Tonsillitis is far less common in adults than it is in children, but the condition does occur in adults and is becoming much more frequent. Some doctors state that the increase in tonsillitis in adults is due to the fact that more adults still have intact tonsils. In the past, a person was much more likely to have them removed in childhood. Still, adults have often built up a significant level of immunity to common infections. As such, they remain less likely to develop tonsillitis in comparison to children.
Tonsillitis is a condition that develops when the oval-shaped tissue, called tonsils, at the back of a person’s throat becomes inflamed. The condition causes a sore throat, difficulty swallowing, fever, and enlarged glands. Often, a person with this condition also has whitish or yellowish patches that form on his tonsils. Swallowing may become difficult, and bad breath may develop as well. A person with tonsillitis may also develop a stomachache, stiff neck, or headache along with the condition.
The vast majority of people who get tonsillitis are children and people who are in the early-to-mid teens. Adults, however, can still be vulnerable to the condition. It is difficult to say just how common tonsillitis is in adults, but doctors report that incidents of the illness are on the rise. It is difficult to say why this is so, but scientists have a theory. Many state that tonsillitis in adults is more likely now because the childhood removal of the tonsils is less frequent. This makes sense, as an adult without tonsils is at no risk of contracting the infection.
Before the 1980s, many people had their tonsils routinely removed when they developed tonsillitis as children. Medical opinion on this procedure eventually changed, however. By the mid-1980s, doctors no longer thought removal of the tonsils should be a routine procedure. As such, most people enter adulthood today with their tonsils still intact. Their mere presence translates into more cases of tonsillitis in adults.
Despite the fact that doctors have seen an increase in cases of tonsillitis in adults, it is still less likely to develop in adults than in children. This may be due to the fact that adults often have built up a natural immunity to a range of illnesses, just by virtue of living for a significant period of time. As such, they are less likely to catch infections that lead to tonsillitis.