Revenge of the Tonsilith

Welp, it’s not been more than a couple of months since Oh Good Grief, Tonsil Stones, and I got another one. Another big one.

The difference is that this time, when I tried to get it out, I triggered my gag reflex. Oh double good grief. I always wondered how anorexics bulimics ((Apologies for the mistake. By the way, here’s an FAQ on vomiting.)) could throw up all of their stomach contents in one go, and I found out. Once I trigger my gag reflex, I can’t stop throwing up until it’s all gone—and I have a very sensitive gag reflex.

(I suspect this gag reflex is also the cause of other episodes of non-stop puking; they either happen when I’ve got the flu, which is to be expected, or while I was flossing, which is not.)

Anyways, after that damage, I finally worked out the steps I needed to take to get it out again. It’s gone, but of course, the tonsil it exited out of is a little bit open for now, as the tonsilith was sticking in the opening for who knows how many hours. I only realized there must be a tonsilith there an hour ago because the teas I drank all day tasted strange and disgusting.

I’ve had those strange taste changes before—they most likely correspond to having a tonsilith trying to edge its way out of the tonsil, because I remember during those periods suddenly swallowing something horrible one day before they ended. And since tonsiliths smell like shit, literally, of course they bugger up your sense of taste.

Here’s how I prevent my sensitive gag reflex from getting in the way of removing the tonsil stone.

Note: This does not constitute medical or dental advice in any way whatsoever. Don’t sue me if you get hurt trying to ape these steps.


  • Blackhead remover. Why? See Oh Good Grief, Tonsil Stones.
  • Flat surface I can prop my elbows on. I actually find the bed best.
  • Small bucket lined with small garbage can liner.
  • Absorbent kitchen towel with a color or pattern I utterly despise.
  • Small magnifying pocket mirror. I have one in a folding travel brush.
  • Flexible-neck small travel light. I use a Mighty Bright with a snaking neck.


  1. I prop myself on my elbows on the flat surface, preferably lying down on my stomach. This probably helps calm me down as well as getting all concerns about holding still out of the way.
  2. Making sure that I’m on the edge of the bed, I put the despised towel beneath my chin, and position the small puke bucket on the floor, so that if I have to, I can quickly turn my head and throw up into it.
  3. Turn on the travel light, and hold down the base with my forearm.
  4. Open the mirror, and use it to look into the back of my mouth, tilting it as appropriate.
  5. Adjust the mirror and the light until the goddamned tonsilith is in clear light.
  6. Using the wire loop end (not the flattened loop) of the blackhead remover, carefully hook under and pull out the tonsilith.
  7. In this position and with the magnifying mirror and light making things clearer, usually my tongue and gag reflex don’t react as strongly.
  8. However, I will usually gag several times anyways, and even throw up repeatedly and for extended periods of time. Hence the puke bucket.
  9. Once the tonsilith is loose, cough it into the bucket. Do not attempt to examine it. I have, and the last time I regretted it horribly and didn’t eat for two days (mind you, this experience by itself tends to put me off food for a while).
  10. Where there’s one huge tonsilith, there will likely be more smaller ones. These I either cough into the puke bucket, or I gargle them out in the bathroom.

Gods, it’s horrible every single time. Even after the tonsilith(s) are gone (supposedly), it’ll still feel weird back there, because of course the tonsilith was bulging out like nobody’s business and enlarging the tonsil entrance.

The last thing I can do right now is enjoy tea or food, so I guess I’ll just sip water for a while. Actually, probably water with sugar and salt in the appropriate ratio in it, because I lost a lot of water puking for 15 minutes straight.

Gods FUCK.

4 thoughts on “Revenge of the Tonsilith

  1. Oh my God, that is horrible. You have so much sympathy.

    I’m afraid to even look at my tonsils now.

  2. Tonsiliths don’t affect most people. But if you ever walk around with the feeling that there’s something in your throat you have swallowed, in my experience, it’s likely a tonsilith.

    I think most dentists know about tonsiliths now, so they should be able to handle it (goodness knows they have better tools, as well as Valium).

  3. I actually have that feeling a lot, except I don’t have tonsils so it must be something else. Alien throat worms.

  4. My first experience with a tonsilith was 2 days ago when I had to see my MD foe pre-surgery clearance. Doc and I are friends and have been for 20 yrs. as I am a practicing DC in the next town. I mentioned that I have had a sore throat for a while so he looked at it and said “holy shit, that’s humongous.” Of course my mouth is open with a depressor and light in it so I just sit there knowing I’ll get the explanation of what is so humungous in my throat. Then he asks the nurse for the other light and tool because “this has to come out” . After he tries several swipes and gag reflex responses, the last one productive, I ask him ” what the hell are you doing? He says “you have the biggest tonsilith I have ever seen and I have to remove all of it”.OK Ive studied A&P ,throat anatomy and phys. along with gastroenterology and I dont recall anything called a tonsilith. Of course I’m looking at spines all the time so I tend to lose touch with the4 orifices of the body. I must say that my MD did an excellent job removing the disgusting alien attatched to my right tonsil and even did a succesful throat culture for strep . Bruce, you’re a great doctor and a wonderful friend

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