top of page
What is Tonsillitis? (Dr. Michael Berglund)

Tonsillitis: Let's be clear up front. For many of you with children that have swollen tonsils, you are considering surgery. Let's clarify things:

You've been told that surgery is the only way. That's likely false. You've been told that it's a viral infection. That's likely false.You've been told that it's not your fault and that it's a flaw in your immune system. Totally false.

The truth is that you're considering surgery because the tonsils are almost entirely blocking the back of the throat, making swallowing very difficult, or there are chronic bouts of illness that you're hoping will be helped by having these tonsils (and maybe adenoids) removed.

Please don't go the surgical route until you've read this. 

The real reason for swollen tonsils & adenoids

The real reason for swollen tonsils/adenoids
First of all you need to understand what tonsils and adenoids are. (The real name for tonsils is palatine tonsils.) They are both lymphoid glands. In lay terms, they are an accumulation of a type of white blood cell that makes antibodies (proteins specifically made to fight a certain virus/microorganism). We have these lymph nodes all over our body, and they are attached to the lymphatic system (which contains a fluid containing white blood cells that helps rid the body of toxins, waste and other unwanted materials). 

The reason any gland swells in the body is because it's being asked to do significantly more work than it's capable of doing. The thyroid swells (goiter). The liver swells (hepatomegaly). And lymph nodes swell. When go to the doctor and they feel your neck and under your jaw… or they feel around in your armpit, they are feeling for swollen lymph nodes. The idea is, if there's an infection, the lymph nodes may swell. It's a clue that the body is fighting something.

So if the tonsils and adenoids are lymphoid tissue and they are swelling, that means there is a viral infection? That would be true if they swelled for a week or so and then shrank back down to normal size. However, in most of these people that are considering surgery because of chronic tonsillitis, they rarely shrink down to normal. That's means there is some other stimulus that is causing the glands to overwork and, thus, swell. 

Antibiotics are not the solution

Dr. Berglund doesn't want to peddle fear here. Millions and millions of people in the past several decades having undergone a tonsillectomy (surgical removal of the tonsils) and have apparently not experienced any reduced immunity or any other sign/symptom that would say that they miss their tonsils and wish they had them back. His point in this is: as a parent, one of his goals was to keep his kids off the surgery table if at all possible. Bad things can happen, and he knew his kids couldn't have a post-surgical complication unless they had surgery. As a doctor, his goal is to optimize the body to function as perfectly as possible. The presence of tonsillitis or the history of a tonsillectomy means that this patient has food allergies/sensitivities of some sort. It is most likely either a dairy or wheat sensitivity. Blood tests by an allergist will not be able to detect the majority of these sensitivities, and although there is more accurate blood testing available, it tends to be rather expensive. Dr. Berglund is able to do much more affordable in-house testing, which happens to be extremely accurate, as well. 

How will you know if the food elimination program worked? Simple. Patients should take a picture of the tonsils before they begin the food elimination program, and then again four weeks after having abstained from eating those foods. If the food elimination worked, the tonsils will have retracted. You need to know, however, that tonsils that have been markedly swollen for years, aren't likely to go back to normal (normal tonsils are barely visible). However, if you can get them to shrink 50-75% from where they were, we'd consider that a success… and you've avoided surgery.

The other benefit is that we find out that this individual has food allergies/sensitivities. Check out our food allergies/sensitivities page to see how reactions to foods affect the body.



bottom of page