What Can Cause White Spots On Tonsils? The Most Common Causes

Tonsils present assembly of lymphadenoid tissue. They can be infected by viruses, bacteria, and fungi. To find out the cause of white spots on tonsils; it is necessary to visit an otolaryngologist since various diseases might feature similar symptoms while their treatment is totally different. After all, the main reason for visiting a clinic is receiving adequate therapy, aimed at complete recovery.

Tonsils are considered to be immune organs, located around the pharynx in a peculiar circle. They have loose glandulous structure and perform a number of important functions:

  • Blood formation – lymphocytes are regenerated in tonsils;
  • Protective function – the so-called scavenger cells, residing in tonsils, are the first to “fight” any infection, that penetrates the oral cavity.
  • Informative function – the data about infectious agents is preserved on the surface of tonsils, which is useful for the subsequent stages of protection;
  • Humoral – tonsils are the place, where interferon and lysozyme (a natural antiseptic) are being produced in abundance;
  • Neuroreflectory – tonsils’ activity is closely related to the performance of the heart and other organs.

what causes white spots on tonsils

There are several diseases, which are able to cause inflammation of tonsils and occurrence of white spots on them. Almost all of such diseases are accompanied by sore throat, and the majority of them are rather virulent with regard to the possibility of complication due to the affection of other organs (for example, of the throat in case of diphtheria, or the heart and kidneys in case of tonsillitis).

Tonsillitis, as the cause of white spots on tonsils

Acute tonsillitis, commonly referred to as quinsy, is considered to be bacterial (most often streptococcal) inflammation of tonsils. It is characterized by acute pain during swallowing, fever and deterioration of general well-being (especially in children).

white spots on tonsils

We distinguish between catarrhal, lacunar, follicular, fusospirochetal (Vincent’s disease) and necrotic tonsillitis. Lacunar and follicular tonsillitis, unlike other types, are accompanied by the occurrence of white spots on tonsils. Catarrhal tonsillitis is about swelling and reddening of glands while the last mentioned two variants provoke a severe condition, with erosions, covered by gray and brown membranes.

We also distinguish between variants of the development of tonsillitis:

  • On the background of blood diseases (agranulocytosis, monocytosis, leukosis);
  • Influenced by a symbiosis of microorganisms of fusiform bacteria and spirochetes (Vincent’s angina);
  • Due to viral “kissing disease” – infectious mononucleosis.

The clinical picture of these pathologies is slightly different; therefore, it is required to consult an otolaryngologist, who will identify the type of tonsillitis, and define the volume of therapy. It is important to keep in mind; that all the subtypes of this disease require exclusively antibiotic therapy, as long as renouncing antibiotics may lead to the development of the above-mentioned complications.

Characteristic features of white spots on tonsils, caused by chronic tonsillitis

white patches on tonsils

Chronic tonsillitis can be observed in people with weakened immune resistance and presence of chronic nidi (sites) of infection (caries, pulpitis, pharyngitis, maxillary sinusitis, sinusitis, etc.).

The distinctive feature of chronic follicular tonsillitis is formation of plugs. Follicles (structural units of tonsils), previously filled with matter, eventually turn into bags with necrotized caseous matter.

The treatment of this disease should be prescribed by an ENT specialist. Apart from local removal of plugs (including excision of tonsils – tonsillectomy), the treatment must include general medication for the reinforcement of the immune system, and antibiotics for the prevention of chronic inflammatory processes, flaring up in the organism.

What else can cause white spots on tonsils? Diphtheria

white bump on tonsil

This is a very virulent disease. Its set of symptoms resembles that of lacunar tonsillitis, all the while featuring a range of differences:

  • Diphtheria develops eventually while tonsillitis takes a rapid course;
  • Significant intoxication – the patient may experience dizziness and retching, which is never observed in tonsillitis;
  • Skin on the face remains pale even despite high body temperature, which hardly ever goes beyond 39°, whereas tonsillitis can be accompanied by even higher marks;
  • Rapid, but weak pulse.
  • Usually, diphtheria involves a unilateral process – membranes from the inflamed tonsil are hard to be removed, leaving erosion after removal;
  • Lymph nodes are enlarged only from one side, corresponding to inflammation.

Differential diagnostics of these diseases should, by all means, be trusted to a specialist, which should additionally carry out all the necessary testing. The treatment of this disease depends on its stage and always assumes intake of antibiotics. Besides, injection of a specific serum, will be required.

Pharyngomycosis, which can cause white spots on tonsils

Oral dysbacteriosis, accompanied by the “rebel” of Candida, as well as Leptothrix threat bacterium infection are the most common causes of pharyngo mycosis.

Microfocal white eruption on tonsils is typical to Candidiasis, while leptothrix is characterized by appearance of bumps on the mucous membrane. The first pathology involves painful sensations, whereas the second is almost asymptomatic.

white dots on tonsils

In the case of any of these diseases, it is required to consult both an otolaryngologist and an immunologist. Since as a rule, any type of the fungal inflammation points to immune deficiency to this or that extent.

Thus, one should visit a doctor to find out the actual cause of white spots on tonsils since, in some cases, it appears to be impossible to track this process without additional testing. However, it is the etiology that determines the algorithm, advisability and effectiveness of the treatment.