The most obvious tonsil stone indicator is the presence of white matter at the back of the throat. It’s important, however, to note the differences between white residue caused by tonsillitis, and that of tonsil stones. Tonsillitis tends to result in the secretion of gooey white fluid. Stones, however, are solid like…well…stones.
For the most part, these flecks of calcified material are easy to remove at home. Larger stones, or ones that trigger secondary infections, require the attention of a doctor. It is important to note that some stones are so far lodge into the folds of the flesh that they can only be seen through non-invasive scans.
This obvious symptom is the result of irritation caused by the rubbing of stones against one another. They also tend to cause swelling. However, what distinguishes this type of throat ache from other kinds associated with colds and flu is the localization of the pain.
Pain is isolated to the exact spot where the stone is lodged. Stones can also cause discomfort in the throat by pressing against the nerves. They can also trigger bouts of chronic coughing, which, in turn, can result in fatigue.
Whew! Whats that smell? This is the most awkward condition, commonly known as bad breath, emerges from the presence of anaerobic bacteria in the pockets of the stones. As this bacteria metabolises, it creates sulfurous compounds that emit putrid odors and contribute to noxious breath. Research shows that over 75% of people suffering from chronic halitosis have tonsil stones.
Ear Pain and Dizziness
The palatal tonsils share nerve pathways with the ears. If stones press against these nerves, then ear ache can also be experienced. Stones have also been known to interfere with the Eustachian tube in the ears, which is a vital organ for the attainment of balance (think of how unbalanced you feel if you have water trapped in your ear). Pressure on this tube can often result in feelings of dizziness, disorientation and imbalance.
The tonsils tend to swell when they are perforated with stones. This can also contribute to swallowing difficulties. Bacteria trapped within the crevices of the tonsils can give rise to tonsillitis.
Stones can make it hard to swallow solid foods and liquids. The pressure of hard lumps in the tonsils can make eating an unpleasant experience.
Other symptoms include choking sensations as linked to the presence of foreign matter in the throat. Some people even get metallic tastes in their mouths. All of these symptoms depend on how large the tonsil stones actually are, and how long they’ve been there for. It’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor about these symptoms in order to determine the correct course of treatment.