Mouth

White Spots on Tonsils and Throat, No Pain, Causes & Treatment

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White spots on tonsils or throat can be worrying especially when accompanied by other symptoms. For starters, the white patches could indicate an array of causes ranging from bacterial to yeast infections. 

The spots may also be a sign of other conditions such as strep throat, infectious mononucleosis, and other contagious conditions. Most the causes of the white spots can easily be treated.

When occurring on your tonsils, the white spots may present themselves as blotches, or streaks which may be filled with pus in some cases.

When indicating an infection, a sore throat is the most common symptom Here are some of the possible causes, symptoms and what you can do to prevent and get rid of the white blotches, patches, spots or streaks on tonsils.

White tonsils

According to health line, white discoloration may appear only on the tonsils or around the tonsils and throughout the mouth. White tonsils may look like streaks in the back of the throat. Depending on what the cause is, your tonsils may feel scratchy and you might find it difficult to swallow.

In rare cases, you may have difficulties breathing, this is especially common when the tonsils become extremely swollen and partially block the airway. Other symptoms accompanying the white tonsils will include the following:

  • A sore throat
  • Coughing and sneezing
  • Fever
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Foul smelling breath

White spot on tonsil no pain

Most of the causes of white spots on tonsil will often be accompanied by mild to severe pain depending on what the cause is. It is however not uncommon for the spots to appear without pain.

When the spots cause no pain, the most likely cause would include leukoplakia and tonsil stones. In cases of tonsillar cancer, the white spots may start as painless in the initial stages of cancer.

We recommend you see your doctor as soon as possible if the spots are painless, causes no other symptoms or keeps increasing and spreading over.

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What do white patches and spots on your tonsils mean?

White spots or patches on tonsils will often occur as a result of an infection in the throat. Often, the whiteness can have several possible causes, the most likely cause I an infection that can be caused by a fungus, bacteria or a virus.

Anybody can develop an infection that could lead to the formation of white blotches on tonsils, however, those with weak or compromised immune system are at an increased risk of having the spots on tonsils and on the throat.

The white spots are likely to indicate any of the following conditions:

1. Tonsillar cancer

Tonsillar cancer a type of cancer that affects the tonsils, though rare, could be the underlying cause of the white spots. Squamous cell carcinoma is the most likely form of cancer.

When this is the cause of the spots, the sore occurring on the tonsils and at the back or the throat do not heal.

Other possible symptoms accompanying the white spots will include pain in the mouth, severe ear pain, lump in the neck, blood in saliva and a persistent sore throat.

In cases of cancer, urgent and proper medical diagnosis and treatment is required to reduce the risk of cancer spreading to other parts of the body.

2. STDs

The white patches can also be a sign of sexually transmitted diseases. Most likely causes would include:

a) Chlamydia, which is an STD that can also be transmitted through oral sex. Oral chlamydia symptoms will include nausea, inflamed tonsils, fever, lack of appetite, a persistent sore throat and white patches and blotches inside mouth

b) Syphilis infection caused by a bacterium Treponema pallidum. It is an STD transmitted through unprotected sex and cuts on the skin and the mucous membrane lining your mouth.

c) Gonorrhea it the other STD that can cause white or yellow patches on your oral cavity

d) Oral herpes marked by symptoms such as mouth sores, swollen gums, swollen nodes and whitish coating on tonsils is the other possible STD.

3. Infected tonsils

Tonsillitis is an inflammation of the tonsils. The infection can be caused by a viral or a bacterial infection. It is a common infection in children, teenagers, and young adults.

Common causes of infected tonsils are caused by a viral infection such as common cold and influenza. In rare cases, the infection can be caused by a strain of bacteria called group A streptococcus bacteria.

According to NHS, there is no specific treatment for infected tonsils. You can, however, be able to reduce the symptoms by:

  • Taking ibuprofen to relieve the pain
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Getting enough rest to give your body enough time to fight the infection.

4. Strep throat

Strep throat is a bacterial infection caused by Streptococcus when this infection is not treated, the bacterium can spread to other parts of the body lead to complications such as rheumatic fever and sinus infection.

According to the center for disease control and prevention, strep throat is a common infection, especially in children. When it is the cause of the white spots, you are likely to develop other symptoms such as:

  • A sore throat
  • Swollen glands around neck
  • Fever and headache

5. Oral thrush

This is a fungal infection in the mouth, though it can affect anyone, this infection is common in children. In both children and adult, it can occur as a side effect of medication such as oral steroids.

Apart from children, people with weak or compromised immune system are at an increased risk of developing this condition. In most of the case, the white spots are the only sign, other symptoms may, however, include: a sore throat, painful swelling, and loss of taste.

White patches, spots on throat

When the white patches are also occurring on the back of the throat, the most likely causes will include the following:

6.  Oral candidiasis

Oral candidiasis is an infection caused by yeast. This infection is common in old people, babies and those with a weak or compromised immune system, this includes people with HIV/AIDs among others.

Other risk factors for this condition include being overweight and having a pre-existing condition like diabetes.

Oral candidiasis can have a variety of causes which will include excessive use of medication such as antibiotics, corticosteroids and birth control pills in some women.

Treatment may vary depending on what the underlying cause is. In most of the cases, a course of antifungals can be effective in treating the condition.

7. Pharyngitis

This is the inflammation of the pharynx at the back of the throat. This condition is most often referred to simply as sore throat. Pharyngitis can be caused by a bacterial or viral infection.

The inflammation can cause scratchiness and difficulties when swallowing. Most cases are reported during colder months of the year. According to the American osteopathic association, pharyngitis-induced sore throat is a common reason for doctor’s visit.

Symptoms of this infection include sneezing, running nose, body aches, chills and fever, swollen lymph nodes among others.

8. Infectious mononucleosis

Also called mono, infectious mononucleosis is a viral infection caused by Epstein-Barr virus. This virus affects certain blood cells.

It is at times referred to as the kissing disease. The virus can be transmitted through saliva, it can thus be transmitted through kissing, cough or sneezing or by sharing utensils with an infected person.

Proper treatment is required to minimize the risk of complication. See your healthcare provider if you notice the following symptoms:  fatigue, high fever, swollen node in armpit and around neck, swollen tonsils and a swollen spleen

White lumps at the back of throat

When occurring as white lumps on the back of the throat, the spots are likely to be a sign of the following conditions:

9. Leukoplakia

Leukoplakia is thickened, white patches that form on gums, inner cheeks, the floor of the mouth and on the tongue. The actual cause of these patches is unknown, but doctors believe chronic irritation of tobacco to be a likely cause.

Leukoplakia lumps are noncancerous, however, if you notice persistent changes in your mouth, you may need to see your primary care physicians as soon as possible. Leukoplakia is not always painful and may at times go unnoticed for a while.

Leukoplakia causes the following symptoms:

  • White patches that cannot be scraped away
  • Hard area on the gums, throat and inner mouth lining
  • Red, raised lesions

10. Tonsils stones

Also called tonsilliths, tonsil stones are calcium deposits that form in small cracks in your tonsils. These small white lumps at the back of the throat may occur due to a buildup of food particles, bacteria, and mucus.

The accumulation of the said particles may at times appear as yellow spots. The lumps may be accompanied by other symptoms such as foul smelling breath, earaches, and a sore throat.

Swollen tonsils with white spots

Swollen tonsils with white spots are a possible sign of tonsillitis. This condition can be caused by either a viral or bacterial infection.

When your tonsils are swollen with white spots, this can be a sign that you need to see your doctor. Tonsillitis involves the risk of complications such as lymphadenitis, rheumatism, polyarthritis, and pyelonephritis.

Swollen tonsils are common in children, with other common symptoms involving the following:

  • White or yellow coating on the tonsils
  • Swollen tonsils
  • Pain while swallowing
  • Swollen glands on neck
  • Bad breath
  • A sore throat
  • Drooling

Appropriate treatment will depend on the cause. In cases of a severe swelling, a surgical procedure may be required to remove the tonsils. Antibiotics may be recommended in cases where the inflammation is caused by a bacteria.

How to get rid of white spots on tonsils, treatment

A medical examination may be required to identify the actual cause of the spots. The diagnosis may at times involve a blood test and a throat culture.

The blood test is performed to identify the presence of some antibodies which will then help establish what the specific cause might be.

Treating to get rid of the white spots on tonsils may vary depending on the actual underlying cause. For example, a surgical procedure may be required to get rid of tonsil stones.

Unless caused by a bacterial infection, your healthcare will most likely not prescribe an antibiotic. At home, there are some things you could do to get rid of the white spots on throat and on tonsils.

  • You can drink warm drinks to relieve the pain in throat
  • Over the counter pain, relievers can also be used to ease the pain caused by the inflammation
  • Have enough rest to allow your body and immune system fight off the infection
  • You can also reduce throat swelling and irritation using a humidifier
  • Gargling with warm, salty water can help soothe a sore throat which is a common symptom that might accompany the white patches.
  • you will need to avoid irritants such as smoke especially if you smoke

Sources:

  1. Health line, What leads to white spots on the tonsils? https://www.healthline.com/health/white-spots-on-tonsils#overview1
  2. Medical news today, What causes white spots on tonsils: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/317891.php
  3. What do white spots on tonsils mean? https://www.std-gov.org/blog/white-spots-on-tonsils/
  4. Mayo clinic, Swollen tonsils: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/tonsillitis/basics/treatment/con-20023538?p=1

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