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White Spots on Tonsils

Diseases and Conditions

White Spots on Tonsils

Your tonsils are a major indicator of your health. When you catch a bacterial infection, you may end up developing white spots on your tonsils. These white spots or patches indicate that your tonsils have accumulated pus. Often, you will experience pain during swallowing, a fever or throat pain at the same time.

What Are the Causes of White Spots on Tonsils?

1. Strep Throat

Strep throat is a common illness. While teenagers and children are the most common people to catch the disease, it can strike at any age. Strep throat happens when you have a bacterial infection. When your body is infected by this bacteria, it can cause white spots to develop on your tonsils. You may feel like your throat is scratchy, or it could cause severe pain. Often, your tonsils and lymph nodes will become swollen.

When you have strep throat, you develop a fever that can go over 101 degrees. High fevers can be dangerous, so it is important to go to your doctor if you are experiencing this symptom. In addition, it is important to receive professional treatment for strep throat because untreated strep throat can cause major complications. Once your disease is diagnosed, your doctor will most likely prescribe an antibiotic. Even if you start to feel better after a few days, it is important to take the full course of medication as directed by your doctor.

2. Diphtheria

Caused by a bacteria known as corynebacterium diphtheriae, diphtheria is a respiratory infection. Once you catch it, it can affect your throat, nostrils and tonsils. Someone who has diphtheria will generally have inflamed lymph nodes on their neck and a fever. They may also have problems breathing or swallowing food.

When a doctor checks your throat, they will see a gray or white membrane covering your pharynx and tonsils. At times, this may also look like a large white patch that coats your swollen tonsils. While anyone can get diphtheria, it most commonly affects children who are under the age of five years old. Luckily, diphtheria is easy to prevent. Most people are vaccinated for the disease and will never get it. If you never received a vaccine, you may be given intravenous medications and antibiotics to kill the bacteria.

3. Viral Pharyngitis

Viral pharyngitis, as the name suggests, is caused by a virus. This infection affects your pharynx between your voice box and tonsils. Once you have viral pharyngitis, your tonsils and pharynx may become inflamed. You may develop pus and white patches on your tonsils. If the infection is caused by a bacteria, your doctor may give you antibiotics. If it caused by a virus, then you just have to wait for your body to naturally get over the infection.

4. Oral Thrush

Oral thrush is a fairly common infection. It is caused by Candida albicans, which is the same fungus that is responsible for vaginal yeast infections. When someone has oral thrush, their throat, tonsils and mouth can develop white spots. In reality, the fungus is actually always present in your mouth. It only becomes a problem when the fungi become overgrown and excessive. White lesions may develop on your inner cheeks and tongue. Eating yogurt or taking over-the-counter antifungal treatments can help you get over the illness.

5. Tonsillitis

Tonsillitis is a condition where your tonsils become inflamed. This can make it hard to swallow, and you may develop a fever. When you examine your throat, you may notice white spots that are caused by pus on your tonsils. It could mean that you have a viral or a bacterial infection. Other side effects of tonsillitis include stiff neck, headaches and fever. If tonsillitis is caused by a bacteria, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics. If a child has tonsillitis frequently, they may be given surgery to prevent future cases.

6. Tonsil Stones

Tonsil stones form when white deposits are left in the nooks or crevices of your tonsils. These hardened deposits are made from dead cells, food particles, mucus and bacteria. If this happens, the tonsil stones can also become infected. People who have tonsil stones may experience symptoms like bad breath or ear aches. If the stones are not causing you any problems, your doctor may not need to do anything to treat it. If you have especially large tonsil stones, your doctor may need to remove them surgically.

7. Vincent’s Angina

Vincent’s angina is a type of infection that happens on your tonsils, oral cavity or pharynx. When you have this condition, ulcers may form. Often, these ulcers start along the gums and expand toward the tonsils. If you touch the ulcers, they may bleed easily. You may also develop visible white spots on your tonsils. Antibiotic medication is the most common treatment, and your doctor will probably start by diagnosing penicillin.

8. Mononucleosis

Nicknamed the “kissing disease”, mononucleosis can actually happen to anyone. It is most commonly spread by sharing eating utensils, water bottles or similar items. When someone develops mononucleosis, they will often have a fever, extreme fatigue, headaches and a sore throat. They will develop swollen tonsils that are covered in pus. At the same time, the individual may develop a rash anywhere on their body and swollen lymph nodes. Most of the treatments for mononucleosis involve rest, drinking plenty of liquids and more self-care measures.

Treatment Options for White Spots on Tonsils

The types of treatment options available for white spots on tonsils depends on the cause. Medications like penicillin, amoxicillin or rifampin may be prescribed if the cause if bacterial. If there is swelling, the doctor may also prescribe naproxn or ketoprofen.

Viruses cannot be treated by antibiotics. For these diseases, the best option is to drink plenty of water and get rest. Stay away from other people so that you do not spread your infection. Drinking water will also help reduce your fever. Gargling with salt water can help to kill off any virus, bacteria or fungus in your throat. Humidifiers can help reduce irritation on the throat. In addition, avoid spicy foods and acidic foods because these may irritate the throat even more.

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