Do you or your loved ones have white spots on the tonsils? Well, it can be dangerous. But, you need not worry much. The white spots are usually pus that develops as white blood cells kill off bacteria or viruses infecting the tissue.
The tonsils are part of the lymphatic system and help us fight infections. You may have a cough, swelling etc. as symptoms. You may ask if you should be having a concern. If so, read on.
You see, the spots on the tonsils differ. Larger the size of the spots, the greater is the risk. Pain is there most times. There may be difficulty in breathing and swallowing.
If you have an interest in white spots on tonsils and related queries; you came to the right place, also here you will get to know everything about it; symptoms, causes, treatment etc.
First of all, many of you are familiar with tonsillitis. It is the swelling of the tonsils in the throat due to infections. While this may be common, there are many causes of swelling and white spots on the tonsils.
If left untreated it can affect other organs. Thus, it is important to know what it is, the causes and its treatment.
In some severe cases, it is most likely that you may get an infection in ears, sinuses, and throat. Hence, early diagnosis and treatment are essential.
Now, let’s see the condition in details.
What Are White Spots On Tonsils?
Tonsils are a set of lymphatic tissue present in the throat. It helps to protect us from gastrointestinal and respiratory infections. It consists of the adenoid tonsil, lingual tonsil, 2 tubal tonsils and 2 palatine tonsils. The one we call tonsils is the palatine tonsils.
You all know the inflammation and swelling of the tonsils. however, you may sometimes notice white spots, bumps, patches, chunks, stuff or things on your tonsils. it could be one white spot on tonsil, clusters or many spots. Furthermore, they could be small white dots or as large patches.
In the past, if the tonsils frequently became infected they remove it. It is still a course of treatment in some cases, but that the tonsils have a much larger impact on the digestive process. The tonsils help to fight off infections, which is why they get the white spots.
The spots are usually pus that develops as white blood cells kill off bacteria or viruses infecting the tissue.
Besides, a little care can help the tonsils from getting the white spots. But it is important to check with your doctor if your symptoms linger or appear severe. In severe cases, white spots can affect other organs.
And also, treatment is based on the causes. So, visit your doctor to avoid damage.
Causes Of White Spots On Tonsils
As mentioned earlier, white spots on the tonsils have a number of causes. Below I have listed some of the common causes –
i. Oral thrush
Oral thrush is an infection due to overgrowth of Candida species. This fungal infection is a common infection among children but can affect adults more. The adults whose body immune system is compromised or weakened by other human diseases or infections can get it.
ii. Tonsillolith/Tonsil Stones
It is a condition where calcium deposits to form at the back of the throat in the small crevices of the tonsils. It is either due to bacteria, mucus or un-swallowed food particles. The deposits differ in sizes but are often painful.
iii. Strep throat
It is a contagious infection caused by bacteria. It causes the tonsils to swell with white areas and pus. Strep throat causes considerable pain and makes swallowing difficult. High fever and swollen lymph nodes under the jaw is also present. Although strep throat can resolve on its own, antibiotics speed up the healing process and reduces your risk of spreading.
iv. Oral leukoplakia
This is a condition that occurs due to chronic skin irritation. You may notice white spots in the throat in severe cases. It results from frequent use of tobacco. In few cases, oral leukoplakia may be cancerous. White spots from this condition resolve if the source of irritation is removed, but serious conditions may require a surgical operation.
v. Infectious Mononucleosis
Mononucleosis is a viral infection. It is characterized by white spots on the throat as well as by chronic fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, and swollen tonsils can be spread through sharing utensils with an infected person. It can cause several complications, one of which is an enlarged spleen.
One possible cause of white spots on the tonsils is a condition called tonsillitis. It is the swelling of the tonsils. It is caused by a virus infection or bacterial infection. In the case of bacterial infection, Streptococcus pyogenes is responsible.
While many children get tonsillitis, those who are below 2 years of age are rarely affected
Seasonal allergies manifest in the oral cavity with a white tongue. Other signs in the throat include white lines on tonsils. For some people, allergies to post-nasal drips can also cause white patches in the mouth and throat.
The frequent use of drugs like aspirins can cause white spots in the throat that look like burn. This condition is more apparent if you chew the pill. If the spots in your throat are due to frequent drugs intake, use less and swallow instead of chewing.
Here, a grey-white coating can develop inside your throat. It may cover the back of your throat and tonsils and can obstruct your breathing. It is due to Corynebacterium diphtheria.
a) Chlamydia and white stuff on tonsils and mouth
Chlamydia is sexually transmitted. If you have oral sex, you are at a higher risk of showing oral chlamydia symptoms. These include inflamed and swollen tonsils, nausea, pain, fever, reduced appetite, sore throat and white stuff on tonsils.
b) Gonorrhea causes white stuff on tonsils
Gonorrhea can manifest itself with symptoms in the oral cavity. The symptoms show a lot faster if transmitted after oral sex. The reason is that the throat viral infection has white or yellowish patches that settle in your oral cavity.
c) Herpes Simplex Virus
Oral herpes can also show symptoms like oral sores or mouth sores, swollen gums, itching mouth and lymph nodes and grayish or whitish coating on tonsils. The white plaque starts covering tonsils if left untreated or after antibiotics or penicillin treatment.
d) Syphilis infection
Syphilis is caused by a bacterium called Treponema pallidum. It transmits from one person to another through unprotected sex. The bacteria can also get through cuts on the skin and mucous membranes.
xi. Chemical Exposure
Being exposed to chemicals can cause white blotches to form in the back of the throat. If so, seek immediate medical help and avoid any chemical associated with the spots in your throat
White Spots On Tonsils Without Pain
Well, most of the causes of white spots on are accompanied by pain. They are sore, tender or painful. Yet, it is possible to have white spots on tonsils but no pain.
The common causes of painless tonsils are leukoplakia and tonsil stones. Even tonsils cancer at its initial stages might present itself as painless white patches.
White Spots On Tonsils, Sore Throat And No Sore Throat
Sometimes, you may have a sore throat with white spots on tonsils. The causes may be the following
- Strep throat
- Tonsil stones
- Syphilis infection
By examining the other symptoms like fever, swollen glands, cough, etc., you should have a hint of what the cause is.
Whereas, if you have a white spot and no sore throat, it may be due to oral thrush or candidiasis, oral herpes, leukoplakia and oral gonorrhea. Sometimes, tonsil stones when small may not cause a sore throat.
Swollen Tonsils With White Spots
If your tonsils are swollen and have white spots, patches, plaques or stuff, you may have tonsillitis, tonsil stones, strep, mononucleosis, herpes simplex viruses or oral gonorrhea (STD).
Besides white spots on swollen tonsils, look for other symptoms such as fever, cough, swallowing difficulties or pain, swollen glands, sore throat, etc.
Swelling of the tonsils is the most common symptoms. The intensity of symptoms varies. At first, there can be a pain in the throat and difficulty in swallowing or no symptoms at all.
Some of the symptoms are-
i) Oral thrush
The presence of white patches (plaques) in the mouth that can often be wiped off, leaving behind red areas that may bleed. There can be a loss of taste or an unpleasant taste in the mouth. A painful, burning sensation in the mouth
Redness inside the mouth and throat with cracks at the corners of the mouth. The presence of creamy white lesions on your tongue, inner cheeks, and sometimes on the roof of your mouth, gums, and tonsils.
Redness or soreness that may be severe enough to cause difficulty eating or swallowing.
ii) Tonsillolith/Tonsil Stones
Bad breath and sore throat is the common symptom. There may be a pain while swallowing and at the roof of the mouth.
Sometimes, fever with lack of appetite is also there
iii) Strep throat
Symptoms appear within two to five days after infection. The infection is airborne and can be spread through contact with an infected individual.
There is a severe and sudden sore throat without a cough, sneeze, or other cold symptoms. Pain or difficulty with swallowing with a fever over 101°F (38.3°C) is present. Swollen lymph nodes in the neck with white or yellow spots or coating on the throat and tonsils.
Skin rash may be there around the neck and eventually on the whole body. Bright red throat or dark red spots on the roof of the mouth at the back near the throat is another symptom.
Fever and sore throat are main signs although they disappear within a couple of weeks. Mono virus usually has an incubation period of 4 to 6. Long lasting signs include fatigue, enlarged lymph nodes, and a swollen spleen.
A blood test of that involve antibody test and white blood cell count will give a doctor a clear knowledge of the presence of mononucleosis.
Symptoms include high fever with chills, fatigue, a sore throat, hoarse voice, cough, headache. There may also be swallowing difficulties or pain, breathing difficulties, swollen neck lymph glands, pale skin and blood stained, bad smelling nasal discharge
Throat pain or tenderness with redness of the tonsils. There may be a white or yellow coating on the tonsils. Sometimes, painful blisters or ulcers on the throat are there. You may experience hoarseness or loss of voice.
White spots on the throat are common. Fever, chills and bad breath is also present. You may have difficulty swallowing or breathing through the mouth.
In extreme cases, there may be an earache or pain and swollen glands in the neck or jaw area.
Thus, you should not ignore any swelling, howsoever small it be and see your doctor.
How To Get Rid Of White Patches On The Tonsils
The treatment of white lumps depends upon the cause. Here are the treatments used in common.
If the symptoms cause a great deal of discomfort, you should see a doctor determine if antibiotics are necessary. Antibiotics ease the pain.
Your doctor will take a sample of the pus on your tonsils with a cotton swab and run lab tests to determine the type of medication.
Amoxicillin, penicillin, and erythromycin are used in common.
Your doctor will prescribe anti-fungal medication if the white bumps on tonsils are caused by a fungal infection such as candida.
If your tonsils get infection frequently or they swell causing difficulty in breathing, your doctor may advise you to have them removed. If you have an infection that will not respond to treatment, it needs a tonsillectomy.
It is a one-day surgery that takes one to two weeks to recover. During this time the throat will be sore. You may also have a restricted diet to avoid irritating the surgical area. But, no extreme side effects are expected.
Alternatively, other techniques such as radio waves, ultrasonic energy or electrocautery or laser may be used to evaporate the swollen tonsils.
i) Tonsillolith treatment:
Manual removal of white spots on tonsils using a cotton swab can help. It can be done on your own or with the help of a doctor.
ii) Tonsillitis treatment:
Rapid strep test or throat swab is done to determine the presence of bacterial or viral infection. Antibiotic are given if the test is positive. However, Tonsillitis caused by viral infection doesn’t respond to antibiotics. For this case, the body should be given an environment to fight on its own.
iii) Strep throat treatment:
Antibiotics are the best medication for the treatment. Amoxicillin, Cephalexin, and penicillin are common. Antibiotics kill the bacteria and reduce the time a patient is contagious. It also prevents the occurrence of rare complications of strep like an ear infection, sinus infections, rheumatic fever and weak immune system. It also relieves pain and enhances the faster healing process.
iv) Oral thrush:
Tropical medications such as gels and creams, tablets and capsules are given under prescription for the treatment of oral thrush. Most of the medication given may have side effects like nausea, bloating, vomiting and abdominal pain
Antibiotics or corticosteroids that cause oral thrush should be changed or reduced in dose
This is a viral infection and there is no specific therapy. Antibiotics don’t work for viral infections.
Corticosteroid medications such as prednisone may be given by the doctor to ease associated symptoms such as swelling of the tonsils and pain in the throat.
Stopping the use of any tobacco products and alcohol makes the condition to end on its own. Larger patches are removed by a scalpel or laser treatment. A cold probe is done to freeze the cells and used for testing if the doctor suspects cancer.
vii) Oral Herpes
While the herpes virus is incurable, antiviral medications like famciclovir and Valtrex are used to ease the pain and reduce symptoms. Salt water helps to soothe the throat. Getting an adequate amount of rest and fluid relieves the symptoms of herpes.
3. Home Remedies To Get Rid Of White PatchesTonsils
If you have white spots on your tonsils, don’t worry. Apart from the medications, you may also try home remedies. Some of the home remedies for pinched nerve are listed below.
i) Honey and lemon juice
Mix a bit of honey into some lemon juice and water, and sip the solution slowly. This will help to soothe the throat. Honey and lemon also have antibacterial properties. Reduce your intake of sugary foods. This is especially helpful when the cause of white spots is thrush [candidiasis].
ii) Gargle with warm salty water
Gargling with a warm saline solution helps to soothe your throat, and to fight bacteria. Make sure to gargle with this solution many times per day.
iii) Stop use of tobacco and alcohol
Stay away from alcohol and cigarettes. It helps your body resolve the problem.
iv) Warm chicken broth
Chicken broth helps to soothe the tonsils and throat. Chicken broth also boosts the immune system.
v) Warm water
Sip warm water to help soothe the area. Do this throughout the day.
vi) Chamomile tea with honey
Chamomile tea and honey soothe the area because honey has anti- bacterial properties.
vii) Ice pops
If you experience swelling, eating ice pops helps. Don’t eat ice cream, as the dairy in it increases your production of mucus.
viii) Cold compress
A cold compress on your neck can help to bring down swelling. If the white spots in the throat are associated with swelling of the tonsils, this also helps bring down the swelling of the tonsils.
ix) Avoid contact with potential irritants
Some throat infections are due to pollution. It is good to avoid breathing strong perfumes or cigarette smoke. They cause you to develop problems with your throat.
x) Use a humidifier
Using humidifier keeps a strong level of moisture in the air, and helps to soothe the affected area.
Getting enough rest helps your body and immune system to handle the problem.
Ensure to drink plenty of water, especially after you have eaten. It helps to prevent debris.
xiii) Follow doctor’s prescription
Take the medication as prescribed by the doctor. Anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen help to reduce pain and swelling.
xiv) Throat lozenges
It helps eliminate white spots in throat. Suck on the throat lozenges you can find at any drugstore or grocery store.
xv) Oregano oil
Swallow a small dose of oregano oil every day, with plenty of water. It has anti-fungal properties. It can also be helpful for bacterial and viral infections because of its antibacterial and antiviral properties.
Garlic has potent anti-bacterial substances. Cook and mash up some garlic and eat as much as you can every day, mix it with other foods if you like. If you are worried about bad breath, then take garlic capsules.
xvii) Baking soda
Mix a small pinch baking soda into warm water, and gargle. Do this several times a day, in the morning and at night before you go to bed.
Other than the natural home remedies and treatments, you can also take precautions to reduce the occurrence of the white dots on the tongue. Here are some tips.
- Avoid spicy foods and hot beverages. Raw vegetables and acidic foods can also worsen the condition. It may affect your tongue too.
- Avoid smoking and chewing tobacco. These increase the chances of white patches in your mouth if you are prone to leukoplakia.
- If there are any swelling, inflammation, and pain, use painkillers such as ibuprofen.
- Humidify your house to avoid irritation from dryness.
- To reducing fever bouts, drink plenty of water. It also helps fight infections in your throat.
It is a must for you to take care of your body.
Hence, it is advisable to get treated by a specialist in case symptoms starts. Taking precaution and living a healthy lifestyle is the best key.