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To want dd to have an operation for 'vanity' reasons.

(176 Posts)
MsBrown Tue 21-Aug-12 15:54:00

My daughter has cryptic tonsils. This means she suffers terrible from tonsil stones or tonsilloths. They can range from the size of a bit of sweetcorn, to a big wad of chewed gum. And they stink. Really stink. They're basically calcified bacteria, saliva and mucus. (Sorry if you're having your tea!)

Whenever she has a huge one in her tonsil (which is at least once a month), she goes off food for a few days due to the rotten taste in her mouth. And she also says it's uncomfortable as she can feel it. This carries on until it eventually falls out. I've tried on one occassion to nudge it out with a cotton bud. It worked, but dd didn't like it, so i'll not be doing it again.

The smaller stones are almost a daily occurence.

The doctor has been frank. The only way to get rid of the tonsil stones is to get rid of the tonsils. He's assured me that the crypts in her tonsils will reduce by the time she's an adult, but they'll always be unaturally large thus she'll always have tonsil stones.

He said he'd refer me to an ENT specialist, but dd is unlikely to be a canditate
for the operation just because she has 'bad breath'. She's never had tonsilitis and only gets a throat infection once a year. The GP said i should consider if
i want to subject my child to the risks of an operation just for 'vanity reasons.'

DD is 5 so i think now is a good age, if ever she was going to get her tonsils out. I'm also worried that as she gets older, children will begin to pick on her for having bad breath. And i'm not exaggerating the smell. When she has a giant tonsil stone, even the doctor agreed it makes her have halitosis.

However, when i voiced my fears, he said that all children get bullied for a variety of reasons at school. If it's not bad breath, it's colour of hair, skin, clothes etc.

He seemed really reluctant to give me the referral tbh. And i've come home feeling like a terrible mum. Am i being unreasonable to want her to have this operation?

fartattack Tue 21-Aug-12 16:13:51


apparently flossing and cleaning tongue really helps

YusMilady Tue 21-Aug-12 16:13:54

You can just see this on Embarrassing Bodies, can't you? 'Well yes, this condition is distressing, and degrading, and is making your life a misery, but we won't do anything to help you because that would be just pandering to your vanity'. hmm

Flossiechops Tue 21-Aug-12 16:13:55

msbrown I know exactly how you feel as my dd who is 9 next month also suffers from these. I first noticed them when she was around 4 and thought she had tonsillitis but then realised this wasn't the case as she had no sore throat.

Just like your dd these aren't painful but a couple of kids have commented on her breath sad, I took her to the gp a few months ago who prescribed her a nasal steroid spray to try and shrink her adenoids as they looked enlarged. Touch wood she hasn't had any since. I can still see her tonsils are very large but none of these revolting suckers at the moment! The gp said to take her back if no improvement and they would refer herr to ENT. I'm not sure I would want her to go through having her tonsils out but as she gets older it would be her decision. They are vile horrible things but the gp advised that it may improve naturally with time.

anoli22 Tue 21-Aug-12 16:14:26

I get tonsil stones too. They are nasty and they drive me insane, gps don't understand/never heard of them, I went to an ent specialist and they just told me they can't do anything about it. I saw it on embarrassing bodies once and the woman got her tonsils removed. I'd go for it, save her loads of pain, embarrassment I'm also prone to infections because of them sad

Flossiechops Tue 21-Aug-12 16:14:36

Ps yanbu!

Do it. Please. I get these & they're horrendous. I wish i'd had mine out as a child.

drjohnsonscat Tue 21-Aug-12 16:16:14

Why is your GP minimising this by describing it as a vanity thing? Those tonsil stones are hideous - I had them in my thirties (so much for the thing getting better as you age) and had my tonsils out (also had recurring tonsillitis so not quite the same issue).

I was in Belgium at the time so didn't have to pass arbitrary NHS tests. I would fight for this if I were you. My son didn't pass the NHS's definition of needing grommets either because he could "sometimes" hear (ie, one out of three times that he had a hearing test, he could hear something and therefore failed). He was also below the standard age for the NHS (2). The fact that he had had 15 prescriptions for antibiotics in one year was not counted as evidence that he needed grommets. I fought (and cried) for him to have grommets and one year on he can talk properly and has not had a single infection.

Your GP sounds very tick-box oriented. Luckily in the end our consultant decided to make the op happen for us so my son got what he needed.

ifIsaynodontjustaskdad Tue 21-Aug-12 16:17:08

I'd do it, good luck, your poor dd x

Ephiny Tue 21-Aug-12 16:17:59

I guess even if they do go away when she's a teenager, that's a long time to have to live with a problem like this. Obviously there's always some risk involved in surgery, but that has to be balanced against the impact on quality of life of doing nothing, and your GP doesn't seem to be taking that side of it very seriously.

Hopefully the specialist will be able to make a better assessment and advise what the appropriate thing is to do in your DD's particular case.

You might be able to ask for a second opinion if you need to, or, if it comes down to an NHS funding issue, would going private be an option?

WilsonFrickett Tue 21-Aug-12 16:19:32

Definitely not vanity. Poor wee thing. Can you see another GP?

MyDogShitsMoney Tue 21-Aug-12 16:26:53

It's not vanity at all, don't let him make you feel you like that. It's a genuine health and well-being concern.

If there are actual facts and contra-indications then the specialist can present them to you and you can then make an informed decision accordingly. It's not the GP's job to pre-empt that.

We all know there are risks involved with general anesthesia and I'm quite sure the option of an operation not something you have take lightly. If you are concerned enough to be considering a surgical procedure I can't see how he can be so dismissive of her obvious distress.

NatashaBee Tue 21-Aug-12 16:28:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

herhonesty Tue 21-Aug-12 16:32:19

hmm. GPs can be total to**ers. one i went to refused to refer me to a gynae "just because you get in a bad mood when you get your period" eventual diagnosis was chronic endemetriosis.

you've got three choices. go and see a different GP (which is your right i believe) or make yourself such a pita to said GP that its easier to refer you. ie. keep on going in with every stone and ache and pain related to it - ie. is there anything dear doctor you can do stop the taste, to boost her appetite, to reduce the pain.he'll soon want to get rid of you. or go private. obviously i have no idea what financial situation but its worth at least thinking about.

Jenny70 Tue 21-Aug-12 16:32:57

I get these and they are grosse. They are not necessarily going to shrink as she gets older.

I'd be taking her every time and asking for the referral, it's the specialist that will decide if she can have it done.

It isn't vanity, it's oral hygiene and body image etc.

ilovesprouts Tue 21-Aug-12 16:33:02

id do it now whilst shes young ,i had mine out at 30 was horrible

AdoraBell Tue 21-Aug-12 16:33:47

Doesn't sound like vanity to me either. I'd say what Dr really means is it's not life threatening, therefore not neceassery to operate, therefore it comes under "vanity reasons"

I'd get it done and agree you should push for it it to be done.

claudedebussy Tue 21-Aug-12 16:36:53

def get the referral. the ent might have a totally different view.

i disagree that it's just bad breath. it's socially debilitating and may affect her confidence.

i had my tonsils out at 7. wasn't pleasant but i was over it in a few days.

LackingNameChangeInspiration Tue 21-Aug-12 16:39:21

I'd def ask for a referal and do it!

a girl at my school wasn't allowed a similar op by her parents because it was "cosmetic". She spent quite some time crying in the toilets sad

LackingNameChangeInspiration Tue 21-Aug-12 16:40:03

this was on embarrassing bodies, a young woman had it and had to pick things out with a cotton bud, she was advised on the show to have them out, and did!

theansweris42 Tue 21-Aug-12 16:40:58

Poor DD!
GPs, like everyone else, can be wrong and insensitive. I would do it too. Good luck.

valiumredhead Tue 21-Aug-12 16:41:33

Forgive me if I am teaching you how to suck eggs but does she gargle with salt water 3x a day?

ChunkyPickle Tue 21-Aug-12 16:43:37

There was a girl with this on Embarassing Bodies - she was about 15 I think, and she had a whole routine with a little mirror and a stick to pop the stones out.

She was so happy when they got it sorted (by whipping them out) for her.

Do it. It's not Vanity, it's health and wellbeing.

valiumredhead Tue 21-Aug-12 16:45:02

You can use a Water Pic to get the stones out.

happy2bhomely Tue 21-Aug-12 16:45:25

I have tiny ones every now and again and they are disgusting. My GP said to gargle with hydrogen peroxide and it seems to help.

I think you should insist on a referral and then discuss it sensibly with someone at ent.

ChunkyPickle Tue 21-Aug-12 16:46:25


15 and still not resolved for her.

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