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What Should I Eat after a Tonsillectomy?

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  • Written By: Meshell Powell
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 07 November 2016
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A tonsillectomy is a surgical procedure in which the tonsils are removed, often leaving the throat raw and sore during the recovery process. This may cause the patient to wonder about the best foods to eat after a tonsillectomy. Cold liquids are the most important, especially during the first couple of days following the procedure. Soft foods may be slowly added as tolerated by the patient. Foods that are hot or spicy should be avoided until the throat has had time to heal.

Dehydration may occur after a tonsillectomy due to the surgery itself, the normal healing process, and the fact that swallowing can be quite uncomfortable. It is very important that sufficient liquid intake occurs in order to avoid this complication. Cold liquids cannot only prevent dehydration, but they can also soothe the discomfort and reduce swelling and inflammation. Popsicles are excellent choices, as they help to maintain hydration while soothing pain and inflammation.

Ice cream is a popular food choice after a tonsillectomy, but many doctors recommend avoiding dairy products for the first 24 hours following the surgery. The anesthesia used during the procedure can cause nausea, and the consumption of dairy products may cause the nausea to become worse or even induce vomiting. Dairy products also leave a bit of a film on the throat, which may slow the initial healing processes. After the first 24 hours, foods such as ice cream, popsicles, and pudding can be quite soothing and are encouraged.

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Soft foods such as mashed potatoes or pasta can be safely eaten as tolerated after a tonsillectomy. Soups are also popular choices, although extremely hot foods should be avoided, especially within the first couple of days following surgery. Hot foods or liquids can cause bleeding and increase discomfort for the first day or so after surgery. Cottage cheese, applesauce, and bananas are good choices as well.

In addition to hot foods and liquids, spicy foods should be avoided after a tonsillectomy. These foods can cause extreme pain when consumed during the healing process. Acidic fruits such as oranges and lemons should not be consumed until the throat has healed. It is also best to avoid hard or crunchy foods such as potato chips, as these items can cause pain and irritation. Any questions or concerns about acceptable foods to eat after a tonsillectomy should be discussed with the doctor or another member of the medical staff.

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