A peritonsillar abscess is an area of pus-filled tissue at the back of the mouth, next to one of the tonsils.
A peritonsillar abscess can be very painful and can make it difficult to open the mouth. It can also cause swelling that may push a person's tonsil toward the uvula (the dangling fleshy object at the back of the mouth). If this happens, it can become hard to swallow, speak, and maybe even breathe.
A peritonsillar abscess should be seen by a doctor. If left untreated, it can lead to more serious health problems. Treatment includes antibiotics (often given through an IV) and draining the abscess.
All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.
|Pocket Doc Mobile App|
|Maps and Locations (Mobile)|
|Programs & Services|
|For Health Professionals|
|For Patients & Families|
|Find a Doctor|