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Can tonsillectomy help M.E./ CFS?

Posted by alser

Answers (3)
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Dear Alser -


Recurring sore throat and swollen glands are very common symptoms of CFS, caused by a dysfunctional immune system that over-reacts.


In some cases, there may be other factors that contribute to the sore throats and swollen glands, like chronic sinusitis or tonsillitis.  If that is the case for you, then a tonsillectomy might help your symtoms.

My son has CFS and for several years was getting sinus infections 5-6 times a year.  An ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist examined him and saw that his adenoids were enlarged but not his tonsils.  The ENT removed my son's adenoids, and the effect has been amazing - he's only had 1 sinus infection in the past 2 years since the surgery.  So, the surgery definitely helped my son with his sinus symptoms, and the reduced number of infections has helped his CFS (since infections often trigger severe crashes or flare-ups).

I know of another young girl, age 15, with CFS who had enlarged tonsils.  She had a tonsillectomy last year, and it helped to reduce her sore throats by quite a bit.


So, you need to speak with your doctor - and preferably see an ENT - to determine if your tonsils are enlarged or infected or there is some other reason (separate from CFS) to remove them.  If so, then the surgery might help to reduce some of your symptoms. 


Good luck -


Sue Jackson

Hi Sue,

thanks that's very helpful. yes i have an appointment with an ENT on tuesday and wanted to get more information first.

 Was your son an adult or child when he got the surgery done? I ask because "they" say that is is tougher as an adult (i'm 32) ... and also i'm wondering will it be tough on my system to go through the surgery with M.E./ CFS. i wouldn't want the advantages to be outweighed by the strain of the surgery on my overall help.


 Thanks again for your response. 


Hi, Alser -

Sorry I didn't reply sooner - I wasn't notified  that you'd left a follow-up question.

My son was only 9 years old when he had his adnoids out.  Another young girl I know with CFS had her tonsils out last summer when she was 15, and it helped her, too.

The benefits will probably outweigh any temporary CFS-related crash from the surgery, if your ENT thinks surgery will help.

Here's a great article on what people with CFS should consider when undergoing surgery.  Share this information with the surgeon and anesthesiologist before your surgery: 

Hope that helps -



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