From Tonsil Stones To Tonsillectomy

I'm 33, and I've suffered from halitosis (i.e., bad breath) for probably the last 10 years. No amount of dental hygiene products helped. The only thing that helped—temporarily—with the odor was Dr. Ken's all-natural breath strips. But after maybe half an hour, the odor would return.

Also for probably the last 10 years or so, little white balls that looked like dry cottage cheese curds would come out maybe once every 6 months or so when I sneezed or coughed. At the risk of sounding gross, I assumed they were boogers and thought nothing of it. About a month ago, I decided to smell one of these balls, and the putrid smell was unforgettable. I did a bit of googling and assumed it was candida fungus, since I had a white tongue and a fungated toenail. I went to my GP, who told me I probably had tonsil stones, but it was nothing to worry about, and there was nothing to do about them. I asked him for an authorization to see an ENT for a second opinion. Thankfully, he obliged.

The ENT said the only thing he thought would help would be a tonsillectomy. He said the recovery was painful and it was up to me whether I wanted to have it—he neither encouraged nor discouraged me from going through with the surgery. He said it helps with the halitosis about 50% of the time.

I tried using my finger, a q-tip, and a waterpik, but I had zero luck removing any tonsil stones myself. My guess is that everyone's oral cavity is shaped differently, and mine is so deep that it's extremely difficult to reach my tonsils. So I decided to go through with the surgery.

I just had the surgery yesterday. The surgery itself was practically a breeze. The insertion of the IV was painful and scary, but I was knocked out during the procedure, so the procedure itself was not bothersome. I woke up high as a kite (which was lots of fun), but also very nauseous (not so fun). The anti-nausea medication was effective as long as I was lying down. As soon as I sat up, the nausea returned, until it subsided completely a few hours later. Amazingly, I was able to eat sushi for dinner last night, with minimal pain.

The pain, however, became progressively worse after I went to bed. I woke up every half hour or so to find my mouth filled with saliva, which I had to force myself to painfully swallow so I could go back to sleep. Today, the pain is worse, and I'm back to apple sauce, fruit, and other soft foods. I can open my mouth only half-way without pain. As soon as I swallow, talk, or move my jaw, it hurts quite a bit.

The doctor gave me liquid vicodin, but I haven't taken it, because I prefer to let the body heal naturally, to the extent that I am able to bear it.

Fortunately, I am not working right now, so I don't have to take time off of work or force myself to work in spite of the pain.

The doctor said I had the most tonsil stones he'd ever seen, during the surgery. He used a technique called coblation to completely remove the tonsils. He did *not* recommend a partial tonsillectomy or laser resurfacing, the former of which he said was not necessarily effective and the latter of which he said was essentially experimental. I have read about people getting partial tonsillectomies and still getting tonsil stones. I have also read about rare cases of people getting tonsillectomies and still getting tonsil stones—I wonder whether these people had partial tonsillectomies rather than full tonsillectomies.

I am *very* happy I got the procedure. This seems to be the only way to guarantee no more tonsil stones. Of course, time will tell whether it cures or improves the halitosis, but given that he said I had the most stones he's ever seen, I'm optimistic it will help.

Note that I was recently diagnosed with a number of food intolerances (gluten, soy, egg, dairy, nuts, tomatoes, MSG, yeast, and others). The underlying factors seem to be the lectins in gluten, casein, soy, and corn that damage the intestine (see for details), and the glutamate that consequently enters the bloodstream. Eating any of these foods exacerbates post-nasal drip, which seems to contribute to tonsil stones, from what I've read. I have become very careful about my diet, but regardless, I am happy to eliminate any possibility of tonsil stones forming in the future, by eliminating the tonsils altogether.
NoMoreTonsils NoMoreTonsils
3 Responses Nov 29, 2012

Any updates? Was your halitosis cured?

This is a is a very similar experience to mine and I am considering a tonsillectomy. How are you doing?

how are you doing now over a year later? any update?