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HomeAnswersOtolaryngology (E.N.T)chronic tonsillitisWhy are the tonsils swollen and have white spots?

I have swollen tonsils with white spots. What is it?

The following is an actual conversation between an iCliniq user and a doctor that has been reviewed and published as a Premium Q&A.

Medically reviewed by

iCliniq medical review team

Published At March 25, 2016
Reviewed AtJune 15, 2023

Patient's Query

Hello doctor,

I am 20 years old. I have symptoms of swollen tonsils with white spots and bumps on my throat. I went to the urgent care almost two weeks ago, and after running streptococcus and mononucleosis test, they told me that it was more likely viral tonsillitis. I am not experiencing much pain other than occasional discomfort. I do not get sick often. So, I am unfamiliar with how long viruses usually take to leave the body. I am a bit worried since it has been here for quite some time now although symptoms slowly improve and then seem to digress. Currently, I am taking Advil. Could this be something other than tonsillitis?


Welcome to icliniq.com.

After reading your symptoms and looking at your photo (attachment removed to protect patient identity), it is suggesting of chronic pharyngitis with chronic tonsillitis. The whitish spots over your tonsils are the food particles that clogged within the tonsillar crypts. These can be easily removed by applying pressure with your finger against the tonsils. These are not major health issues, but in long period they may converted to tonsillolith (tonsil stone) or may give tonsillar infection. For pharyngitis, no need to take tablet Advil (Ibuprofen). Do some lifestyle modifications as mentioned below.

Probable diagnosis

Chronic tonsillopharyngitis.

Treatment plan

1. Warm saline water gargles two to three times a day. 2. Orally plenty of water intake. 3. Wash your mouth after each time you have some food. 4. Manual removal of clogged food particles by applying pressure over tonsil with finger. 5. Use some antiseptic mouth wash before bed.

Preventive measures

1. Avoid cold food and drinks. 2. Avoid spicy fried foods.

Same symptoms don't mean you have the same problem. Consult a doctor now!

Dr. Baidya Nath Majhi
Dr. Baidya Nath Majhi

Otolaryngology (E.N.T)

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