Caretaking for Loved Ones: A Health and Medical Blog

Kids That Snore: Why Is Your GP Recommending a Tonsillectomy?

Kids, like adults, can snore; however, parents sometimes notice that their child starts snoring particularly loudly or unusually. If there is no obvious reason for this change, such as a cold, and the snoring doesn't get any better after a few days, then you may take your child to your GP to make sure everything is OK.

During the exam, your GP will look at your child's throat and ask you lots of questions about your child's snoring. At the end of the appointment, your doctor may recommend that your child sees an ear, nose and throat specialist with a view to having their tonsils out. Why? 

The Link Between Tonsils and Snoring

People snore for a lot of different reasons. In kids, this is often down to the size of their tonsils. Typically, your tonsils don't give you any problems; they're there to help you fight infections without getting in the way.

However, some kids have larger tonsils than normal. While tonsils that have naturally grown a bit bigger than the norm won't give your child any problems during the day, they may affect them when they sleep.

When your child sleeps, their tonsils relax. If the tonsils are big, then they may partly block the opening of your child's throat. Your child can still breathe, but breathing around and through the tonsils may make them snore loudly.

In some cases, very large tonsils also cause sleep apnoea episodes where the tonsils temporarily block airways. If you've noticed that your child's snoring is sometimes punctuated with pauses or snorting sounds, then they may be having the occasional apnoea episode.

Should You Agree to a Tonsillectomy?

You may worry that having your child's tonsils removed increases the chances that they'll get throat and chest infections. While tonsils are a useful line of bacterial defence for these parts of the body, they aren't essential and can be removed quite safely.

If your child's snoring is disturbing their sleep, making them consistently tired, irritable and below par during the day, then your GP may feel that it's better to take the tonsils out than leave them in. Doctors may be particularly keen to remove tonsils if your child is having regular sleep apnoea episodes.

If your child's tonsils are making them snore or have sleep apnoea problems, then a tonsillectomy should fix this immediately. If you still aren't sure, ask your GP for more information.