Whenever white spots on throat appear, it is usually a cause for concern and not a normal occurrence. Often times, white spots on throat are caused by an infectious pathogen, so medical treatment is required in order to reduce the risk of complications and rid yourself of the white spots on throat.
Here, we will outline the possible causes and treatments for white spots on throat along with some home remedies you can try in order to speed up recovery and ease symptoms.
White spots on throat symptoms
The accompanying symptoms one may experience with white spots on throat depend on the cause. Some symptoms may include throat pain, hoarseness, difficulty swallowing, dry throat, pus on tonsils, red and fiery throat, coughing, breathlessness, body pain, enlargement of lymph nodes, vomiting, loss of appetite, and irritation of the eyes.
White spots on throat: Causes and treatments
Strep throat: Strep throat can cause white spots on throat. Strep throat is more serious than pharyngitis because it is brought on by the strep bacteria, which can cause extreme sore throat, fever, difficulty swallowing, chills, and in some causes nausea and vomiting.
To treat strep throat, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics. If strep throat is left untreated it can get progressively worse, and the bacteria may even enter the bloodstream making the condition deadly.
Tonsillolith/tonsil stones: Tonsil stones are hardened white deposits of fragments compiled of bacteria, food particles, dead cells, and mucus. Tonsils normally contain cells to fight off infection, but they can still become infected when the tonsil stones get trapped.
Common symptoms of tonsil stones include bad breath and ear aches. The good news is that tonsil stones don’t normally require treatment, but if they cause discomfort or distress your doctor may have to remove your tonsils.
Tonsillitis: Tonsillitis is the inflammation of the tonsils, accompanied by fever and swallowing difficulty. Pus inside the white spots on tonsils indicates either a bacterial or a viral infection. Other symptoms of tonsillitis include headache, stiff neck, and fever.
If the cause of the infection is bacterial, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics. If tonsillitis is recurring, then your doctor will remove your tonsils.
Oral thrush: Oral thrush is a fungal infection in the mouth and throat area. The fungus responsible for oral thrush is candida albicans – yeast infection. We always have some level of candida albicans in our body, but when the levels rise and there is an imbalance that is when infection can occur. White spots will develop along the cheeks and tongue, so your taste will be altered.
Oral herpes: Oral herpes can be spread by kissing, oral sex, or sharing utensils with someone who has herpes. It can cause sores on the lips and white spots on the throat which can be recurring. Antiviral medications can treat oral herpes and soothe symptoms but, as mentioned, it can reoccur.
Candidiasis: This is a form of a fungal infection that is generally rare, but more commonly seen in those with weakened immune systems. This is usually treated with antifungal medications.
Infectious mononucleosis: Mononucleosis, also known as the kissing disease or mono, is a viral infection, which causes headache, fever, and persistent tiredness. Severe sore throat and pus-covered swollen tonsils are also characteristic of mono.
Leukoplakia: This condition is caused by a high production of cells in the mouth as well as deposits of keratin. White spots can appear on the tongue, gums, and inner mouth. Alcohol consumption and smoking can cause leukoplakia and won’t go away with brushing or scraping of the tongue. Although it is typically not dangerous, a patch can become cancerous.
Drugs: Frequent use of drugs like aspirin can cause white spots on throat, especially if the medication is chewed instead of swallowed.
Chemical exposure: Being exposed to chemicals can cause white spots on throat and should prompt you to see a doctor as inhaling chemicals can be dangerous. If you work in an area where you are exposed to chemicals, make sure to use protective gear to prevent inhalation.
Others: Other causes of white spots on throat include blockages, abscesses, and chemical injury.
White patches on throat: Complications
Complications of white patches on throat are linked to their underlying cause. Some potential complications include rheumatic fever, which is a complication of strep throat, sepsis, severe difficulty breathing, sudden swelling of the tongue or throat, and vomiting.
It’s always important to have your white spots on throat checked by your doctor to determine the underlying cause, so you can receive the appropriate treatment to avoid complications.
How to get rid of white spots on throat naturally
If the cause of white spots on your throat has been specifically identified as bacteria or fungus, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics or antifungal medications as a treatment. If your condition is caused by a virus or something else non-threatening, there are some general recommendations you can use in order to get rid of the white spots on throat.
- Get plenty of rest
- Gargle salt water
- Drink warm or cold fluids to ease throat pain
- Eat smooth foods like ice cream or yogurt
- Use a cool mist humidifier in your room
- Suck on lozenges
- Use over-the-counter pain relievers
- Avoid irritating foods, like spicy food, chips, raw vegetables, highly acidic food, etc.
- Avoid smoking
- Use a cotton swab to dislodge tonsil stones
- Limit alcohol consumption
By implementing some of these tips, you can get rid of the white spots on tonsils, as well as reduce the associated pain.