©2018 WebMD, Inc. All rights reserved. eMedicineHealth does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. See Additional Information.

Symptoms and Signs of Tonsillitis Symptoms, Causes, Treatments, and Home Remedies

Doctor's Notes on Tonsillitis Symptoms, Causes, Treatments, and Home Remedies

Tonsillitis refers to inflammation of the tonsils in the back of the throat. Acute tonsillitis refers to a short-term illness and is caused by infections with a number of different bacteria or viruses. Infectious mononucleosis (“mono”) and strep throat are two examples of acute tonsillitis. Chronic, or long-term, tonsillitis is a persistent infection of the tonsils that can eventually lead to stone formation within the tonsils.

Symptoms of tonsillitis include a painful sore throat that can cause pain with swallowing or difficulty swallowing. Associated signs and symptoms can include fever, nasal congestion, runny nose, bad breath, swollen lymph nodes in the neck, loss of voice or hoarseness, and headache. The tonsils themselves may be enlarged, red, swollen, and may be covered with white patches or pus.

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2019


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.