White Spots on Throat or Tonsils : Causes and Treatments

Having white spots on your throat or tonsils is troublesome. These white patches on throat can indicate numerous medical conditions, ranging from the minor tonsil infections to major diseases.

White spots on your tonsils or throat could have many different causes. Usually, the white patches clear up on its own. But sometimes, treatment is needed to remove the white spots on your throat. The white spots can be treated depends on the cause. White spots caused due to minor infections can be easily treated at home. In extreme cases, tonsils can be removed surgically.

If your white spots at the back of throat last for a longer time, difficult during swallowing and are very painful, you should consult your doctor to recover from it. If the white spots on throat cause swelling of the tonsils and you are having trouble breathing, get immediate medical help from your doctor.

Symptoms for White Spots on Throat

An irregular white discoloration or patches may appear on the tonsils or around the tonsils is one of the major symptoms. And white spots on the tonsils includes the following symptoms,

  • Bad breath
  • Body aches and pains
  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Pain while swallowing
  • Sneezing
  • Sore throat
  • Nasal Congestion or Blocked Nose
  • Swelling of the lymph nodes
  • Throat discomfort

white spots on throat tonsils

What Causes White Spots on your Throat?

There are many causes for the white spots on the throat or at the back of the throat. Let’s see the causes in detail.

1. Strep throat

Strep throat is a bacterial infection caused by a bacteria named Streptococcus bacteria. It causes inflammation and severe pain in the throat. Sore or red throat with white patches is the major symptom of this illness.

Even though it affects the person of all ages, it is more common among children’s between the age group 5-15. Strep throat is highly contagious. It spreads from one person to another during Sneezing and coughing.

2. Tonsil stones

The tonsil stones or tonsilloliths can be one of the reasons for white spots on throat.

Tonsil stones are white or yellow formations that are to be found on or within the tonsils.

Your tonsils are made up of crevices, passageways, and tonsil crypts. Various types of remains such as food particles, mucus, saliva, and dead cells can get trapped and build up in these crevices. Later, bacteria and fungi feed on the remains and create a bad odor. This formation of remains on the tonsils is called as tonsil stones.

3. Tonsillitis

Tonsillitis is inflammation of the tonsils. It is caused by a viral or a bacterial infection. It is common among children, teens and young adults.

The symptoms of tonsillitis include a sore throat, swollen tonsils, earache, white spots on the tonsils or throat, difficulty swallowing, headache, coughing, pain, and fever.

4. Oral Thrush or Yeast Infection or Oral Yeast

Oral thrush can also cause the painful white bump on the back of the throat. The inflamed, red, white or black patches on the tongue and throat could be a sign of thrush. Mostly bump appears on side of the tongue and back of the throat.

You may feel burning sensation with little red bumps on your tongue or white bumps on the back of the tongue and throat. The signs also include swollen gums, white patches at the roof of the mouth and large bumps.

5. Oral herpes

Oral herpes is a common infection of the mouth area. It is commonly called as Cold sore or Fever blister or Oral herpes simplex or Herpes labialis or Herpes simplex. It is caused by the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). Due to oral herpes, you may experience the white patches of pus around the tonsils.

It creates itching on lips, sores on the lips and white spots back of the throat, etc.

6. Candidiasis

It is a fungal infection caused by the yeasts.

Candidiasis that develops in the throat is called oropharyngeal candidiasis or thrush. The symptoms include white plaques on the tongue, white patches on the tonsils and other oral mucous membranes. This type of yeast infection is common among unhealthy people.

7. Infectious mononucleosis

It is a highly contagious viral infection, commonly caused by the Epstein–Barr virus (EBV). This infection is also termed as mono or glandular fever. It can cause white spots on your tonsils and in your throat. The symptoms include swollen tonsils, fatigue, sore throat, enlarged tonsils, and swollen lymph glands.

8. Leukoplakia

Leukoplakia is a white or gray patches that develop in the mouth. It is characterized by white spots in the mouth or on the throat, and at the roof of the mouth. Usually, the white bump on tonsil caused by leukoplakia are not painful and sometimes increase the risk of mouth cancer.

Treatments for White Spots on your Throat

The treatments for white spots on your tonsils depends on the causes.

  • If the white spots on tonsils are caused by a virus, then the white spots should clear up on their own. No need of any treatment to remove those white pus pockets from tonsils.
  • If the white spots on the back of the throat are caused by a bacterial or yeast infection, your doctor may suggest antibiotics or antifungal medications.

1. Tonsil stones

Treatment to remove tonsil stones is not needed. Your body will naturally eliminate the stones.

You can try methods such as eating crunchy foods and crackers and spraying salt water to clean up the white spots on the throat.

2. Tonsillitis 

Depends on viral or bacterial infection, antibiotics are recommended to cure tonsillitis. Apart from antibiotics, a white bump in the throat can be eased with below home remedies.

Home treatment includes

  • A complete rest
  • Saltwater Gargling
  • A liquid diet if you feel difficult in swallowing

If tonsillitis is frequent, then minor surgery is necessary to remove the tonsils.

3. Infectious mononucleosis

The treatment for white stuff on tonsils due to infectious mononucleosis needs some medications and home treatments.

For severe inflammation, your doctor may suggest corticosteroids and ibuprofen as over the counter medication. The home remedies for white spots on the throat includes a good rest and to drink a lot of fluids to stay hydrated.

4. Strep Throat

The white dots on throat due to strep throat can only be diagnosed with a throat culture. A doctor may prescribe antibiotics. Over the counter medications such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen are also recommended to reduce the throat swelling and pain.

Salt water gargling is the best home remedy to cure white spots on throat due to strep throat.

5. Oral Thrush

Usually, antifungal medications are suggested to treat oral thrush. Nystatin is the commonly prescribed antifungal medication. Your doctor may prescribe the oral medications such as fluconazole or itraconazole.

To prevent the yeast from spreading beyond your mouth, try the below home remedies.

  • Gargling salt water
  • Rinsing your mouth with water

6. Treating herpes

Unfortunately, there is no cure for herpes. Any one of the anti-viral medications such acyclovir, valacyclovir, famciclovir may be prescribed by your doctor to reduce the symptoms.

7. Candidiasis

If the white spots on the throat are caused by candidiasis, the anti-fungal medications are necessary to treat it. The salt water gargling can also help eliminate the fungus and keep it from spreading.

8. Leukoplakia

Avoid Alcohol and stop the use of any tobacco products to clear those white spots on the throat. Some larger white patches can be removed by a laser treatment.

In a nutshell,

White spots on your tonsils or throat could have many different causes. Usually, the white patches clear up on its own. But sometimes, treatment is needed to remove the white spots on your throat. The white spots can be treated depends on the cause. In extreme cases, tonsils can be removed surgically.

If your white spots at the back of throat last for a longer time, difficult during swallowing and are very painful, you should consult your doctor to recover from it. If the white spots on throat cause swelling of the tonsils and you are having trouble breathing, get immediate medical help from your doctor.

About the author

Jessica West

She graduated with a Master’s Degree in Nutrition & Dietetics. She bridges the gap between science and real-world application by applying the latest research into his writing. She focusing on diet, exercise and weight management articles for AskMyHealth. She enjoys extensive traveling and stays fit by practicing yoga, doing body weight exercises and hiking.

Leave a Comment