The tonsils are located on the back of your throat, and when you open your mouth wide you can see them on both sides of your throat. While some people can remain rather healthy most of their life with their tonsils, others may have conditions that often impact the tonsils enough that it causes pain and warrants the removal of them.
Many times with a number of health conditions tonsils can look red, swollen, and your throat may be sore, you may feel sick, and even have a low-grade to high-grade fever. When this occurs your tonsils may be come pus-ridden or you may see white spots on them. Depending on the cause and the issues, it is important to understand some of the most common causes of white spots on tonsils.
Causes of White Spots on Tonsils
White spots on tonsils commonly occur for a large variety of reasons. Here is a list of the most common causes of white spots on tonsils:
Strep Throat/ Pharyngitis
Strep throat and Pharyngitis are both similar conditions that have the same symptoms that can cause white spots on tonsils. However, strep throat is the more serious of the two because it is caused by the strep bacteria. Strep throat is accompanied by severe throat pain, high fever, trouble swallowing, chills, and sometimes nausea and vomiting. Your tonsils will become swollen with both conditions as well and sometimes the infection will also cause your lymph nodes in your neck to become enlarged and tender as your body tries to fight off the infection.
If you have strep throat your doctor will swab your throat to identify that it is really the bacterial type. Then you will be given antibiotics so that you can get rid of the infection. When left untreated a strep throat infection can travel to your blood stream and become deadly so it is important that you seek treatment with the symptoms associated with it.
Pharyngitis is pretty much the same thing, however it is caused by a virus and usually does not require any antibiotics. Its symptoms may not be as severe as strep, but it can still make you feel really ill. Usually a doctor will treat the symptoms and recommend you rest up, gargle with salt water, and take it easy for a few days.
Tonsilitis is where your tonsils become inflamed for one reason or another. It can cause you to have difficulty swallowing, and also coincide with swollen, red tonsils with white spots, a sore throat, headache and general malaise. Sometimes tonsils will also present with white pus when the condition is tonsilitis, Tonsilitis can be caused by a virus or it can be caused by bacteria.
The doctor can tell just by looking at the back of your throat and ruling out other tonsil-related conditions if you have tonsilitis or not. If warranted the doctor will recommend an antibiotic, For frequent bouts with tonsilitis many ENT specialists recommend that the tonsils be removed.
Vicent’s Angina impacts the entire oral cavity. It is brought on by an ulcers that appear on the tonsils, pharynx, and sometimes within your cheeks and other areas of your mouth. This conditionally usually originates in the gums but it gradually spreads to other places in your mouth and throat. These ulcers get so nasty that they often leak pus and bleed. White spots on the tonsils are also apparent as the infection spreads to the back of the throat.
This condition is often treated with antibiotics such as penicillin that are popularly known for treating other types of oral and dental infections.
If the body has too much candida (a fungus) it can sometimes cause a condition that both infants and adults can get called- Thrush. Thrush makes white spots on tonsils apparent. There will also be a white/yellow coating on the tongue, cheeks, and on the back of the throat near the tonsils. Your taste may be off, and your breath may smell rancid but sweet when you are in the midst of a thrush bout. Typically if you have thrush, it is easily treated with anti-fungal pharmaceuticals or even by eating yogurt.
Diptheria is actually an infection of the respiratory system! However, it is serious stuff that impacts your sinus cavity, throat, tonsils, and nostrils all the same. The bacteria that is associated with Diptheria is termed corynebacterium diphtheriae.
Symptoms that accompany this condition include, fever, swallowing issues, problems breathing, sore, swollen, and tender lymph nodes and white spots on the tonsils. Sometimes with Diptheria the tonsils will be fully covered with patches of white or grey. Small children are most prone to this type of infection, however since vaccinations have been designed for this childhood disease the prominence of occurrence of it is very slim.
“Mono” The Kissing Disease or Mononucleosis
Mono or Mononucleosis is a virus that causes this infection also called the kissing disease. This is not a fun condition to have at all. It comes on very much like strep throat with enlarged lymph nodes, high fever, tiredness, headaches, a severe sore throat with white spots present on the tonsils and more.
The worst part of this infection is that it lasts a long time (and can be experienced for up to several months before it fully goes away.) Mono is usually treated with antibiotics but sometimes the condition is so serious that a physician may prescribe a steroid to alleviate it more rapidly.
White Spots on Tonsils: Tips to Help You
Here are some do it yourself care tips to help you get better relief from white spots on tonsils:
- Take it easy. rest, sleep, and stay way from others in case your are contagious
- Eat soft foods that are easy to swallow such as jello, ice cream, broth, yogurt, hot tea, pudding
- Be sure to take in plenty of fluids and to stay hydrated
- Gargle with baking soda, or salt water to soothe and heal the throat
- Use NSAIDS/anti-inflammatory medicines like aspirin, tylenol, motrin to manage pain and inflammation
- Avoid drinking alcohol or smoking
- Use a humidifier to moisten the air so your throat is not too dry