How Do I Manage Tonsillectomy Pain?

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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 10 October 2019
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Pain relievers are likely to be your most effective option for dealing with tonsillectomy pain. During and immediately after the procedure, your doctor may administer pain relievers through one of your veins. Once you are out of the initial recovery period, however, you can take prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers to manage the pain. While you are recovering, you might also find that food and drink affect your comfort; cold, soft foods may prove most comfortable as you recover from the surgery.

One of the most common ways to manage tonsillectomy pain is with a pain reliever. During and immediately after the surgery, you will likely receive pain medication intravenously, which means through a vein. This medication should keep you comfortable.

Once you are no longer receiving intravenous medication, you may receive an oral pain reliever, such as acetaminophen with codeine or a similarly potent pain medication. If you do not receive a prescription pain reliever, however, you can also find an OTC pain reliever helpful. For example, you could use acetaminophen to deal with the pain you feel after a tonsillectomy. Prescription medications are, however, usually given in larger and stronger doses. As such, they may prove more effective for treating your tonsillectomy pain.


Your doctor may recommend against the use of ibuprofen or aspirin for dealing with pain after a tonsillectomy. This is due to the fact that both of these medications can cause increased bleeding in some patients. Aspirin, in particular, is known to interfere with normal clotting, sometimes for days after the medication is consumed.

The foods and drinks you consume after a tonsillectomy may also help you manage the pain. Many people find cold foods and drinks helpful for dealing with tonsillectomy pain. For example, you could eat ice cream or Jell-O™ while you recover. You might also find sucking on ice chips and drinking cool water soothing. Ice pops and frozen drinks may help to relive the pain as well. Soft foods will generally help you to stay more comfortable while you recover from this procedure.

As time passes following a tonsillectomy, it's generally best to slowly ease into eating more solid foods and return to softer selections if you find that your choices are increasing your tonsillectomy pain. It is also important to avoid eating very dry, hard, or crunchy foods, as they will most likely only serve to make your pain worse. Additionally, it is typically wise to avoid eating and drinking anything with a high acid content, including fruit juice, as these foods and drinks can cause a burning sensation.


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