Tonsils are gland-like structures located at the back of your throat. You can actually see them by opening your mouth wide enough and looking in the mirror. They are a part of the lymphatic system. Experts argue that tonsils aren’t of much added advantage. In fact, people who have had their tonsils removed are no more likely to catch bacterial or viral infections.
Sometimes, white spots develop on the tonsils. This is mostly in the event of an oral infection. The white spots can be localized on the tonsils or appear throughout the mouth. This article examines the common causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment options for white lumps on the tonsils.
Causes of white lump on tonsil
People with weakened immunity are at higher risks of developing white lumps on their tonsils. This is largely because the lumps are mostly due to viral, fungal and bacterial infections. Lump on neck child symptoms associated with bacterial or viral infections are also usually deadly. Medical help is therefore of much importance. Below are the common causes of a white lump on the tonsils:
Strep throat gets its name from the strain of bacteria that causes it (streptococcus bacteria). The infection is usually accompanied by other symptoms such as fever, sore throat and chills. Patients also experience difficulty swallowing. Strep throat is treated with antibiotics. If left untreated, strep throat can be deadly. This is because bacteria responsible for the infection will gain access into the body with time. First symptoms of spreading infection include hard painful lump under armpit due to swollen lymph nodes.
Pharyngitis is almost similar to strep throat. However, it is caused by a virus. This means that treatment involves use of antiviral medications.
Tonsil stones form when dead cells, bacteria and other forms of dirt accumulate and harden in tonsils. The condition is normally characterized by bad breath, lump in throat feeling when swallowing, ear pain and swelling of the tonsils. Tonsil stones rarely require medical treatment. If necessary, the tonsils can be removed by a doctor.
If you notice white spots on your tongue, tonsils and on the linings of inner cheeks, you are most likely dealing with oral thrush. It is a fungal infection that develops when a natural fungal strain found in the body grows out of control.
Tonsillitis is inflammation of the tonsils. It is mostly a bacterial infection but can also be viral. Common symptoms include swelling of tonsils, ear pain, pain when swallowing, stiff neck and fever. Pus formation is also common.
Also known as the ‘kissing disease’, it is a viral infection that is transmitted through saliva. Patients experience formation of white spots filled with pus on tonsils. Headaches, fever, fatigue and swelling of lymph nodes are other common symptoms.
White spots due to this infection start as sores in mouth and spread to the tonsils. If touched, the white spots will bleed and be painful.
Diphtheria is a bacterial infection that attacks the respiratory cavity. Other than white spots on tonsils, patients will also experience difficulty in swallowing, swollen lymph nodes and fever. Diphtheria is usually characterized by formation of a sole white patch on tonsils.
Leukoplakia is not a common cause of white lumps on the tonsils. It is common in smokers and people who chew tobacco.
STDs such as herpes, gonorrhea and Chlamydia may cause white spots on your tonsils. Normally, STDs will be accompanied by other symptoms such as sore throat, fever, nausea, itchiness and swollen lymph nodes.
Tonsillar cancer or cancer of tonsils is characterized by formation of a white lump on tonsils that doesn’t heal. In most cases, the lump will not be painful and will keep increasing in mass. Other symptoms may include fever, loss of weight, voice hoarseness and swollen lymph nodes. Other than tonsillar cancer, other types can also lead to formation of a lump on tonsils, but rarely. If left untreated, cancer cells usually spread to other body parts. Patients may therefore notice symptoms such as painful lump under nipple, lump under chin and so on.
Other possible causes of white lump on tonsils
Allergies such as post-nasal drip can lead to development of white spots on your tonsils. Much the same can be said about irritants, including ill-fitting dentals.
You can also notice white patches on your tonsils after using certain medications such as aspirin. These types of white spots are quite harmless.
Benign growths are rare but possible on tonsils and oral cavity. A hard bony lump on roof of mouth is a good example.
Symptoms of white lumps on tonsils
Specific symptoms depend on the actual cause of the white lumps. Fever, pain and swollen lymph nodes are common when an infection or disease is involved.
Tonsil stones can develop without any other notable symptom. Patients will only notice white lumps on their tonsils. This can be better illustrated with white lumps on tonsils pictures.
Viral infections sometimes cause white spots on tonsils without pain. The same happens with malignant growths. For this reason, always ensure to report a painless white lump on your tonsils to your doctor. You find that malignant tumors are more treatable if diagnosed early enough.
Diagnosis and treatment for white lump on tonsil
Diagnosis can simply be done at home by comparing with white lumps on tonsils pictures. Such are abundantly available online. This can be aided by checking and comparing the symptoms.
In a clinic, your doctor will perform a physical examination. If necessary, blood tests will be performed. A throat culture can also be used to check for the presence of antibodies.
Treatment depends on the actual cause of the white lumps. Antibacterial and antiviral medications are used for bacterial and viral infections, respectively.
Tonsil stones can be removed by getting rid of the tonsils. As mentioned earlier, tonsils have not been identified to play a vital role in body’s defense system.
For yeast infections such as oral thrush, your doctor will prescribe antifungal medications.
Removal of white lump on tonsil at home
Several home treatments will prove effective in regards to treatment of white lumps on tonsils. They include:
- Allowing yourself enough rest and sleep. This allows your immune system to fight off infections
- Gargling salt water
- Getting relief from pain killers, lozenges and OTC medications
- Using warm or cold drinks for painful lumps on tonsils
- Eradicating rough, acidic or hot food substances from your diets
- Limiting alcohol consumption and smoking
You can also use home remedies such as lemon juice, honey, turmeric and ginger tea. Lemon juice is believed to boost the immune system. Honey is a well-known antimicrobial remedy. Turmeric is a celebrated anti-inflammatory remedy. It is also known for its ability to fight both viral and bacterial infections. Much the same can be said about ginger tea. Turmeric and ginger tea can be used both orally and directly. They can be of much help when also dealing with other forms of lumps such as a soft lump on top of foot caused by an abscess for example.
It is also important that you maintain oral hygiene.
When to see a doctor
Chances are high that a white lump on the tonsils will resolve on its own. Less than 5% of such lumps will develop into cancer lumps. All the same, it is always important to have your doctor’s take on the matter.
See your doctor for lumps that persist for more than 2 weeks. This also includes lumps that contain pus, are painful, are accompanied by symptoms of infection and are causing swollen lymph nodes.
If you have a history of cancer, make sure to check with your doctor immediately you notice a painless sole lump on your tonsil.