Are you concerned about whites spots on your tonsils? These white spots, in most cases, can be treated without surgery. White spots on your tonsils are usually an indication of illness or possible infection. People with frequent infections often experience white spots, which may be due to the accumulation of pus or tonsil stones, or any other condition.
Tonsils are two oval-shaped pads of tissue that are present at the back of the mouth. These are the first line of defense against bacterial and viral infections that enter our mouths. However, frequent infections can cause inflammation in the tonsils resulting in the formation of white spots.
These conditions can often be managed by medications and alternative therapies depending on the severity of the disease. Let us find out more about the symptoms, causes, and possible treatment options for white spots on tonsils.
What Are the Early Signs and Symptoms of White Spots on Tonsils?
White spots on tonsils may be hard for you to observe with your naked eye. However, there is an apparent sign of yellowish-white discoloration on the tonsils. The discoloration usually appears like streaks or blotches at the back of the throat. There are several symptoms that often accompany white spots, such as –
- Bad breath
- Frequent cough
- Chronic sore throat
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Swelling of the lymph nodes
- Frequent throat discomfort
- Chronic headaches
- Breathing issues
- Persistent fever
- A stuffy nose
What Causes White Spots on the Tonsils?
Tonsils are a part of our immune system that protects us from several bacterial and viral infections that enter our mouths. However, sometimes these tonsils get infected due to several factors that cause symptoms such as breathing issues, frequent sore throats, etc.
White spots in the tonsils are usually caused by the accumulation of pus or bacterial infections like strep throat. Other factors that contribute to the formation of white spots include viral infections, such as mononucleosis, measles, or cytomegalovirus. Let us discuss the possible causes of white spots on the tonsils and the symptoms associated with them in detail –
Chronic Infections in the Tonsils
Bacterial and viral infections such as mononucleosis, cytomegalovirus, etc., cause chronic infections that can spread through saliva or come in contact with an infectious individual. Individuals who develop such infections frequently experience white patches of pus around the tonsils that can cause symptoms which include:
- Frequent headaches
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Rashes in certain body parts
Strep throat refers to the bacterial infections that can make your throat feel scratchy and account for white spots on tonsils in some cases. It is most common in children but can affect people of all ages. It is caused by the bacteria Streptococcus pyogenes that can be transmitted through someone already suffering from strep throat. Possible symptoms include –
- Flu-like symptoms
- Occasional headache
- Difficulty or pain while swallowing
- Inflammation & swelling in the throat
Tonsillitis refers to the inflammation in the tonsil that is a result of frequent infections in the tonsils. It can be caused due to bacterial and viral infections that can cause swelling or formation of white pus in the tonsils. Some of the symptoms include –
- Sore throat
- Persistent fever
- Pain or difficulty while swallowing
Tonsil stones or commonly referred to as tonsilloliths are calcium deposits that occur in the form of small cracks in the tonsils. They resemble white spots in the tonsils and are a result of the buildup of food particles, mucus, and bacteria. Tonsil stones usually appear as yellowish-white spots on the tonsils that cause symptoms such as –
- Bad breath
- Sore throat
What Are the Treatment Options for White Spots on Tonsils?
Treatment for white spots depends on the diagnostic report by the specialist and the severity of the condition. ENT specialists usually recommend several home remedies and medication which include antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs, ayurvedic medicines, etc., to manage the symptoms of infections. The doctors may also suggest surgical interventions such as tonsillectomy to permanently treat conditions related to tonsils. Let us find out how to get rid of white spots on tonsils through different treatment methods.
The surgeon usually recommends medications in case of mild infections to manage symptoms of white spots on tonsils. Medications such as ibuprofen, nimesulide, and ketoprofen are effective in reducing the symptoms of infections that cause white spots and help to improve inflammation, redness, and fever.
These medications are recommended when anti-inflammatory drugs are ineffective in reducing the symptoms caused due to white spots on tonsils. Corticosteroids include prednisone or dexamethasone that are part of non-surgical treatments.
ENT specialists recommend antibiotics in case of bacterial or viral infections that cause symptoms of sore throat, irritation while swallowing, etc. Antibiotics include penicillin, amoxicillin, or azithromycin to manage symptoms in case of bacterial infection. It is important to complete the entire course of antibiotics even if symptoms tend to go away.
In case of mild infection, ENT specialists often recommend home remedies as the primary treatment method to reduce the amount of pus and manage throat inflammation. Home remedies can be carried out as soon as you feel a sore throat without consulting with the doctor as timely measures can prevent the worsening of the symptoms. It is important to drink plenty of fluid and stay hydrated to help the body recover. Some of the home remedies include –
- Regularly gargling with lukewarm saltwater.
- Drinking honey ginger tea with eucalyptus, mauve, salvia, or althea.
- Grapefruit juice can also help in treating sore throat and managing several symptoms of white spots on tonsils.
Tonsillectomy refers to the surgical removal of infected tonsils that are immune to medications and other medical therapies. The patient is given anesthesia before the procedure for a painless experience. An endoscope is used to locate the infection in the tonsils. The surgeon then uses surgical equipment and cauterization to remove the tonsils while minimizing blood loss using heat cauterization.
White spots on your tonsils can be a result of various conditions that often result in sore throat, bad breath, frequent cough, chronic sore throat, difficulty in swallowing, swelling of the lymph nodes, etc. Several underlying symptoms can be managed by non-surgical procedures, including home therapies, antibiotics, medications depending on the severity of the disease. On the other hand, there are surgical interventions that include tonsillectomy that can effectively treat severe symptoms that cause white spots on the tonsils.
It is important to consult with our ENT doctors if you observe white spots on your tonsils to prevent the condition from getting severe. Prolonged white spots can cause pain or cause difficulty swallowing. You may also be at risk of breathing issues which are very common in children and teens.