There are a lot of ailments that could affect the oropharynx and the nasopharynx region of our body. These areas are the ones that link the internal organs to the environment outside the body. This is where food, water and air pass through whenever we eat, drink or breathe. Because of this role, the oropharynx and the nasopharynx are considered highly susceptible to diseases and other health problems. One of the most common conditions that affect this region is none other than strep throat. But what is strep throat and can you get strep throat without tonsils?
What is Strep Throat
Strep throat is defined as a common medical problem that is characterized by a bacterial infection that affects primarily the pharynx area of the body. This condition is also known as acute streptococcal pharyngitis and is also capable of affecting the larynx or the voice box as well as the tonsils in most severe cases. Many believe that strep throat can only be acquired once the tonsils are present. Because of this, a lot of people submit themselves for tonsillectomy or the surgical removal of the tonsils. But the question is; is this enough to prevent strep throat from happening? For us to know the answer, let us first deal with the different causes of strep throat.
Causes of Strep Throat
Although strep throat can affect anyone no matter what is the age or gender of the person, this condition is said to be common among children and young teenagers. This throat infection is caused by a bacterium called Streptococcus pyogenes, which is otherwise known as the group A streptococcus bacterium. Normally, these bacteria live in the mouth as well as the nose in small numbers without causing any signs and symptoms of infection. However, when the environment turns favorable for the bacterium, it tends to multiply repeatedly causing the production of an infection. Aside from strep throat, the strep bacterium is also responsible for other types of illnesses associated with the streptococcal infection.
Sore Throat VS Strep Throat
Most of us would think that a simple sore throat is already an indication of a strep infection. However, this is not entirely true in all cases. Some sore throats are caused by viral infections that lead to coughing, hoarseness, runny nose as well as red eyes. Strep throat, on the other hand, usually exhibits constant irritation of the pharynx, with the presence of throat pain, swelling of the tonsils, enlargement of the lymph nodes, presence of fever and the formation of white patches in the throat. Tonsils are considered lymphatic tissues that are located on either side of the oral pharynx. These tissues help ward of infections that affects the mouth and the nose; nevertheless, the tonsils can also get infected and inflamed, which is otherwise known as tonsillitis.
Possibility of Strep Throat without Tonsils
As we can see the symptoms of both the strep throat and tonsillitis are quite similar. However, the mere removal of the tonsils will not be enough in order to prevent the future occurrence of strep throat. Based on the words “strep throat”, we can already determine that this type of condition does not only affect the tonsils but the entire throat region. Removing the tonsils will not prevent strep throat from happening; rather it only reduces the chances of having the infection or experiencing the symptoms of the disease. A person who has undergone tonsillectomy is still possible to have strep throat and/or acute streptococcal pharyngitis.
In some recent medical surveys, health experts have found out that those children who have their tonsils removed do get fewer incidences of strep throat compared to children with intact tonsils. This however is not enough to make tonsillectomy a 100% cure for strep throat since the strep bacteria can still affect other portions of the pharynx. So in case we are planning to submit ourselves for tonsillectomy, then we should first assure the safety of the procedure as well as the risks and the possible complications that entail the procedure.
In treating strep throat, it is not necessary for us to directly proceed with surgery. Usually surgical removal of the tonsils is only prescribed on patients who experience frequent strep infection within only a year. This intervention is also needed since it prevents further complications in the body such as rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease (RHD), which can be an outcome from severe strep throat infection. Nevertheless, we can always resort first to antibiotics in order to treat the infection and avoid it from getting worse.
These are just some of the important facts that we need to know about strep throat as well as the possibility of it from occurring even without the tonsils. In dealing with infections and diseases such as this, knowledge or education is still the best weapon that we could have.