Recurrent tonsillitis


Tonsillitis is infection of the parenchyma of the palatine tonsils. Recurrent severe tonsillitis results in significant impact on quality of life, including time lost from school or work.


Acute tonsillitis is more common in childhood than adulthood.

Aetiology/Risk Factors

Common bacterial pathogens include beta haemolytic and other streptococci. Bacteria are cultured successfully only from a minority of people with tonsillitis. The role of viruses is uncertain – however it is generally accepted that most ‘sore throats’ are of viral origin.


Generally positive; both patients who are given appropriate antibiotic therapy, and patients who undergo tonsillectomy are shown to have a reduced number of episodes over time.

Clinical Aims

Treatment aims to reduce the frequency and severity of recurrent throat infections; to improve general well being, whilst minimising risks and side effects of either medication or surgery.

Clinical Outcomes

Number and severity of episodes of tonsillitis or sore throat; requirement for antibiotics and analgesics; time off work or school; school performance, and general well being; morbidity and mortality of surgery; and adverse effects of drugs.

Reference;  Am Fam Physician. 2002 Nov 1;66(9):1735-6. Recurrent tonsillitis. McKerrow WS1. Raigmore Hospital, Inverness, United Kingdom.