Swollen tonsils and no pain can be caused by a variety of things. The most common include allergic reactions and bacterial infections.
If the tonsils become large enough, it may become difficult (and painful) to swallow. People with this symptom may refrain from eating or drinking anything.
For this reason, you should get it cured as quickly as possible. Let’s talk about the potential causes below.
Anatomy of Tonsils
The palatine tonsils are located near the throat. There’s one located on the right side and one located on the left side.
They play a role in helping the body stay safe from foreign invaders. Each tonsil contains crypts that house many white blood cells.
The WBCs produce antibodies and protect the body against a wide range of infectious agents. They also contain T cells, which can destroy foreign microbes.
If you’re experiencing swollen tonsils and no pain, it most likely means that your body is fighting an infection.
What is Tonsillitis?
The term tonsillitis simply means inflamed tonsils. In most cases, it’s due to a viral infection. However, it can also be caused by bacteria. Common symptoms include:
- Tender lymph nodes
- Difficulty swallowing
- Sore throat
It’s a relatively common symptom that affects all age groups, genders, and nationalities. Treatment options range from simple home care to surgical removal.
The extent of the tonsillitis, as well as the cause, will determine which treatment is required.
Swollen Tonsils and No Pain – Accompanying Symptoms
If you have swollen tonsils and no pain, there may be a few symptoms that accompany it. These include:
- Bad Breath: Unexplained bad breath can be attributed to inflamed tonsils. It tends to linger even if you’ve brushed your teeth.
- Unexplained Foul Smells: If you’re smelling foul things without a known source, it could be that the smell is coming from your tonsils.
- Redness: Most of the time, when a tonsil becomes inflamed, it will also become very red. That’s a telltale sign of an infection.
- Fever: Since this symptom is often caused by a virus or bacteria, you may get a fever. This is your body’s way of killing the infection.
- Swelling: The tonsils ay become apparently larger as time goes on. Some patients may even find it difficult to open their mouths.
- Color Alterations: Normally, the tonsils are supposed to be a light pink color. When you’re sick, they can develop white or yellow patches.
Some other common symptoms to look for include a headache, sore throat, and weakness. These are all signs that your body is fighting an infection.
You may even experience chills and sore eyes. The exact symptoms depend on the extent of the infection and what’s causing it.
What Causes Swollen Tonsils and No Pain?
The two main types of foreign invaders that cause this symptom include:
- Bacteria: Examples include staphylococcus aureus, streptococcus pneumonia, chlamydia, and many others.
- Viruses: Common ones include the Epstein-Barr virus, influenza, rhinovirus, and adenovirus.
Who is most susceptible to these pathogens? People with impaired immune systems are most likely to develop swollen tonsils and no pain.
That’s because their bodies don’t have sufficient resources for fighting the infection. Another surprising cause is eating spicy food.
When you eat spicy food, it can trigger redness and swelling in the throat and tonsils. Finally, if you have food allergies, then this can also be a cause.
In most cases, this symptom won’t be a sign of something life-threatening. It’s quite common in younger children since they’re more likely to put dirty things (hands, toys, etc.) in their mouths.
Here are some treatment options for tonsillitis:
- Antibiotics: If it’s bacteria causing your symptom, then your doctor may prescribe antibiotics.
- Anti-Inflammatory Drugs: Used to bring down inflammation, pain, swelling, and redness.
- Pain Killers: Although it’s not a “cure”, pain killers can help you better-manage the pain.
- Tonsillectomy: This is when surgeons remove one or both tonsils. Generally, it’s reserved for extreme cases.
If your swollen tonsils and no pain isn’t going away, a tonsillectomy is highly recommended. Chronic tonsillitis has been linked to respiratory issues, cardiac problems, and more.
There are some home remedies you can try as well. One that we recommend is gargling salt water. Do this 2-3 times a day and see if that makes a difference.
Could It Be Tonsil Cancer?
If you’re reading this article, you might be worried that you have tonsil cancer. In short, there’s no way to know for sure without talking to a doctor.
What we can say is that tonsil cancer is less common than viral and bacterial infections. The signs of tonsil cancer are just like tonsillitis- pain, swelling, redness, etc.
For this reason, if you have swollen tonsils and no pain that isn’t going away, go see a doctor. While it’s most likely not tonsil cancer, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Tonsil Cancer Risk Factors
Men are four times more likely to get tonsil cancer than women. Most patients are over the age of 50 at the time of diagnosis.
The most common risk factors include tobacco and alcohol use. Less common risk factors include HIV, HPV, and people who’ve recently had an organ transplant.
X-rays, blood tests, and various other diagnostic procedures can help doctors determine whether you have tonsil cancer. Surgery and radiation therapy are the most common treatment options for this type of cancer.