White Spots on Throat: Top 10 Causes with Treatments

White spots, found in throat either in children or adults always bewilder, especially if you haven’t dealt with them before. If you notice something like that, don’t panic and study available materials on the topic. This article is for everyone, who wonders which medical condition white spots discovered in your throat may indicate. We don’t encourage you to practice self-treatment, no way. Even the most well-written internet material will not substitute for personal consultation with a healthcare professional and laboratory tests. However, while you are waiting for your appointment, it may be interesting to get some suggestions on what might have provoked your white spots. Here are possible causes and useful recommendations on the topic.

Sore Throat and White Spots? – Bacterial Invasion!

Inflamed throat is a common sign of infection and the most frequent reason why people contact a doctor. Usually such symptom as affected throat tissues has a viral origin. However, a bacterial infection can also occur. Remember: throat is a very vulnerable area of your organism. Along with nasal cavity, it is the first ‘bodyguard’ against the invasion of viruses and bacteria. Very red throat with white or yellow spots at its back are typical for inflamed throat, caused by bacterial infections. Such inflammation develops fast, tonsils swell, get irritated and sensitive, and you may also have a fever or a headache.

White Spots on Tonsils: Why Do They Occur?

When any pathogen (i.e. viruses, bacteria, yeasts, etc.) gets in your mucous membranes, your body starts to develop an infectious process. White spots may occur on tonsils as a result of bacterial, viral, yeast infection or due to calcified clusters on them. Streptococcal throat infection is the most frequent throat infection of the bacterial origin. Being detected less frequently than viral throat inflammations, it still can be dangerous due to possible complications, for instance, glomerulonephritis (renal disease) or rheumatic inflammation, associated with heart, brain, skin and joint diseases. Below you will find conditions, which may be accompanied by white spots on throat.

White Marks on Throat: Causes and Treatments

1. Tonsil stones (tonsilloliths)

white spots on throat pictures

This disease looks like white dots on tonsils, which may be invisible as well, however, they can cause a difficulty in swallowing and pain, bad breath and metallic taste in the mouth. Tonsil stones appear when hardened food, mucus and bacteria stick to the tonsillar crypts. Tonsils have the ability to self-clean, so if you don`t feel any discomfort, treatment is not needed. If your throat with white dots aches, follow simple prescriptions. Eating dry crackers can help to remove the tonsil stones, as food like this makes your tongue work actively, as well as muscles on the larynx side. Irrigation with warm salty water can also help: take a bottle from nasal spray and spray the following solution on the tonsils – take ½ teaspoon of salt for a nasal spray bottle of water. If these solutions don’t work, tonsil stones can be always removed by laser.

2. Pharyngitis

what does strep throat look like

This throat inflammation, triggered by bacterial or viral infection, has the following symptoms: throat pain, fever, increased lymph nodes in the neck, congestion. Fortunately, in most cases pharyngitis passes by itself or after the antibiotics therapy (Penicillin, Amoxicillin), application of analgesics (Tylenol, Ibuprofen) or local anesthetics (Cepacol, Trocaine). However, sometimes it can progress to more severe form. Seek for medical attention immediately if you notice white spots on the back of your throat, tongue or mouth cavity and have persistent cough, especially if your symptoms don’t subside or reoccur from time to time, although you apply treatment properly.

3. Streptococcal angina

white spots in back of throat

Pain in the throat when swallowing, throat lumps, white spots on throat, raised body temperature and general weakness are characteristic symptoms of angina. Presently angina is caused by various microorganisms, streptococcus being the most widespread of them. Streptococcal angina can trigger rheumatic fever in 1-2 weeks. Rheumatism is a culprit of not only joints pathologies. It also contributes to the development of acquired heart troubles. You may suspect streptococcal angina if your tonsils have white spots on them. Treatment for this condition includes antibacterial medications (penicillin class) following bicillin prevention therapy.

4. Infectious mononucleosis

sore throat with white spots

This acute infectious disease manifests itself through enlarged lymph nodes, fever, sore throat and changes in the chemical blood composition. Mononucleosis makes throat very red, painful, often without any spots, but with swollen lymph glands. Sometimes, quite rarely though, infectious mononucleosis leads to pus abscesses formation in throat that look like white patches and can be very dangerous. Teenagers and adolescents have this disease more frequently than adults. Treatment with antibiotics can be applied only in case of bacterial complications.

5. Oral candidiasis

white patches on throat

1-year-old babies and adults with a weak immune system may have this symptom due to oral candidiasis. Its direct trigger is Candida yeast. When propagating, it forms white colonies, resembling cottage cheese. At initial stages these white spots localize on the cheeks’ mucous membrane and don’t cause any pain. If this condition is neglected, white spots spread to tonsils and soft palate. In such a case the patient needs complex treatment: rubbing rashes with soda solution, irrigating mouth cavity with anti-fungal medications and sometimes fungicide drugs, which are taken orally. Strict hygienic regime plays an important role as well: ironing clothes and bed lining for babies, washing child’s toys with soda solution, etc. In adults oral thrush often develops in the background of various chronic diseases, leading to immune system suppression, such as diabetes, leukemia, AIDS.

6. Throat (oral) herpes

white bumps on throat

This infection is caused by either herpes simplex virus type 1 or type 2 and reveals as cold sores on lips, which can also appear in the mouth or throat. Oral herpes spreads through kissing or oral sex. Characteristic fever blisters in the mouth and on lips, and white spots on the back of the throat, often reoccurring, indicate that you are dealing specifically with this condition. The sores may be invisible yet the virus can still be transmitted during the oral sex if one of sexual partners is the bearer of genital or oral herpes. Prescription medications for oral herpes include famciclovir, acyclovir and valtrex. They help to ease the symptoms, although the herpes virus itself isn’t curable. Once a person gets it, it may reoccur up to 4 times a year.

7. Syphilis infections

white dots on throat

They can also cause white spots on throat, which in some time turn red. This symptom is accompanied by other sores on the body, rashes, joint pain and malaise. Syphilis is treated with antibiotics.

8. Leukoplakia

sore throat with white spots

White spots in the mouth and on throat occur when epithelium becomes keratinized. Such a condition precedes cancer in 20% of cases. Smoking and chewing tobacco are among the most widespread risk factors. Spots may appear anywhere in the mouth cavity, including gums or tongue. Their formation takes weeks and even months, and finally they appear as the abnormally fast cell division. This can develop due to poorly adjusted dental prosthesis, cheek biting habit or other irritations. Leukoplakia may develop as a reaction to the new mouthwash oral solution or toothpaste, containing antiseptic sanguinarine.

9. Chemical exposure

white spots

It can also lead to white patches at the back of your throat. Seek for immediate medical help if you have been exposed to chemicals and have any unusual symptoms like white spots or others.

10. Harmless causes

Did you know that even taking aspirin frequently, especially chewing it instead of simply swallowing may cause white spots in your throat which look like burns?

Doctors claim there’s no other organ or tissue that gets so easily affected as mouth mucous membrane. If any infection gets there, it can easily spread to the throat as well. If you’ve got suspicious white spots in this area, it’s high time for you to visit a doctor, as they can be an abnormal symptom. Remember that medical conditions are treated much easier when they are detected early.

Recommended reading:

4 Causes For Having White Patches On Throat

White Spots On Back Of Throat – How They Can Be Treated

White Dots On Throat. Treatment Of Tonsils And Pharynx Against Appearance Of White Dots

White Bumps On Throat – Matter Or Something Else? Causes And Treatment

Sore Throat With White Spots. Tonsillitis, Pharyngitis Or Pharyngomycosis?

What Does Strep Throat Look Like? Signs And Symptoms

How Long Does Strep Throat Last? Symptoms Of Pharyngitis And Methods Of Its Treatment

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