For the last twenty months, since just after the pandemic started, I have had severe difficulty in swallowing most foods. I had tonsillitis on two different occasions in the six month period before that, but even then it was only slightly difficult to swallow food compared to now. After I was prescribed penicillin for my second bout, I felt well and healthy but the white spots on my tonsils were still there. I contacted my doctor who couldn’t see inside my mouth due to it being a zoom call, this is May 2020, and he said they are most likely tonsil stones. After googling tonsil stones they look exactly like what I have.
My doctor however said tonsil stones can’t cause problems with swallowing and referred me to an ENT specialist. I never mentioned the stones once to the specialist because of this, I was diagnosed with a fungal infection in my mouth in October 2020, but after taking antibiotics the following swab came back negative. I also suffer from GERD and have had heartburn since 2015 and been on omeprazole daily since 2017, which stops the heartburn completely, however if I miss out for a day or two the heartburn comes back. I can’t swallow most solid foods at all I can’t even eat spaghetti only lasagne and fish, even eating those meals takes around an hour sometimes more whereas before I could finish those meals in around ten minutes.
An endoscopy I had in February 2021 showed no narrowing of my esophagus or any scarring despite a history of heartburn, likely due to my daily doses of omeprazole that reduce stomach acid and heal scarring. The only finding in my endoscopy showed stomach inflammation which explains why I get heartburn because I have GERD.
Can tonsil stones cause problems swallowing? I highly doubt it is GERD related since I take medication which controls my symptoms and my esophagus isn’t narrowed. The sensation always feels right at the back of my throat, never in my chest and I also get the sensation sometimes of food being stuck in my throat when I eat. Many of the stones I have pulled out have been fairly large, some around the size of a grain of rice and there are stones deeply embedded and what feels like being stuck in the crypts in my tonsils that have been there for months and I can’t pull them out. This has been one of the most stressful issues I’ve dealt with since I haven’t eaten out in a restaurant in almost two years and it makes me very stressed out that swallowing food is very difficult.
I’m going to contact a private ENT laser surgeon after Christmas and enquire about laser removal, known as a tonsillotmy, which vaporizes the tonsil crypts, thus stopping the formation of stones, and is also much less painful than a tonsillectomy which has severe pain post-op and also is risk-free unlike a tonsillectomy which carries many risks for adults. I live in the UK and heard tonsillotomies are very common in countries such as the US and Germany, however here only one surgeon in London performs them. I don’t live in London but am more than happy to travel down pay only around £1,000 for the entire thing and travel home on the same day as only general anaesthetic is used, not local.
Can tonsil stones cause this much difficulty swallowing food? Almost every medical website I have visited such as webmd, everyday health and patient info just to name a few all class dysphagia or difficulty swallowing as a symptom of having tonsil stones, yet a few other websites I visited said it is rare for tonsil stones to cause problems swallowing. I’m not sure if my tonsils are swollen but they are very red and in pain some of the time and it is very difficult to swallow food all of the time, even when I gargle with saltwater.