White Spots on Throat Causes and Treatments

white spots on throat

Have you ever come across any white spots on throat?

White spots on the throat are usually signs of your body getting any infection. A sore throat is usually your body trying to tell you that it is not well.

If you are worried, the white spots that appear on the throat are generally not very serious and nothing to worry about. Some of these spots go away within a week or two, and there are others that you might require to see a doctor.

Even though the white spots are usually nothing serious, they can be very painful and uncomfortable. You can feel the pain while swallowing foods.

While mostly the white spots on throat show no other symptoms but just pain and irritation, there are times when it comes with some other symptoms. Some of these symptoms are:

  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Scarlet fever/ rash
  • Red and swollen tonsils
  • Body ache
  • Sore and swollen neck glands
  • Nasal congestion
  • Red spots on the mouth roof
  • Runny nose
  • Sinus pain
  • Cough
  • Problems in eating and swallowing
  • Loss of appetite
  • Chills

This article discusses the various causes of white spots on throat and how they can be cured.

What causes white spots on throat

Several reasons can cause white spots on the throat. Some of these could be caused by fungi, bacteria, and viruses. Below are some causes of white spots that occur on the throat.

Strep Throat

Strep throat is one of the most common bacterial infections that leads to white spots on throat. The Streptococcus bacteria cause this condition. This bacteria generally causes irritation and swelling of the tonsils and the throat, causing them to become sore.

If any child is infected with this bacteria, they might also vomit, feel nauseated, have a stomach ache, and get rashes.

Symptoms of strep throat

  • Sore and swollen neck
  • Fever
  • Rashes (Scarlet Fever)
  • Swollen and red tonsils
  • Headache

Strep throat is highly contagious and can be transferred through airborne particles from one person to another. Children are the ones who are more at risk when it comes to having strep throat. Hence, they must be kept away from anyone infected by Streptococcus bacteria.

Strep throat must be catered to and treated immediately. Otherwise, this bacteria tends to spread to the other parts of the body, thereby infecting the heart, lungs, etc., amongst others.

While most healthy people recover on their own, if the symptoms do not reside in a few days or get worse with each day passing, it is advised to consult a doctor.

The doctor would do some tests and prescribe some antibiotics. Immediate hospitalization is advised in case you face trouble breathing or get unconscious.

Some self-care tips to cure strep throat include intaking a lot of healthy fluids, taking prescribed medications on time, and getting an adequate amount of rest.

white spots on throat

Oral Thrush

Oral thrush, also called oropharyngeal candidiasis, is a fungal or yeast infection that leads to white spots on the throat and other parts of the mouth, tongue, and back.

One can also say that these spots resemble cottage cheese on your tongue. Scrapping them off might also lead to bleeding and discomfort. Hence it is best to heal naturally or get appropriately prescribed medications.

Oral thrush primarily affects people who have weak immune systems and babies.

Symptoms of oral thrush

  • Difficulty in speaking
  • Difficulty in drinking or eating
  • Sore throat
  • Redness
  • Changes in the taste buds (temporary and shall go away with medications)
  • Burning sensation in the tongue and mouth

Oral thrush is usually not something to worry about. All you need is consulting a doctor and getting proper medications and adequate rest. However, it is of concern when the symptoms do not improve and become worse; you feel difficulty breathing or swallowing food or drink.


There are two tonsils present at the back of the throat. These are small glands whose job is to keep us healthy by filtering out germs. But sometimes, these fail to get filtered out and remain trapped in the tonsils, leading to Tonsillitis.

Tonsillitis is usually caused by viruses or a strand of bacteria called Streptococcus bacteria. While the treatment is generally easier when getting infected by the bacteria, it becomes a little challenging when a virus infects you.

Symptoms of Tonsillitis

  • Sore throat
  • Bad or foul breath
  • Fever
  • Voice changes
  • Sore or swollen lymph nodes (especially on the neck sides)
  • Fatigue
  • Enlarged tonsils
  • Stiff neck
  • Cough
  • White spots on the back of throat

Tonsillitis is contagious, and thus the infected people are advised to keep away from others. But how can you do that?

  • Wash your hands regularly, especially after coughing or sneezing or before eating any food.
  • Do not visit any public places and confine yourself in a room until mentioned by your doctor to do so.

As mentioned before, if a virus causes tonsillitis, then there are no medications to cure it. However, if bacteria cause it, it can be cured with medications.

The doctor will give you some medicines that will help cure the condition in 3 to 4 weeks. Some home remedies to follow to fasten up the process are drinking many drinks and fluids and taking a good amount of rest.

white spots on throat


Mononucleosis is a disease caused by a virus known as EBV or Epstein-Barr virus. This disease is also referred to as glandular disease or kissing disease. This is because Mononucleosis is contagious and can spread when you kiss someone infected or share food or drinks with them. However, the rate of this disease spreading from one person to another isn’t a lot.

When infected, you can spot some mono-white spots on throat. Along with that, one of the main symptoms that follow this disease is laziness. You can feel exhausted when infected and even weeks after you have recovered.

Symptoms of Mononucleosis are

  • Muscle, body, and headache
  • Sore throat
  • Fatigue
  • Urinary problems
  • Fever
  • Sore and swollen lymph nodes
  • Itching and tinging sensation on the areas of the sores.
  • Loss of appetite
  • Symptoms of flu

There are no proper medications that can cure Mononucleosis. The only way to cure it is to take ibuprofen (best to consult a doctor before taking any medications), give adequate rest to the body, and include lots of fluid into the diet.

The symptoms, pain, and discomfort are worst in the first two weeks, gradually subsides with time. However, the fatigue and feeling of getting tired quickly can stay for many days even after recovery. In some rare cases, it can take more than 6 months for the symptoms to cure completely.

Oral Herpes

Oral herpes is one of the most common viral infections that causes white spots on throat. Highly contagious, this disease can spread from one infected person to another when they share food or drinks, utensils, lipsticks, lip balms, or a kiss.

Anyone, regardless of their age that catches this disease. However, some people are still at more risk of getting infected than others. The chances of getting infected are higher in:

  • Women
  • People with multiple sexual partners
  • People who already are infected with any STIs or sexually transmitted disease
  • The ones with a weak immune system
  • Pregnant women (they are at massive risk with chances of even the baby getting infected, thereby risking both lives)

It is essential to keep in mind that oral herpes might show no symptoms at all. Even if there are white spots on throat no fever, the sores might be too little to come to notice. However, oral herpes can cause small white spots on the tonsils and the throat.

Symptoms of oral herpes

  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Fever
  • Tiredness
  • Sores with blisters
  • Itching
  • Pain with urinating (mostly in genital herpes)
  • Itching and tingling sensation on the areas with sores
  • Sore throat

The diagnosis for oral herpes would require you to get an HSV test done. The doctor takes a little fluid from the sores of your throat or your genitals and sends it for a test.

Alternatively, if you do not wish to get it checked by a professional, you can also opt for home testing using a test kit. Although there is no specific treatment to cure oral herpes, the treatment mainly focuses on getting the sore outbreak under control. There are some medications that the doctor would prescribe for the same.

Oral Herpes

How to treat a white spot on the throat

The treatment for a white spot that appears on the tongue, throat, or tonsils depends on the cause of the spot. This could be figured out once the infected person visits the doctor and gets it tested. Before we get to know the treatment for the various diseases, let us look at some basic treatment options that doctors generally prescribe.

Anti-inflammatory drugs

The doctor shall prescribe certain anti-inflammatory drugs. These help get rid of the fever, difficulty in drinking and eating, redness, and inflammation. Some of these drugs are nimesulide, ketoprofen, and ibuprofen.


Doctors prescribe corticosteroids when the anti-inflammatory drugs are not enough to get rid of the symptoms. Some of these are dexamethasone and prednisone.


Antibiotics are prescribed if there are bacterias present and are one of the root causes of the white spots. Doctors naturally prescribe some of the antibiotics like azithromycin, penicillin, and amoxicillin.

Now that we know the generic medications that the doctors often prescribe to cure a white spot on throat let us look in detail at the treatment for the various disease that causes a white spot.

Strep Throat

The diagnosis for Strep Throat is throat swab culture. The best way to treat strep throat is by taking antibiotics. If you have specific unbearable pain, the doctor might suggest you take some OTT medications.

Oral Thrush

For treating oral thrush, the doctor prescribes antifungal medicines. The person infected needs to swish the treatment and then swallow it all. For small babies, the doctor shall prescribe liquid antifungal medications.


If bacteria cause Tonsillitis, the doctor might prescribe certain antibiotics to cure the same. If a virus causes it, then taking an adequate amount of rest and drinking enough fluids to keep hydrated is how to fix it.


The treatment of Mononucleosis depends on the severity of the disease. The primary treatment is directed towards reducing the symptoms with the help of antibiotics. If there is a fever, headache, or sore throat, the doctor may also prescribe some OTT medications.

Oral Herpes

There is no proper medication to cure oral herpes as of now. The treatment of oral herpes only focuses on getting the symptoms and the outbreak of the sores under control.

Final Thoughts

Several factors can lead to white spots on your tongue, tonsils, and throat, among others. The good thing is that there is a cure for almost all the reasons that cause white spots on throat.

The best thing is to consult a doctor when you spot a white spot on your tonsils, tongue, or throat. The doctor will evaluate and prescribe you the proper medications for treatment. The earlier you consult a doctor, the faster you expect to relieve the discomfort.

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