Tonsils are present in the back of your throat and they look like gland like structures. They are made of tissues containing lymphocytes. These are the cells that fight and prevent infections happening in your body. Tonsils have a crucial role to play in the immune system. They work like a net that traps virus and bacteria that try to pass through your throat. However, scientists have found that tonsils can become a hindrance rather than helping the body in many times. It is found that people who get their tonsils removed are not at a higher risk of suffering from viral or bacterial infection compared to people who have tonsils intact.
Causes of tonsil stones
The tonsils have nooks and crannies. These are the places where bacteria and other materials can get trapped. Dead cells and mucus are some of the things which are often trapped in those nooks and crannies. The resulting debris gets concentrated and forms a white formation in the pockets. When the trapped debris becomes hardened or calcification happens, they can turn to tonsil stones or tonsilloliths. This is a normal problem in case of individuals who suffer from chronic inflammation of the tonsils. It also happens often in the case of people who suffer from tonsillitis. In general, small tonsilloliths are seen in cases of people who suffer from tonsil stones. It is very rare to find a large and solidified stone.
Symptoms of tonsil stones
If there are very small tonsil stones present in the tonsil, they may not create any noticeable symptoms. If they are large, even then, there may not be any symptoms of tonsil stones. Such larger tonsil stones are discovered accidentally on x-rays or CT scans. In case of some larger tonsillotliths, there may be several symptoms-
If an individual is suffering from exceedingly bad breath or halitosis, then it can be a good indication of tonsil stones. When people have bad breath, volatile sulphur compounds are found in the breath. Individuals having high concentration of these sulphur compounds also suffer from tonsil stones. If there is bad breath, the doctor is likely to check for tonsil stones.
If tonsil stone and tonsillitis is present, it may be difficult to find out what is causing the pain in your throat-the infection or the tonsil stone. If a tonsil stone is present, you may feel pain or this come for in the specific area where the stone is present.
Some of the tonsil stones that occur can be seen in the back of the throat. They appear as a lump of solid white material. In most of the cases they hide in the folds of the tonsils. To find these stones out, non-invasive scanning like CT scans or magnetic resonance imaging may be necessary.
There may be difficulty in swallowing due to the presence of tonsil stones. It will depend on the location of size of the stone. Swallowing food or water may be difficult or painful if stones are present in the tonsil.
Due to the presence of tonsil stones, ear pain may happen. Because of shared nerve pathways, you may also feel pain in your ear.
If the debris accumulated becomes hardened and tonsil stone formation happens, inflammation due to infection or the tonsil stone can cause swelling of the tonsil.
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