White spots can be seen on the tonsils with a variety of medical conditions, most commonly infections of the tonsils. The tonsils can be involved in bacterial infections, such as strep throat, or viral infections such as infectious mononucleosis. A white coating on the tonsils is typical of many infections. Leukoplakia causes thick white patches on the inside surface of the mouth and can be related to injury or irritation. A cancer of the tonsils is rare but could cause a nodule or spot on a tonsil. Depending on the cause, white spots on the tonsils can be associated with signs and symptoms like
Other causes of white spots on tonsils
- Fungal Infections
- Viral Infections
Pictures, Images, Illustrations & Quizzes
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Picture of HIV/AIDS
Acronym for the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, the cause of AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). See a picture of HIV/AIDS...
Picture of Infectious Mononucleosis
"Mono" and "kissing disease" are popular terms for this very common illness caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). See a picture...
Picture of Infectious Mononucleosis
A specific viral infection (with the Epstein-Barr virus) in which there is an increase of white blood cells that are mononuclear...
Picture of Strep Throat
Strep infection often produces a distinct pattern of white patches in the throat and on the tonsils, as well as red swollen...
Picture of Tonsil Stones
Tonsil stones (also called tonsilloliths) form when bacteria and mucus get trapped and calcify in your tonsils' nooks and...
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Causes of White Spots on Tonsils
AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome)
AIDS is the advanced stage of HIV infection. Symptoms and signs of AIDS include pneumonia due to Pneumocystis jiroveci, tuberculosis, toxoplasmosis, seizures, weakness, meningitis, yeast infection of the esophagus, and Kaposi's sarcoma. Anti-retroviral therapy (HAART) is used in the treatment of AIDS.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) infection left untreated causes AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). Still incurable, AIDS describes immune system collapse that opens the way for opportunistic infections and cancers to kill the patient. Early symptoms and signs of HIV infection include flu-like symptoms and fungal infections, but some people may not show any symptoms for years. Highly active antiretroviral therapy (ART) is the standard treatment for HIV infection. These combination drug regimens have made HIV much less deadly, but a cure or vaccine for the pandemic remains out of reach. HIV is usually transmitted through sexual contact or sharing IV drug needles, but can also infect someone through contact with infected blood. Sexual abstinence, safe sex practices, quitting IV drugs (or at least using clean needles), and proper safety equipment by clinicians and first responders can drastically reduce transmission rates for HIV/AIDS.
Infectious Mononucleosis (Mono)
Infectious mononucleosis is a virus infection in which there is an increase of white blood cells that are mononuclear (with a single nucleus) "Mono" and "kissing disease" are popular terms for this very common illness caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV).
Leukoplakia is a white or gray patch that develops on the tongue or inside the cheek. Causes of Leukoplakia may include irritation from rough teeth fillings or crowns, chronic smoking, sun exposure to the lips, or HIV or AIDS.
The term oral cancer includes cancer of the mouth (oral cavity) and the back of the mouth (oropharynx). Red and white patches inside the mouth, bleeding, loose teeth, pain upon swallowing, a lump in the neck, earache, and a sore on your lip or in your mouth that won't heal are all symptoms of oral cancer. Treatment for oral cancer depends upon the staging of the disease and usually involves surgery, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy.
Oral Thrush in Children
Yeast infections are caused by an overgrowth of a type of fungus called Candida. Oral thrush is a yeast infection of the mouth and throat. Oral thrush and yeast infections are treated orally or topically with an antifungal antibiotic called nystatin.
Strep throat is a bacterial infection of the throat. Signs and symptoms of strep throat include headache, nausea, vomiting, sore throat, and fever. Strep throat symptoms in infants and children are different than in adults. Strep throat is contagious and is generally passed from person-to-person. Treatment for strep throat symptoms include home remedies and OTC medication; however, the only cure for strep throat are antibiotics.
Tonsil stones are small clusters of calcifications that form when food, dead cells, mucus, and bacteria get stuck in the nooks and crannies of the tonsils. Tonsil stones are hard, appear as white or yellowish formations on the tonsils, and usually smell bad due to bacteria. If symptoms occur, they may include persistent bad breath, sore throat, difficulty swallowing, ear pain, and cough.
Tonsillitis is a contagious infection with symptoms of bad breath, snoring, congestion, headache, hoarseness, laryngitis, and coughing up blood. Tonsillitis can be caused acute infection of the tonsils, and several types of bacteria or viruses (for example, strep throat or mononucleosis). There are two types of tonsillitis, acute and chronic. Acute tonsillitis lasts from one to two weeks while chronic tonsillitis can last from months to years. Treatment of tonsillitis and adenoids include antibiotics, over-the-counter medications, and home remedies to relieve pain and inflammation, for example, salt water gargle, slippery elm throat lozenges, sipping warm beverages and eating frozen foods (ice cream, popsicles), serrapeptase, papain, and andrographism Some people with chronic tonsillitis may need surgery (tonsillectomy or adenoidectomy).
What Causes an Abscess in Your Throat (Peritonsillar Abscess)?
An abscess in your throat is a collection (or pocket) of pus in the space (peritonsillar space) that lies between each tonsil and wall of the throat. Medically, it is known as peritonsillar abscess or quinsy.
Examples of Medications for White Spots on Tonsils
- acetaminophen (Tylenol, Tylenol Arthritis Pain, Tylenol Ext, Little Fevers Children's Fever/Pain)
- Augmentin (amoxicillin and clavulanic acid, Augmentin XR, Augmentin ES-600, Amoclan
- clindamycin, oral (Cleocin)
- clindamycin-oral solution, Cleocin Pediatric
- ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Nuprin)
- Penicillin (Antibiotics)
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