...

My loved ones tried to force feed me soup and broth. Eight months later and I still haven't had soup because the thought makes me sick. I have tonsil PTSD. Which reminds me of the phantom pains. I promise you that your tonsils still hurt when they're out. You are not exempt from sore throats and you are not exempt from strep.

All in, I was out of work for about two weeks, but not completely pain-free for at least a month.

Okay, okay, it was torture and it was awful. And I feel like I'm far enough out to be objective and compare the experience to the results. It did cure my sleep apnea. It also cured my snoring, unless I drink too much wine. Which I usually do...

I'd like to say I sleep better, and I really did for a few weeks. But those were the weeks that I was taking extra strength Tylenol four times a day. I'd also like to note that extra strength Tylenol is wonderful and I never should have been taking narcotics. I honestly don't know how people get addicted to opioids, they're horrible.

I do breathe better. Running feels good and I can actually breathe with my mouth closed. Who knew that was possible?! Also, my allergies aren't nearly as bad as they were pre-tonsillectomy.

After everything you might be wondering if it was worth it. And my answer is ABSOLUTELY NOT. Call me unreasonable, but I promise you I'd rather die a premature death because of my sleep apnea than go through that again. It was hell. It was horrible. And I really miss enjoying soup and living in a world where I thought pain pills had magical properties instead of making you pukey and constipated...and didn't kill any pain. My sleep apnea wasn't hurting anyone. I didn't even know I had it! And my outrageous snoring didn't bother me one bit! I slept a perfectly wonderful, oxygen-deprived sleep.

PEOPLE NEED TO KNOW THIS INFORMATION before they agree to let their mouths be sliced and diced. Maybe it's too soon to be asking me if it was worth it. Try me again in another 8 months...


  1. Allergic to every form of life, that sucks! I have awful issues with my tonsils but my doctor has always been against taking them out, so here I am years later still with tonsil issues.

    Ffi | The Essence Of Red

    1. Don't ever get them taken out! It's so horrible!