Children who have their tonsils taken out are almost three times more likely to develop asthma and other serious lung diseases.

Scientists say the long-term risks may outweigh benefits in some children, according to Daily Mail.

The tonsils help the body to fight infections but can become badly infected with tonsillitis, which causes them to become painful and swollen.

This study by the universities of Copenhagen and Melbourne studied 1.2 million people across three decades and is the largest study of its kind.

As well as breathing diseases, having both the tonsils and adenoids – similar tissue at the back of the nose – taken out as well increases the likelihood of inflammation in the middle ear and sinusitis.

Researchers suggest doctors should give more consideration to therapies other than removing the tonsils, which could badly affect children’s long-term health.

Tonsillectomy almost triples risk for diseases of the upper respiratory tract, according to the research.

It also showed removing the adenoids during childhood more than doubles the risk of lung disease later in life.

The study looked at the long-term effects of three operations: adenoidectomies, which 17,460 people had; tonsillectomy, which 11,830 people had; and adenotonsillectomies – in which both are removed – which 31,377 people had.

The study published in the journal Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery was based on data from 1,189,061 Danish children born between 1979 and 1999.

Share your comments below

  • Certainly need more research into the connection between tonsil removal and asthma.


  • Hopefully with more research they can find alternatives to removing tonsils or a cure for the illnesses taking them out may cause.


  • Well that’s something I wouldn’t have thought could happen just from removing tonsils. But it’s a risk I guess you have to take to have some comfort


  • They are not done routinely as they used to be many years ago. They are only removed if absolutely necessary.


  • I think things like this will be completely different for each individual – what affects one, might not affect another.

    I know kids who have suffered so much with repeat tonsillitis and their parents just wanted to ease their child’s suffering

    It will be interesting to watch this study develop over time and learn more about the results


  • An interesting article which l didn’t now about.


  • Once again…why? The research numbers are fine but I want to know why to make more of an informed opinion.


  • Research and studies like these are always interesting. For all that they reveal, I know of many cases of kids who have had their tonsils removed, that don’t fit this scenario or any similar.


  • I am now 63 (nearly 64) & I had my tonsils removed at a very early age, from what I was told (or remember) it was at either 3 months or 3 years old at the time.
    If I did not have them removed I would not be hear now.
    In other words I would have died if I did not have them removed.
    To this day I do not suffer from any major illness that could be attributed to not having my tonsils, so I totally disagree with this report & I believe that there will be lots of people who will agree with me


  • Interesting on everyone’s opinion really! I had my tonsils and adenoids out to help with my breathing as a young age now have chronic asthma and broncli problems and not a smoker and my daughter who was told by the Dr to get her tonsils removed due to chronic snoring dosnt suffer and sleeps so much better and lives a full life! So who knows really


  • We are born with all the parts in our bodies we need, keeping them healthy is important to prevent disease. I had re-occurring tonsillitis and glandular fever when I was a child/teenager and young adult. It wasn’t until I gave up dairy and particularly cheese that it stopped. I believe dairy can contribute to many respiratory and gland problems for many children and people. I was glad that I refused the many doctors who suggested to take out my tonsils, I never have any colds or flu’s due to not consuming dairy and now eating only plant based foods.


  • Do think the doctors in this day and age aren’t quite so ready to do this operation as they once were.


  • Hmmm certainly an interesting perspective. Our youngest snores so they’re watching her for when shes older.


  • Sure think we don’t have them for nothing.
    My 8yr old is the only one in our house who has several tonsillitis per winter and also has regularly an ear infection.
    My 4yr old with Down syndrome was the first 2 years of her life several times admitted to the hospital with tonsillitis, once for a week at NICU, but has been free of it the last couple of years. Having Down Syndrome she’s more prone to upper respiratory infections as well. Besides that she has ear infections all the time since grommets. She’ll have the grommets removed this year. But there’s no indication to remove the tonsils. Thankfully she’s strong and healthy.


  • I had my tonsils out at age 30 after a childhood and early adulthood of suffering. It was the best thing I ever did.


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