Tonsils: Cure or Culprit?
The discussion about whether or not to remove troublesome tonsils has been going on for decades, and the opposing schools of thought are still debating the benefits and drawbacks of the organs. Up until the 1970s, doctors generally removed enlarged tonsils with a procedure called a tonsillectomy. In the years after that, people began to question the practice, as the tonsils were known to be a part of the immune system and a means of fighting infection. The result was that the number of tonsillectomies went down for the following decades.
"It has been suggested that the tonsils are merely evolutionary 'leftovers' that are a great help to some, but a hindrance to others."
During that time, doctors noticed some recurring problems in children with chronically infected tonsils. Breathing difficulties, snoring, and behavioral challenges were being reported by parents and teachers. In many cases, removing the tonsils seemed to put an end to these problems. It has been suggested that the tonsils are merely evolutionary "leftovers" that are a great help to some, but a hindrance to others. On the other side of the fence, the feeling is that the tonsils exist to trap and fight infection, and removing them would allow the infections to spread throughout the body. This theory explains the issues of childhood tonsil infections by the fact that the tonsils are much larger in relation to the child's throat than they are in adulthood, and that it causes a lot more discomfort in younger people. The suggestion is to boost the child's immune system, helping it to fight infection, rather than removing the very organs that are protecting the rest of the body.
If the tonsils are left into adulthood, they might also demonstrate an ability to signal certain types of cancer. Because the tonsils are a part of the lymph system, it is their job to trap cancer cells. For those that feel that the tonsils should never be removed, this is a clear indication that they are necessary organs. When it comes right down to it, parents have to decide for themselves what they think is the best treatment for their child. Most often, it is better to look for methods of healing that will be less invasive than surgery, and to encourage the body to heal itself. Rushing to remove an organ simply because it seems to cause trouble might lead to bigger problems down the road. Serious consideration, research, and conversation must be an essential factor in any decision that is made regarding the health and development of our children. Sources: http://redpillreich.blogspot.com/2008/05/tonsils-adenoids-and-appendix-why-not.html http://www.wisegeek.com/why-do-we-have-tonsils.htm