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Recurrent white spots in tonsils, taken antibiotics, sore throat, done gargling with warm water and salt

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ENT Specialist
Practicing since : 1992
Answered : 332 Questions
I have recurrent white spots in my tonsils. it started about six months ago. i visited my doctor he gave me antibiotics and recommended gargo with warm water and salt. the symptoms disappeared after a couple of week, then it returned. i went back to the doctor he took a sample for cultures and the result was negative. he gave another antibiotics and recommended the same with water and salt. after 3 weeks the symptoms disappeared. now it is back. i suspect that the antibiotics are not working at all and the white spots disappear because the salt and water. i dont feel pain (maybe in the first day i feel like a sore throat, after that only a small discomfort as i fell the white spots.
when i do the gargo after a couple of weeks the white spot becomes yellow and it falls soon.

I am worried because it is a recurring symptom.
Posted Tue, 3 Jul 2012 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
Answered by Dr. Ravinder Sharma 7 hours later

Thanks for the query.

I am an ENT surgeon and I have read your query with diligence.

On the basis of the information provided
1. It appears that you are suffering from the condition called keratosis of Tonsil. This is a condition where whitish deposits occur in the tonsillar crypts.

2. Sometimes the crypts in the tonsil are deeper and can be a site of lodgement of food particles. This may also give an appearance similar to what you have described. As the food particles which stay in tonsillar crypts are not digested it can lead to foul smell in breath and may also lead to infection of the tonsil. This is described as tonsilolith which is a second possible explanation of your symptoms.

3. As your report of throat swab is negative, presence of infection is unlikely.

In both these situations, tonsillectomy is the treatment of choice. Medicines may not help you. The only conservative way of managing this problem is by frequent gargling. Recurrent and troubling complaints can only be managed by tonsillectomy.

I would request you to discuss it with your doctor about this. There are also other causes of white membrane or white patches on tonsil which can be discussed once the aforementioned common conditions are ruled out.

I hope this answers your concern. Do let me know if anything else is required from my side

With warm regards
Ravinder Sharma
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Recurrent white spots in tonsils, taken antibiotics, sore throat, done gargling with warm water and salt 5 hours later
thanks doctor.

tonsillectomy means taking the tonsils away completely?
what should i use when gargling?


Answered by Dr. Ravinder Sharma 2 hours later

Thanks for the follow up query. The answers to your questions are as follows

As your problem is associated with tonsils and is recurring in nature - removal of tonsil is a good option. At your age tonsils have no active function and if they are causing problem excision is usually curative. It is a day care surgery and preferably done under general anaesthesia. It is done through oral cavity and in most of the cases; patient can be discharged by evening or next day.

Betadine mouth gargles or warm saline gargles can be tried.

I hope this answers your concern.

With warm regards

Ravinder Sharma     

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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