The tonsils and adenoids are thought to assist the body in its defense against incoming bacteria and viruses by helping the body form antibodies. However, this function may only be important during the first year of life.

There is no evidence to support a significant role of the tonsils and adenoids in immunity.

Medical studies have shown that children who have their tonsils and adenoids removed suffer no loss whatsoever in their future immunity to disease or ability to ward off infections.

The most common problems occurring with the tonsils and adenoids are recurrent or chronic infections and significant enlargement (hypertrophy).

Acute tonsillitis is an infection of the tonsils caused by one of several possible types of bacteria or viruses.

Chronic tonsillitis is a persistent infection of the tonsils. Repeated infections may cause the formation of small pockets (crypts) in the tonsils which harbor bacteria.