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 Infectious Mononucleosis
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Picture of Infectious Mononucleosis
Infectious mononucleosis. Swollen tonsils that appear red and with white lesions that may be oozing pus are a hallmark of...
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). The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a type of virus called a retrovirus, which can infect humans when it comes in contact with tissues that line the vagina, anal area, mouth, or eyes, or through a break in the skin. HIV infection is generally a slowly progressive disease in which the virus is present throughout the body at all stages of the disease. Three stages of HIV infection have been described. The initial stage of infection (primary infection), which occurs within weeks of acquiring the virus, often is characterized by the flu- or mono-like illness that generally resolves within weeks. The stage of chronic asymptomatic infection (meaning a long duration of infection without symptoms) lasts an average of eight to 10 years without treatment. The stage of symptomatic infection, in which the body's immune (or defense) system has been suppressed and complications have developed, is called the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). The symptoms are caused by the complications of AIDS, which include one or more unusual infections or cancers, severe loss of weight, and intellectual deterioration (called dementia). When HIV grows (that is, by reproducing itself), it acquires the ability to change (mutate) its own structure. These mutations enable the virus to become resistant to previously effective drug therapy. The goals of drug therapy are to prevent damage to the immune system by the HIV virus and to halt or delay the progress of the infection to symptomatic disease. Therapy for HIV includes combinations of drugs that decrease the growth of the virus to such an extent that the treatment prevents or markedly delays the development of viral resistance to the drugs. The best combination of drugs for HIV are those that effectively suppress viral replication in the blood and also are well tolerated and simple to take so that people can take the medications consistently without missing doses.
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.
Mono (Infectious Mononucleosis)
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).
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 includes home remedies and OTC medication; however, the only cure for strep throat is 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 by 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 1-2 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, saltwater 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
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