Tonsil stone symptoms can be difficult to identify as they are very similar to many other conditions which can affect the throat. However, there are some distinct differences that can be easily identified by an experienced physician.
Yellow or White Matter in the Throat
Tonsil stones may appear as white or slightly yellow lumps at the back of the throat. Some physicians even compare them to grains of sand. They can be regular in shape or appear as slightly raised mounds.
The problem comes when tonsil stones are present in the folds of the tonsils. Tonsil stones “hiding” in the folds of the tonsils may be very difficult to diagnose. Often they only show up during procedures such as a CT scan as they cannot be felt during a physical examination.
Problems When Swallowing
If, you are experiencing problems when swallowing, a doctor may suspect tonsil stones. Swallowing can become a problem when the stone, or stones, increase in size. It also depends on the location of the stones. When the stones are located in a position near the oesophagus it may even lead to a sensation of choking when trying to swallow food or drink.
Many sufferers of tonsil stones often rush to the doctor with acute ear pain. The stones themselves are not anywhere near the ear, but the nerve pathways which lead up to the ear are located in the throat.
When a stone is pressing on the nerves leading up to the ear, it can cause intense ear pain which can be mistaken for an inflammation of the inner ear. It may even lead to attacks of dizziness, and in extreme cases tonsil stones have been known to cause temporary tinnitus.
Swollen tonsils are not always a result of infection, it is one of the most common symptoms of tonsil stones. When the tonsil stone initially starts to grow, the tonsils may try to protect themselves by reacting to the presence of the stone. This may result in enlargement or inflammation of the tonsil.
This is often very painful and you may even experience a sharp pain when touching your throat or coughing.
Sore Throat and Bad Breath
These two symptoms seem to go hand in hand. Bad breath can be an indication of tonsillitis which is the inflammation of the tonsils, but it can also indicate the presence of tonsil stones.
When you experience a throat infection high concentrations of sulfur compounds are contained in your breath. The same can happen if you suffer from tonsil stones. Throat infections are normally indicated by an increased temperature, but with tonsil stones you do not normally experience an increase in body temperature.
The presence of a larger tonsil stone, or several tonsil stones, may in itself cause a lot of throat pain, and is a clear indication that something is wrong. Often the pain is very localized to one particular part of the throat, but may be experienced as a general pain or soreness of the throat.
Physicians are now better at diagnosing tonsil stones and there are a range of treatment options available.