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Dr. Andrew Rynne

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Got white patches and swelling in throat. What could be causing this?

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ENT Specialist
Practicing since : 1991
Answered : 2554 Questions
I have gotten white patches and swelling in my throat three times this year, months apart, and am not sure what it is. The first time I had a doctor test me and they told me it could possibly be a cold sore in my throat and it was not strep. I have gotten them two times since then. I am wondering what they are. I don't feel sick when I get them, I just have swelling, a irritation feeling of stinging combined with dryness. Not so much the stinging. After the patches of white go away there is sometimes what appears to be a hole and still swelling and then it eventually goes away all together. What is this? I have a picture I took to show a better idea.
I am a smoker and brush regularly, occasionally use listerine. Using listerine more now with this.
Fri, 21 Dec 2012 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
Answered by Dr. Sumit Bhatti 7 hours later

Thank you for your query.

1. If you share an image, it will be possible to give you an n accurate assessment.

2. In addition to your symptoms mentioned above, do you have do you have any body ache or fatigue? The neck swelling is due to enlarged lymph nodes in the neck. Are they tender on touch?

3. Tonsilloliths are concretions of food particles and pus lodged in the natural crypts of the palatine tonsils and other lymphoid tissue in the throat. The white patchjes may be such concretions as you see defects after they fall off, before the swelling settles down.

4. When we swallow, our palatine tonsils and lymphoid tissues in the throat rub against the food bolus and pick up food particles. This food debris decays there while it is analysed for antigens, foreign bodies and organisms by the lymphoid tissue which forms the bulk of the tonsils. Below the age of five years, this is especially important in the development of immunity.

5. It is good to hear that you do not have fever or strep throat. Allergy, fungal infections and overuse of medicated mouth washes are also more likely causes.

Hope I have answered your query. If you have any follow up queries, I will be available to answer them.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Got white patches and swelling in throat. What could be causing this? 37 minutes later
How do I share the image?
Answered by Dr. Sumit Bhatti 5 hours later

Thank you for your query.

There is an option to upload reports and images on the query page. If you do not find the link send an e-mail to YYYY@YYYY

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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