What causes inflamed tonsils? Get insights on reason for white spots on tonsils, enlarged on one side, tonsil stones, removal, how to get rid of and home remedies.

At the back of your throat, there are two masses of tissues referred to as tonsils that acts like filters, trapping germs that could instead enter your airways and cause infection. They also produce antibodies to fight infection, but sometimes the tonsils themselves may get infected causing them to swell with much pain.

Due to bacteria or viruses they become inflamed, and this condition is called tonsillitis. This condition is common especially in children and it can occur occasionally.

What do Inflamed Tonsils Look Like

inflammed tonsils causes

Inflammed tonsils pictures

This infection called tonsillitis occur in the throat. A sore throat is the most common of all tonsillitis symptoms. In addition to it you may also have a cough, high temperature or fever, headache, sickly feeling, tiredness, pain during swallowing, and swollen neck glands. All these occur when you have inflamed tonsils.

The tonsils may swell and become red. Pus may appear as white spots on the tonsils. The symptoms may get worse after 2- 3 days and then gradually go usually within a week.

Is tonsillitis contagious and infectious?

Infectious means it can cause an infection. Contagious means the infection can be spread from person to person. The infection may spread by physical contact or droplets in the air caused by the person infected coughing and sneezing.

When you cough, with colds, flu and other similar infections, there is possibilities that you can pass on the infection. In most cases, if you are in close contact with others who are not infected.

Inflamed Tonsils Causes

A term tonsillitis is used to refer to inflammation of the tonsils caused by bacterial or viral infection. The common signs are sore throat, swollen tonsils, and difficulty in swallowing, fever, swollen lymph nodes and even headache. Treatment for this inflamed tonsils will differ depending on whether the cause is bacterial or viral. Surgical removal of the tonsils [tonsillectomy] may be needed in some severe cases.

In some cases sore throat can be in company of colds and flu, tonsillitis, and strep throat.

Causes of tonsillitis

The majority cases of tonsillitis are caused by viruses, with only 15 to 30% of the cases being caused by bacterial infection.

There are many different viruses that can cause tonsillitis, with the cold virus being the most well known cause. The Epstein Barr virus, which is responsible for glandular fever, and the measles virus can cause tonsillitis. In most cases of bacterial tonsillitis are associated with a particular type of bacterium called streptococcus pyogenes, which is the one that causes strep throat.

Inflamed tonsils are contagious if the cause is bacterial and may be contagious if the cause is viral, depending on whether a person has been previously exposed to that particular virus.

Tonsils caused by streptococcus pyogenes is highly contagious and tonsillitis caused by Epstein barr virus is contagious the first time a person is infected by it. In all this cases it is important to keep steps to prevent its spread.

Signs and symptoms

A person may experience a sore throat as the first sign of a cold and may get better after a day or two. Other cold symptoms such as running nose, and congestion may follow the sore throat. The basic symptom of inflamed tonsils is a moderate to severe sore throat tasting longer than 2 days and involves inflammation of the tonsils. There are several other symptoms that may include:

  • Difficult or pain when swallowing
  • Swollen lymph nodes on the side of the neck
  • Bad breath
  • Fever and chills
  • Headache and tiredness
  • Stomach upset or pain
  • Enlarged and reddened tonsils with white spots due to pus
  • Mouth breathing, noisy breathing, and snoring [ due to blocked airways]
  • Coughing
  • Flu with red eyes.

These symptoms normally last in2 to 3 days but might take longer time even up to 2 weeks in other cases even with treatment.

Serious conditions

The streptococcus pyogenes bacteria that can cause strep throat [which is accompanied by bacterial tonsillitis] can cause more severe complications of rheumatic fever and kidney disease. For this reason it is very much important to seek medical treatment for sore throat to avoid this kind of problems in future.

The most common complication of viral inflamed tonsils appears when the infection becomes deep- seated within the tonsil resulting in a peritonsillar abscess [a collection of pus beside the tonsil]. Peritonsillar abscesses are extremely painful and if left untreated can spread into the neck, blocking the airways and becoming a life threatening problem. This usually happens to teenagers but can as well affect people in earlier ages.

Diagnosis

Examination is based on symptoms and physical observation of the throat. In addition to this directly looking at the inflamed tonsils in the throat, your GP may take a throat swab if streptococcus pyogenes infection is suspected. The throat swab is taken to the lab for culture and identification of bacteria causing the tonsillitis.

Your GP may suspect glandular fever, which is caused by the Epstein Barr virus, in a teenager or younger child with inflamed tonsils, particularly if associated with the additional symptoms of serious lethargy and tiredness, swollen glands in the neck, armpits and groin and an enlarged spleen.

Treatment

Treatment of viral tonsillitis primarily involves rest, recovery and symptom relief. It is also important to drink plenty of fluids and have regular meals [soft foods and smoothies are best].

If bacterial infection is confirm by throat culture, the doctor may prescribed antibiotics to prevent complications, particularly rheumatic fever and kidney disease. Always take the full course of the antibiotics as prescribed to prevent the infection returning and reduce the risk of getting rheumatic fever or kidney disease.

Viral tonsillitis can get better without treatment, hence it is not good to take antibiotics for viral inflamed tonsils as it will not help. Pain relief and reduction of fever can be achieved by use of over the counter drugs.

Gargling salty warm water may relieve the symptoms just as you may suck on hard sweets or throat lozenges containing ingredients that are cooling, an aesthetic, anti-septic or anti- inflammatory.

Corticosteroids may be prescribed by a doctor to reduce inflammation and swelling of the inflamed tonsils, particularly when it is making swallowing and breathing a problem.

Surgery

Due to improved care and availability of effective antibiotics has resulted to reduction of surgical removal of tonsils nowadays. However, this kind of treatment may be recommended in people who have frequent episodes of inflamed tonsils, bacterial tonsillitis that does not respond to antibiotics.

Surgery is associated with some risks, like bleeding during and after the operation in some cases. Throat pain and difficult in eating is common in the first few days after the operation too.

Peritonsillar abscesses may be drained using a needle and syringe or by making an incision with a scalpel. If the condition repeats itself then you have to opt for tonsillectomy.

Prevention

Avoid being in close contact with people who have inflamed tonsils and prevent passing on the infection if you have it. Hygiene measures should also be taken to prevent spread of infection. They include:

  • Regular and thorough washing and drying of hands
  • Using a tissue cover coughs and sneezes
  • Not sharing foods, liquids, or eating utensils or drinking utensils
  • Frequent cleaning of kitchen surfaces and bathrooms.

Inflamed Tonsils with White Spots

Inflammed tonsils causes

Inflammed tonsils with white spots

Tonsillitis may form white spots on throat which can be worrisome. There are a number of conditions that can cause white spots to appear on the inflamed tonsils and the doctor can diagnose the cause, especially when accompanied with other symptoms that you may have. These white spots are generally a sign of bacterial infection, commonly appearing on the tonsils and can cause bad breath as well as be unsightly.

Different white spots on tonsils, cause and treatment

Strep throat

It is commonly seen in children and teens, and in some cases even the adults can be affected. This is a contagious disease caused by a bacteria and symptoms include inflammation, pain in the throat, fatigue, fever, difficulty swallowing, headache and white spots on the tonsils. If the condition is not treated it can result much more complications like kidney disease and rheumatic fever.

Treatment: it may involve the use of antibiotics, which are prescribed by the doctor. You can take over the counter pain medication to help relieve pain and inflamed tonsils. To add on that, you should have enough rest and gargling with salt water can soothe your throat pain.

Tonsilolith

It is also called tonsil stones, these are calcium deposits that form in the small crevices of the tonsils at the back of the throat and on tonsils. They can be caused by mucus, food particles and bacteria and be different sizes. These stones can cause pain, difficulty in swallowing, a metallic taste in the mouth and bad breath.

Treatment: if there is no discomfort, treatment is not necessary, as it can go away on its own. Eating crackers may help in clearing of the white spots since they make the tongue work harder, hence removing the deposits. Gargling with salty water can also help. Laser surgery can be applied in case of any discomfort.

Tonsillitis

Inflamed tonsils can be caused by a viral or bacterial infection and the symptoms include swollen tonsils, while spots on the tonsils and throat, difficulty swallowing, pain and fever. The lymph nodes on the sides of the neck may also be swollen.

Treatment: if the tonsillitis is caused by bacterial infection, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics. If caused by viral infection, antibiotics may not help. Treatment includes rest, a liquid diet if swallowing is difficult and gargling with salt water. If they are recurring, then surgery may be needed to remove the tonsils.

Inflamed Tonsils Adults

Inflammed tonsils causes

Inflammed tonsils adults

Normally this tonsillitis problem is common in children and teens. But it is not a big deal a mature person to get inflamed tonsils. Here the case may appear with numerous symptoms that may cause the person under attack to be weak.

With viral tonsillitis antibiotics are ineffective and the episodes usually will last from 4 to 6 days. If it is a bacterial variety, an untreated bout can last from 10 to 14 days, antibiotics usually clears it up in 5 to 7 days.

Inflamed Tonsils Home Remedy

Tonsillitis occurs when inflammation and pain develop on the tonsils. This problem is very common in children and young adults, though it can affect anybody. This condition can be caused by a viral infection or at times due to a bacterial infection that causes enlargement of the tonsils.

Common symptoms of inflamed tonsils include, sore throat, fever, swollen glands, difficulty swallowing, and runny nose, and headache, bad breath, coughing and sneezing.

There are several medicines for tonsillitis. However, you can treat it at home using natural remedies that can help manage symptoms and fight the infection.

Home Remedies for Inflamed Tonsils

Salt water

It is the best and the most common home remedy for tonsillitis. It involves gargling of warm salty water. The warm water provides a soothing effect and the salt will help to kill the virus or bacteria and reduce inflammation.

Lemon

It has antiviral, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that treats the infection and reduce inflammation. It also has high vitamin C content which improves body’s resistance to infection.

In a glass of lukewarm water add the lemon juice and some salt. Drink this twice daily for a few days.

Basil

It has antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. It also has healing and soothing qualities which helps to reduce swelling and pain as well as sped up the healing process. Boil basil leaves in water for about 10 minutes, and add some lemon juice. Drink it 3 times a day for some few days.

Turmeric

It has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic qualities, which also fights off inflamed tonsils infection and relieve irritating symptoms. Add one teaspoon of turmeric to a glass of hot water and salt and gargle the mixture.

Cinnamon

It is rich in antimicrobial properties that enables it to inhibit the growth of bacteria and other micro-organisms in the tonsils and helps reduce swelling, pain and inflammation. Mix cinnamon powder in hot water and drink it as it is still warm.

How to Get Rid of Inflamed Tonsils

Inflammed tonsils causes

inflammed tonsils treatment

The problem of tonsillitis has no specific treatment and in most cases may get better within a week without treatment. While in the process of waiting the infection to clear up, there are a number of things you can do to help relieve your symptoms.

If your child has inflamed tonsils, make sure they have plenty to eat and drink, even if they find it painful to swallow. Being hungry and dehydrated can make other symptoms, such as headaches and tiredness, worse.

Self –help

Over the counter drugs, can help relieve painful symptoms such as a sore throat. For children, it is much important that the prescription of painkillers is done by a qualified person and follow corrective hostage. Younger children only need small dosages. The pharmacist can advise you about this.

Children under the age of 16 years should not be given aspirin. Over the counter treatment that can soothe a sore throat. In some cases gargling with a mild antiseptic solution can relieve a sore throat. You can use warm salty water alternatively to gargle and do not swallow the water. This is not a suitable method for children.

Antibiotics

Antibiotics may not be prescribed, even if inflamed tonsils is caused by a bacterial infection. This is because in most cases, antibiotics do not speed up the recovery and have unpleasant side effects, such as stomach pain. Another reason is that the more an antibiotic is used to treat a non-serious infection, there are chances that it won’t be effective any more in serious infection at the person develops resistance to the drug.

However, in cases of severity, sign of easing and weakened immune system, you may by needed to use the drugs.

You may need hospital treatment on persistent and severe cases of bacterial tonsillitis that do not respond to oral antibiotics. In this cases intravenous antibiotics that are given directly into a vein may be needed.

Surgery

The surgery carried out to remove inflamed tonsils is known as tonsillectomy. For children with mild sore throats, watchful waiting is recommended rather than a tonsillectomy.

A tonsillectomy is only considered only for recurring sore throats caused by tonsillitis.

Preventing infection

It is not easy to avoid conducting viral infections that are spread by coming into contact with germs. Though, following good hygiene practices can help to prevent infections spreading. This may include:

  • Washing your hands frequently and drying them off
  • Cough and sneeze into a tissue and dispose of it in the dust bin
  • Do not share utensils with people who are infected
  • Do not share foods and drinks with the infected persons
  • Cleaning kitchen surfaces with antibacterial cleanser

Tonsil Stones Removal

If you are trying to successfully find a tonsil stone removal you need to first understand what causes this problem to begin with. A medical name known to refer to tonsil stone is tonsiilloliths and it occurs when here is an accumulation of calcium salts in the crevices and pockets of the tonsils. This accumulation of calcium salts is called calcification which is also characterized by inflamed tonsils.

As they are known by name, tonsilloliths are tiny, off-white deposits that you can see in craters of your tonsils. They are mostly caused when bits of food get lodged in these craters, bacteria start feeding on them, digesting them until they turn into the foul- smelling very bad.

Prevention

There are numerous activities that can be carried to prevent tonsil stone from occurring in the first place or coming back once they get removed. This activities may include:

  • Removing bacteria that builds up at the back of your tongue once you finishing brushing your teeth. This can be done well by utilizing a tongue scraper each night before bed.
  • Brush your teeth regularly to get rid food particles that get trapped in teeth and on the tongue
  • Using warm salty water, you can gargle the mixture. This will help dis- infect your mouth and help remove bacteria that can result to tonsil stone.
  • Drink much water to prevent this problem as it help in keeping the mouth moisturized. Avoid sugary drinks as they contribute to occurrence of tonsil stones.
  • Stop smoking and drinking alcohol. Alcoholic drinks leave the mouth dry hence worsening tonsil stones. Smoking as well is harmful to general health.

Waterpik for Tonsil Stones Removal

This is a method of tonsils stones removal from your mouth without gagging or making it unnecessarily painful. It is very effective and it cleans your entire mouth and the result is that you can enjoy a nice fresh breath without stinking tonsil stones.

Waterpik

This is a tool that almost every dentist uses to flush out bacteria and debris that gets trapped in various places in the mouth. Besides cleaning your teeth, a waterpik is very effective in flushing out tonsil stones that mostly causes inflamed tonsils. You do not have to worry about triggering the gagging reflex or damaging the soft tissue of the tonsils. The tool will remove the stones with simplicity

How to use a waterpik to remove tonsil stone deposits

Fill the waterpik with water and the aim the waterpik mouthpiece at the tonsil pockets inside your mouth. You might need to adjust the power depending on the size of the tonsil stone. The water jet effectively rinse any debris out of the tonsils and in the process improve the overall dental hygiene and remove the causes of bad breath.

Tonsil Stones Removal q tip

Because the basic techniques of tonsil stone removal with q- tip and bobby- pins are the same, this article will use the two interchangeably. The one different between bobby –pins and q –tips is that you use a hooking motion with bobby pins and a scraping motion with q tips.

The process

  • Open your mouth and shine the light in the mouth. Do this in front of a mirror so that you locate the tonsil stone.
  • Close off, or flex, the throat muscle while sticking out the tongue and tighten the muscle in the back of the throat. Do this while you hold your breath. This will push the tonsil forward to be seen well.
  • Gently scoop out the tonsil stones with your q pin. Try until you catch the stones in the loop of your q pin and scoot it in front of the mouth.
  • As sticky saliva starts forming, drink water to thin in out.
  • Make sure you remove all the stones even the hidden ones. Craters are very deep and it is sometimes hard to get them all.
  • Repeat the process for each craters until they are empty.

Further references:

  1. Tonsillitis symptoms and :
  2. What the tonsils are and meaning of tonsillitis:
  3. Causes of inflamed tonsils:
  4. White spots on throat:
  5. Home remedies for tonsillitis:
  6. Treatment carried out for tonsils that are inflamed:
  7. Tonsil stone removal:
  8. How to remove tonsil stones: