What are the Symptoms of Tonsil Stones?

Stones can occur in tonsils, although less common that other locations where stones can occur, such as urinary system (in kidneys, bladder etc.) and gall bladder. Symptoms of tonsil stones (or tonsiloliths) vary and if stones are small they may not produce any symptom at all and diagnosis made by chance, while examining tonsils for some other purpose. Sometimes, even large tonsil stones do not produce any symptom and are discovered/diagnosed while doing routine investigations such as X-ray or CT scan. Some tonsil stones however may produce multiple symptoms, which are:ID-100299417

  • Halitosis or bad breath: highly foul smelling breath is an important symptom of tonsil stone. This bad breath or halitosis is due to presence of stone which lead to infection and growth of bacteria that produce foul smelling gas/chemical. Chronic tonsillitis leads in growth of bacteria that produce sulfur containing chemical. In fact many times it is seen by medical practitioners that when the cause of bad breath cannot be easily diagnosed, it is due to tonsil stone.
  • Swelling of tonsils: this is another symptom of tonsilolith or tonsil stone, which occurs due to presence of stone within the tonsils and lead to swelling or enlargement of the organ. Swelling is also result of inflammation, the stone can cause.

  • Sore throat: in presence of tonsil stone, tonsillitis is common (they are usually seen together), which lead to pain in throat region. There may be pain during swallowing. Even in absence of infection/inflammation of tonsils, presence of tonsil stone can lead to discomfort in throat which may manifest as pain.
  • Dysphagia: this is difficulty if swallowing, which may be pain during swallowing or simply difficulty due to partial obstruction of food pipe. Depending on the location of stone, presence of tonsil stone may manifest itself as pain during swallowing or difficulty during swallowing.
  • Presence of white debris: sometimes (not always) tonsil stones may be visible as white mass or lump. However in many cases the stones may be hidden in the folds of the tonsil and in such case white lump may not be visible. In such case the stone can be diagnosed by CT scan, MRI or by X-ray or by other noninvasive techniques.
  • Earache: because tonsils and ears share nerve pathways, this may lead to pain in ear, when there is stone in tonsils. Hence, in case of earache tonsils should also be examined.

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