Inflammation or infection of the tonsils is medically termed as tonsillitis. Tonsils are protective (lymph) glands that are situated on both sides in the throat. The tonsils constitute an important part of the body's immune system and are vital defense organs. They protect the body from bacteria and viruses by fighting these as soon as they enter the body (via the oral/nasal cavity). The tonsils along with adenoids are said to form the 'first line of defense' against infective organisms.
In the normal state, tonsils are pink in color (similar to their surroundings tissues) and about the same size. When the tonsils get inflamed, they become red, swollen and may develop pus pockets that start exuding a discharge. In cases with recurrent infections, the tonsils may become so swollen over a period of time so as to almost touch each other.
There are three types of tonsillitis:
Tonsillitis can affect people of all ages though it tends to be very common amongst children especially those between the ages of 5 to 10 years. No particular gender predilection is seen in cases of tonsillitis.