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I thought that I would share my tonsillectomy recovery experience since I learned a lot of great information on this board before my surgery.

I had my tonsils removed yesterday at about 3:30pm. It is about 22 hours later and things are going alright. The night was rough in that I couldn't sleep. I am taking pain killers every 3 hours - along with tylenol, antibiotics, nausea pills. I have been pretty cold and shaky as well - and had some "crazy funny" dreams!

Anyway, I have been drinking gatorade and ice water pretty much non-stop. I have iced my neck - all sides - about 30 minutes on/30 off. I have been eating otter pops and had some cream of wheat and mac & cheese today. The slushy ice has been wonderful since my throat is on fire.

Has anyone had the experience of not being able to sleep? I feel tired but just can't seem to settle down. I did try elevating my head as well. I also find that I'm pretty dizzy - is that common as well?

I know i have heard that it might get worse before getting better. I am hoping for better and no worse but will try to update my thread. I will also mention that I have really sensitive hearing today. Not so much pain - just sensitive.


Well, it is just the start of Day 3 of my tonsillectomy recovery. I was able to have some mac and cheese last night, Ensure and SlimFast. I was up a lot again throughout the night. For some reason, I can't sleep even though I thought the medicine would knock me out. It has quite the opposite impact on me. I am still taking pain killers every 3 hours and tylenol every 4. I have continued my ice on my neck as well. My tongue is quite sore today and my teeth.

So, at this point, the things that have really helped me:

1) Continue ice all around the outside of my neck (30 minutes on/30 off). I use the hot/cold packs that are bendable and can take shape around your neck. I keep it on with a ace bandaid

2) Constantly drinking ice cold beverages - water or gatorade has worked for me. Lots and Lots and Lots of ice

3) Keeping a cool mist humidifier in my room - especially at night

4) Staying on top of my medicine - I have the times I take things written out and don't miss a dose (hard to keep straight when you are taking so much)

5) Eating - broth, Ensure, SlimFast, mac and cheese - even a hot dog cut very very tiny. When I eat, I have to follow almost every bite with a drink. I also find that eating an otter pop or popsicle before I eat helps to numb my throat.

6) Not doing a lot...resting and sleeping - with an elevated head - when I can. Also, not talking a lot. When I have attempted to push it, I pay for it later. With the sleeping, I probably don't sleep for more then an hour right now - so that I can be drinking as much as possible.

I will mention that I keep getting the hiccups and burping. I wasn't expecting this and it does hurt but not miserable.

Hope this helps and if there are questions...feel free to post a reply. If you are recovering - I wish you positive thoughts.


I am 25 and I had my tonsils and adenoids removed on 2/20/09. I have to say I've had sore throats much worse than the recovery has been. I've heard tons of horror stories about how much pain I would be in...but this is really not bad!!
I noticed this is one of the only forums where someone is not talking about how much pain and suffering they are going through. Did you have the same procedure where they burn everything to stop the bleeding? If so, I wonder if that causes less pain for a better recovery? hmm?
A lot of the other messages I've read they don't do the "burning" technique b/c it costs so much more to use that tool instead of just stitches. Just my thoughts.....


I just had my tonsils removed today at 330. I cannot sleep either. And funny thing I don't know why I keep burping either. I wish the pain level would just pause right here.


I'm 19 and I had my tonsils taken out on Tuesday at 6:30am (9/8/09) so it's been 4 days post-op including day of surgery. I don't know about the horror stories and everything else I've read about. The only pain I've had is when I try talking or swallowing. The past 2 days I've had a full night of sleep (about 7 hours each, waking up maybe once or twice). I use an ice collar every now and then, take liquid Augmentin and liquid Tylenol w/codeine for painkilling, which I take once a day right before I go to bed which helps me sleep a little. My diet has consisted of jello, ice pops, water, v8 juice (with no acidic vegetables/fruits), mac&cheese, mashed potatoes. My voice has even come back a little and i can mumble a few words here and there.


I am a 38 yr old female & I just had my tonsils removed on 10/22/09. This is officially day 7 & I must say..this has been the most painful thing I have ever went thru. The worst days have been day 3..yesterday & today. I assume that by now, the scabs are healing & coming off thus the pain. The pain in so intense in my ears that the only way I can describe the pain picks in the ears. My throat feels like there are knives stabbing constantly. Each time I swallow, I tense my whole body. I have been living on popsicles, jello, sherbert, some pudding, cream of wheat & recently scrambled eggs..they were awesome!! Drinking water ALL the time is a must as you dry out so quick in these cooler months. I am taking vicodin every 4 hours for pain & that seems to control it for 2 hours then I feeel it coming like a wave that just overtakes my ears, throat & teeth. I would say whatever horror stories you read or hear...take them seriously. My daughter had it done at 7 & I don't remember it being as painful for her. I did keep the meds going for her round the clock though. My Doctor told me that my daughter would wake up on the 11th day feeling fine & she did!! He did say that it doesn't get better each day & that is true for me...always constant with days being worse. I am hoping that I wake up on the 11th totally fine:) It also amazes me the rest you need. Each time I get up to go up stairs & shower or do something...I am exhausted. I am sure it has to do with th fact that I am not sleeping much at all. The reason I had mine removed is , I have had years of strep, chronic tonsilitis & tonsil stones (GROSS). I know that the right decision was made. Would I do it again? Yes. But just remember the pain is very high..I would it at a 9-10 most of the time.


I'm 49 and had my right tonsil removed on monday as it was very enlarged-the size of a hens egg according to my surgeon!! At the same time I had a polyp removed from my tongue. I have been in varying states of pain from 2/10 up to 8/10 where It seems to be most of the time now
(5 days post op). The pain has been at times excruciating and I have been worried about exceeding the recommended doses on my medications (co-codamol 30/500 and ibuprofen). Haven't managed much solid food-living on mostly soup and oatmeal. Definitely a major deal in older people. Anxious wait for the histology results due next week.


Hi there.

I am 20 and had my tonsills taken out two weeks ago today and Im absolutly fine.

When i woke up, yeh it was painfull but, you dont expect anything less. I still ate a full roast meal, granted it took a while to get it down.
To be honest, I have eaten more these past two weeks than normal. The doctors say to eat good solid foods. The first day I didnt because I was still spitting abit o blood so didnt wana make itworse but then, (with a bit of difficulty) I was eating normal daily meals with lots of saltn vinigar crisps as that helps the scabs at the back of your throat go away quiker.

The mornings are the worst but then you have a pain killer and you get on with it. I was just on two types of pain killers, volteral and normal paracetamol. The worst bit is the scabs, it feels like you have just aload of gunk at the back of your throat that you cant get rid of.

The usual two weeks off work and university is what the doctors said but I felt ok ish so went to uni on day 5 of recovery and even did one of my gigs on the 7th day and went out in the evening. It's really not as bad as people make out. If your having them taken out, ur obviously used to having a sore throat anyway.


I'm 25 too and just got mine removed 1/5/10. I also have to boast the fact that recovery has been super for me. As far the pain, I've had strep throat that hurt worse than this. My peritonsillar abscess DEFINITELY hurt more than this. I took the painkiller at night the first 3 days only because i was afraid of how i'd wake up in the morning. those three nights were interesting. I went to sleep at 1, woke up at 2 (usually feeling pretty drugged up but hilarious), then at 5am. each and every night for 3 nights. i would just get up then get something to hydrate my throat. I have taken painkiller more regularly the past 2 days because of the sharp pain in my ear and gums/ teeth today. but i've taken half the dose and it works wonders without making me all high!

So overall, I'm at day 5 and things are well so far. I'm only worried about bleeding, so keeping things to a minimal so that i can prevent it.

Also going to the bathroom is a mystery to me.......It's been 6 days since the last time and my digestive system is just idle....i feel all bloated and huge!!!

anyone know anything about this?? i'm starting drinking teas to help me. nothing yet thought. don't want to take laxatives yet.


I am glad to see some positive posts as most of what I read has been horror stories. I too have had a great recovery so far. I am on day 11 and feeling good. Day 1-6 were Ok, painful as expected, but only about a 3-4 on a 1-10 scale. I was still able to enjoy visiting with my family and even go out to dinner (although wasn't eating much!) Day 7-8 were worse (didn't really expect that so it kind of threw me off) I had intense ear and jaw pain, but still nothing that was worse than some of the worse sore throats I had. Day 9-11 have been just mild throat pain and no pain medications.

A couple of things for those of you considering surgery...Drink Drink Drink!! Even though it is going to hurt, in the long run if you can stay hydrated it will make the whole recovery easier. Also, take pain meds as frequently as you can, even over night. I know it is a pain to wake up every 3-4 hours, but I think it is worth it to keep the pain under control. Also, I found a humidifier was helpful at night time to keep me from getting too dry. I also found that milk products were not the best, they made me really phlemy, which was almost more annoying than the pain!!

As for trouble going to the bathroom, from what I have heard this is not uncommon due to the combination of pain meds and not eating much. Not to be too person, but I didn't have a BM for almost a full week. It was not anything that made me uncomfortable and once I stopped taking pain meds things went back to normal. My doctor did suggest a mild laxative if I was having trouble.

I do wonder if any one has experienced any post op depression. I feel pretty good and am very happy with how easy my recover has been, but for the past two days I cannot stop crying for no reason. I have read that post op surgery is fairly common but it seems odd in my case due to such a good recovery and actually enjoying my week off of work! So, I am just wondering if anyone else has had similar depression symptoms after there surgery.

Best of luck to everyone still recovering and those that are planning or thinking about having the surgery!!


Male- Age 25
This is day 5 for me and this has been a walk in the park compared to some of the stories ive heard. I eat, drink, sleep just fine. What i have noticed is that people state that they cant eat or drink because of the pain and 5 days later they are wondering what went wrong and why the pain is worse. You need to consume some sort of nutrients and stay very hydrated, that is how you heal. I drink over 3 liters of water a day and try to eat as much soft food as i can. 1st day (surgery day) i ate applesauce and jello and a lot of ensure. Day 2 i did all of that plus introduced scrambled eggs and now at day 5 im up to mac and cheese and small pieces of hot dog as well as the other things. Yes its uncomfortable, but that was expected. My uvula was huge and it was still nowhere near the amount of pain as bad strep. I use the pain meds as directed and was prescribed a steroid to help my swollen uvula and things have been fine and the size of my uvula has significantly decreased since day one. I hear the worse has yet to come because scabbing issues are up next but if im sure it wont be too bad. The only thing i question is the amount im allowed to talk. I sound hearing impaired but it seems to warm up and eventually i talk and it doesnt irritate me. Im wondering if talking will bite me in the ass later.

If anyone is reading all these and second guessing if they should have the surgery- dont. Your recovery depends on you. If you were like me and got tonsillitis 3-4 times a year and got other sickness' almost every other month, seriously even if your in pain for a month- in the end itll be worth it. Tonsillectomies are supposed to make a world of difference. Remember- start drinking water the moment your allowed and never stop. It could make or break your recovery.


Hi - I am F/37 and on day 12 Post Op. Physically today has been the best so far. I had an awful recovery, extremely painful, despite drinking gallons and gallons of water and ice. I couldnot eat for about 5 days the pian was just too much to bare, but eating helped once I could tolerate it. However, mainly I am responding to the post a couple of months gao about depression...because I am now experiencing this too. I have gotten very emotional about all sorts of things, have gotten myself worked up and feeling overwhelmed, and I am feeling pretty glum about life in general, despite feeling much better physically. WHat gives?? How long will this last...anybody know??


Hey everyone,

I'm a 27 year old male, and just had tonsil surgery on Friday June 4th, it is now Sunday June 6th. I was having tonsil stones for as long as I can remember. All is well so far! I shared these ideas in another forum (and yes I realize things can often take a turn for the worse after the first few days.. but here you go nonetheless)

What I have a hard time understanding when I read other people's posts is that they think eating c**p like jello, hot dogs, and macaroni and cheese is going to promote healing in their body. At this point your body is absolutely DESPERATE for nutrients to help you heal, and you're only making the battle more difficult by giving it foods that have absolutely ZERO nutritional value. I don't mean to sound preachy about food, but do yourself a favor and make things as easy as possible on your body by eating real, whole foods that are most easily absorbed. Chugging back gatorade when you're mostly just laying around doesn't make any sense. Way too much salt and glucose/fructose. This will slow down your healing.

While I'm definitely still quite early on in my recovery (It's 7am on Sunday morning and I had my surgery at 7am on Friday morning), I wanted to share some experiences of what I've found to be the most helpful so far. I have been reading a lot of these forums in the weeks leading up to my tonsillectomy, so naturally I was quite apprehensive, since people tend to have more motivation to post negative/painful experiences.

My primary focus has been to not only eat things that feel good (super cold, etc) but to constantly ask myself if the foods or liquids i'm consuming promote healing. I own a juicer and have been juicing a combination of spinach/celery/cucumber/apples, and then putting into a blender with ice, and adding hemp protein powder. Not only does it feel amazing, but it gives me nutrients that I otherwise wouldn't be able to consume (celery after a tonsillectomy? yikes). One tip would be that if you're not familiar with juicing, to buy one a week in advance so that your stomach can get used to the dense nutrients. Some people report slight nausea when they first start juicing, and the last thing you want to do after a tonsillectomy is induce nausea.

I've been eating a lot of popsicles. They're non-dairy and low in sugar. I got a Jugo Juice smoothie immediately post surgery that had yogourt in it. BIG NO. So much phlegm. Clearing your throat, or even spitting and swallowing are really difficult, so if dairy gives you this type of reaction, there are SO many other options.

For soup, I've been cooking quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) in a rice cooker (great rice alternative, way higher in protein) and mixing it with low sodium organic chicken broth. Once that started to get a little boring, I've been adding humous to that for flavour and protein. Last night, I even went to a local restaurant and had some chicken Pho.

Water, water, water!! My doctor gave great advice regarding this - She said that even if it's painful, the motion of swallowing will actually speed up healing. This may be the painkillers talking, but if you're really having a heck of a time swallowing in the beginning, come up with something that you say to yourself in your head that helps you stay focused. For me i would just think the words "I'm in control, I'm in control, I'm in control" as I was swallowing the liquid - it took away the fear of choking, and gave me something else to focus on.

Get a humidifier. I've found that my mornings have not been too terrible. They're definitely the worst part of the day so far, but if you have a humidifier beside your bed, and a glass of water with pain meds nearby, you're good to go.

I hope that this helps anyone having a rough time with surgery so far. Don't be afraid to reach out to friends to borrow some of these different appliances - I didn't even own a blender or a humidifier, but was lucky to have some friends that did. I already owned a juicer, but I would definitely ask friends if you can borrow theirs! A lot of people buy them with the intention of using them every day, but then they end up collecting dust in their pantry. On the topic of juicing, avoid citrus, and stick to veggies if you can. I predict it'll knock several days off of recovery!

I'll post again as the days progress. Best of luck to everyone.


I'm 20 and had my tonsils out 9 days ago now. I had chronic tonsillitis due to my deviated septum and mouth breathing. The first thing the DR told me post-surgery was "they were terrible tonsils, very scarred, stuck to the walls. I had a tough time getting them out!" This was a doctor with 30+ years experience. I'm not kidding when I say I had tonsillitis every, single day for over a year.

Firstly - wow, I wasn't expecting this kind of pain. But ignore the horror stories - because if I had read them before my surgery I would never have gone through with it. I'm a big chicken. Everybody's experience is different... but here's mine.

Day 1 and 2 were deceptively good for me. Only an hour or so post-surgery I was eating a sandwich. My DR told me to eat as normal from Day 1; the rougher, firm foods clean the throat by pushing down the gunk that would otherwise accumulate. It speeds recovery. So does chewing gum post-surgery, "physiotherapy for the mouth". Drinking ice water is also vital. It doesn't matter if you're peeing every 3 minutes (I also had a drip in me so that didn't help!). The more you drink the better you feel. That's probably why sleeping is a pain - when you wake up your throat is so dry the pain just knocks you out. The only way to overcome this is to sleep in intervals, (at night I always woke after 2-3 hours anyway), and drink as soon as you're up.

Day 3 and 4 were slightly more painful. I constantly forced myself to eat, no matter how much it hurt. I just took a deep breath before I swallowed my food. Sometimes you have to force yourself even if it hurts. If you want to get better ASAP this is what you'd do. Day 5 was, by far, the worst day ever. 9/10 in terms of pain. I was also frustrated - after 5 days it SHOULD be getting better, right?! Wrong. I think this is about when the stitches would be dissolving but I could be wrong. My tongue absolutely killed from day 1-7, I could hardly move it, and I think that's from the tongue depressor. The pain got gradually better after Day 5. I'm on Day 9 and it's the first day I've been without painkillers. It's sore when I swallow, but tolerable.

As for pain medicine, I was prescribed a child's medicine called "Painstop" which is just paracetamol plus codeine. I'd take 25mL. I wouldn't really recommend it though because it virtually stops your intestines from working properly - the codeine makes you constipated. I'd take this at night before bed, and two nurofen (ibuprofen) in the morning after breakfast. The nurofen was magic - it helped so much. It says on the pack not to take it for more than 3 days continuously, (whoops), and that's why I stopped it as soon as I could. But in terms of minimising pain, I found it to be great.

From day 7 onwards, when I finished my course of antibiotics (keflex, four times a day), I would rise two times a day with lukewarm salt water. Sometimes it stings like crazy, but I'm sure it's made a difference in keeping my mouth cleaner. (The taste of the scab can be pretty yuck at times.)

The key, I think, is patience and enduring the severe pain. Just think - it's only temporary. I cried several times over my dinner, the pain was ALWAYS worse at night, (sharp stabbing ear pains especially), and I whinged like crazy to anyone who would listen. Having amazing parents & a boyfriend that was always there with a shoulder to cry on was great. I was so frustrated that it was taking so long. Every 5 minutes I'd go 'aaaaaah' in the mirror and use the household torch to see down my throat. It was like I wanted a progress report, but couldn't really see a difference because I was checking so often! Plus whenever I spoke it sounded like a was some weird, drunk-kermit-the-frog impersonator. My brother got many laughs at me just pointing at things and slurring in my sh*t attempt to articulate myself.

I certainly wasn't expecting scabs! And if you read anywhere that you 'cough them up', which I was worried and grossed out at - it wasn't true for me at all. I find it hurts a LOT when you're eating on Day 7, 8, 9 but then when I checked in the mirror, the scabs were less. So it's probably just them falling off as you swallow food.

Tomorrow's Day 10 and I'm keeping positive. There's still a chance of post-operative bleeding but I'm still drinking and eating and gargling with salt water. The DR said that the 3 - 5 % of patients that bleed post-surgery are those who don't drink enough, eat enough and swallow enough. Endure the pain, drink loads of ice water, stay positive, think of the long-term positives outweighing the temporary negatives, and don't self-diagnose or be freaked out by people who post their horror stories. It probably won't happen to you if you do the right thing.

A week of pain is probably worth not having your body constantly fighting the infections in your tonsils.

Best of luck... here's to no more tonsillitis, ever! :-)


I'm 19 and had my tonsils removed (due to recurring strep throat) 5 days ago on November 18, 2010. So far, I have mixed feelings about my recovery. I'll give you the low down on my experience thus far.

Day of surgery: I woke up in the recovery room and was in minimum pain. The nurse gave me morphine shots and ice chips to suck on which went down easily. I came home and took my pain meds (oxycodone pills which are VERY difficult to get down, especially because they're not coated), and the pain was tolerable. I didn't eat much the first day, and slept fine. However, I did wake up throughout the night in order to take more pain pills. *side note: I was VERY mucus-y and felt the need to cough a lot. I tried my best to do so without killing myself, and found that coughing really wasn't that difficult.

Days 2-3: When I wake up in the morning, it hurts a lot because I guess the surgery has made me sleep with my mouth open. Therefore, my throat is always very dry and scratchy and it kills to swallow to moisten it again. I've been taking my meds every 4 hours and while it definitely helps with the pain, I can honestly say that the oxycodone doesn't completely mask it. I was able to eat room temperature soup with baby noodles, lots and lots of water ice, and tons of ice water/gatorade. Saturday night, however, which was day 3, I had a complete set back. The pain had been tolerable up until that point, but I broke down in tears that night. My head was absolutely POUNDING, my ears were clogged and ringing, and swallowing was torture. I took more pain pills along with Tylenol, and laid in bed with an ice pack. While the pain was really bad, I can say that I've been sleeping like a baby, only to wake up in the middle of the night to take more medicine. I've found it helpful to keep a bucket by your bed, because I've had the urge to spit a lot.

Day 4: Sunday was a pretty good day. I was able to expand my diet to mac&cheese from Wawa, and I also had a thicker soup from Panera Bread. I'm still taking my medicine every 4 hours, and drinking up to 3-4 quarts of ice water a day. However, one of the most annoying things I've experienced thus far is that whenever I drink, the fluid sometimes goes up my nose which is very uncomfortable. I hope that this stops very soon. The swelling in my uvula has started to go down as well. The first couple of days, it was so swollen that I kept on feeling like I was swallowing and choking on it. *side note: I haven't sneezed yet (thank god), but sometimes a hiccup catches me by surprise and that is not fun!

Day 5: I haven't been waking up before 1:00pm during this whole recovery, and today (Monday) was no different. I felt well enough during the day to have some company, but as I'm writing this, I'm now regretting it. Because I talked a lot (yes, I can talk, but I sound really silly and have difficulty pronouncing words without experiencing pain. I'm also very soft spoken), my throat got irritated. My headache has returned, and my ears are bothering me. The pain is more intense in my right "tonsil" than it is in my left. I keep on drinking lots of ice water and eating water ice to help soothe the throat. I have a weird taste in my mouth and it feels as though there is something resting on my tongue that won't go away. I assume that these sensations are caused by the scabs, but I can't get a good look at them so I'm not really sure what their deal is. My mom said that they seem smaller, so I'm assuming that they're breaking off as I eat.

I know that I still have a long way to go with recovery, but to be quite honest, this surgery/recovery has been pretty sucky. At first it didn't seem like a big deal, but I was warned that the pain would intensify as the days went on. Basically, when it's "good," it's okay, but when it's "bad," it's bad. I'm still planning on sticking to a diet of soup, mac&cheese, water ice, and ice water. On a side note, not to be too personal, but the medicine that I'm on has prevented me from having a BM ever since before the surgery. Because of this, I've been eating high fiber oatmeal and fibrous bread, but so far, no luck. I'm sure that once I'm off the oxycodone, this will change.

For anybody who is scheduled to have a tonsillectomy, here are my tips:
-rest as much as you can...don't over-exert yourself!
-drink lots of ice water
-stick to soft/simple foods
-take tylenol on top of your prescribed meds to assist with a headache
-try not to talk too much...I'm assuming that's why I'm in so much pain right now

*also, I've been reading that a lot of people seem to have tongue pain, but I haven't experienced this. And I was afraid that brushing my teeth would hurt, but I can do that without any trouble.

Hope that this helped, and the BEST OF LUCK WITH YOUR SURGERY! :-)