Discussions By Condition: Ears, Nose, Mouth & Throat conditions

Tonsilliths (tonsil stones)

Posted In: Ears, Nose, Mouth & Throat conditions 301 Replies
  • Posted By: Anonymous
  • May 2, 2007
  • 02:12 PM

I think I've had tonsilliths since about Christmas. They're little whitish balls no bigger than a peppercorn that smell like concentrated halitosis. I went to see my student health doctor about it and she didn't care. She looked at my throat and didn't see any recesses where they could come from but wouldn't do anything else.

Every couple of weeks I'll expactorate a group - I guess when one comes loose a bunch come with it. I also have awful chronic sinus problems. I usually get at least one sinus infection a year. This past winter I had just one, but lots of sinus pain and sometimes congestion. Also, about since October (fall allergy season) practically every morning (probably about 4 out of 5) when I blow my nose there is blood in the mucus from at least one nostril.

This morning another bunch of tonsilliths came up, but there were two black things two. Small, about 1/4 the size of a peppercorn. Hard, and no odor like the tonsilliths. I'm hoping it wasn't dried blood, but the texture was sort of scab-like.

Does anyone have an idea what this is or what I should do? Thanks.

Reply Flag this Discussion
  • i get the same white balls in my tonsils too. i've gotten the for years. i don't know what to do have you gotten any more info?
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • I've had these off and on for years. I've asked many different doctors about them, and always get a vague answer relating to food particles that get trapped in the tonsils and collect in there.If I am too aggresive in trying to remove them, I end up with a sore throat. One side pops out fairly easily, with just gentle prodding from a q-tip, but the other side I have to press with my finger. Advice has ranged from gargling with salt water (which does not remove them!), using a Water-Pik, to just telling me to ignore them.Curious to hear what others have to say.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • August 11, 2007
    • 05:32 AM
    • 0
    Flag this Response
  • From what I have read, tonsilliths are made up of dead skin cells and bacteria that accumulate in pits in the tonsils (crypts). Some people argue that the foul smell comes from sulphur compounds caused by bacterial activity in the tonsilliths. Some people seem to believe that they are totally harmless, while others seem to believe that tonsilliths can cause symptoms of mild illness (sore throat, fever, etc.) Some people also claim that tonsilliths can mineralize (calcify) and become hard. A number of people claim that they are more prone to getting tonsilliths when they are ill.I have read that waterpiks are the way to go to remove them. Most people worry that using other tools can cause injury and infection. Personally, I have found that if I rinse my sinuses with salt water that it reduces my tonsilliths. That may be because it dries up my post-nasal drip and fights bacterial growth.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • September 6, 2007
    • 05:25 PM
    • 0
    Flag this Response
  • I am dealing with them now. I used to have them on both sides, but I accidentally tore one while trying to delicately remove a tonsillith with a dissecting probe. If you haven't found out, your tonsils are very delicate. However I have had zero problems from that tonsil since, so faced with a complete removal of your palatines (or laser resurfacing), you may just ask your doctor to make a minor incision. (I am not a doctor, but I bet this is a viable option).My other side, which I never had a problem with, is now developing problems. I have had a few tonsilliths from that one, but recently I found a new angle to press my tonsil, and was horrified at the yield. Here is what I have found:My tonsilliths are not found in crevices, they are found in convoluted tubules (not the DCT tubule, just an apt description) Most of these tubules seem to have more than one opening to the throat, but they seem quite delicate. They seem to be the product of anaerobic bacteria, because the result of listerine is fairly dramatic, and since testing the listerine on aerobic bacteria from my own mouth and seeing it's inability to kill them, I have to assume it has the ability to kill anaerobes. Not to mention the characteristic foul smell of tonsilliths is easy to associate with the horrible smell of anaerobe colonies. I back up the listerine (generic), with 1.5% H2O2, and do not thoroughly rinse for a longer lasting effect. They could also be the bacteria feasting on some excretion of snot and/or cellular debris. I think I may be running an elevated body temperature as a response to potential infection, coupled with inflamed lymph nodes in my jaw, I am almost sure this is the case. I do have a strange symptom which has followed the elevated temp. My neck (right at the atlas and axis) has been stiff, edemic, and warm. I have pain turning my head, and looking down (no menegial symptoms, and it has been about 3 weeks since onset).Anyone have anything else to add? Or have similar symptoms with the neck pain? (I also had an old high school friend give me a sock to the jaw for old times sake (really was a friendly gesture, just unwelcome in post adolescence), so it might also be cartilaginous injury).I think we can figure this out, lets put or knowledge, as those who have experienced it, together.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • September 24, 2007
    • 06:39 AM
    • 0
    Flag this Response
  • I have had tonsil stones for 12 years now! After visiting this forum tonight I have for the first time found out what they actually are. It started when I was in the tenth grade. I got mono and ever since then I have had this problem. I can handle the fact that I have these nasty things that come out of my tonsils every month but it has given me very bad breath and that I can't handle. I brush, floss, and use mouth wash and it doesn't help. I have been doing a lot of research tonight on causes and prevention. I can't find any useful advise out there to fix this problem. They either say to deal with it, remove your tonsils, or that you have to buy something.I will continue to research this problem. If I find anything worth while I will post it for you. So far the only thing I have come across are advertisements for Himilayan Goji Juice, Nit acit 200 and some kind of oxygen tablets ans spray. I personally refuse to buy some fly-by-night product off the internet. I did come across something that mentioned nasal spray. One web site said that part of the cause for the stones is from post nasal drip. But I'm sure that there is more to it because a few other web sites I came across talked about the stone causing bacteria to grow on the tongue. Anyway I will be back to share aby new info that I have. In the mean time stay away from all those nonsense internet ads!
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • October 1, 2007
    • 04:43 AM
    • 0
    Flag this Response
  • Oh good I don't have to register!Here is what u do. I'm a 27 year old female that used to get them reguarly as a teen between 11-15 until i wised up.I get a q-tip and dip it in listerine. I did this repeadedly after removing them for several times.....I dont know why or how but I haven't gotten one in at least 9 years!!! It used to feel like i had popcorn stuck in my throat. I had to go to the ear,nose and throat doctor after telling my mom about it. He told me it was bacteria from food in my throat---which I HONESTLY DON"T BELIEVE...cause i had sinus problems too. Well mostly just a stuffy nose my entire life...however since I stopped drinking regular milk for 7 years and only soy I rarely get a stuffy nose versus 19 years of having them constant!My ear nose and throat doctor coughed in my mouth while doing my exam. I HATE HIM TO THIS DAY FOR THAT AND WILL NEVER GO BACK..it tramatized my 12 year old brain. He told me to open wide and say aw and then coughed and didn't cover his mouth. I felt spit on my lips and well.......u can guess.So i never went back and did my own self med with keeping it clean and using listerine to apply to it. I did this for just about 7 months and nothing since....my throat still gets itchy there but i just still add listerine every few times a year.It sucks cuase i hate the taste of that stuff!Hope this helps... not sure if its the cure but it sure cured me and that was the only thing i tried.PS..bobby pins unravelled and a q-tip work PERFECT for removing those suckers!Cheers,Nicole
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • October 19, 2007
    • 05:32 AM
    • 0
    Flag this Response
  • i think I might have these tonsil stones...I was drinking and smoking last night and woke up this morning with this dark red (blood) sack thing on my left tonsil. It doesnt really hurt, my lymphnodes are swollen a bit but the worst of it is it feels like im choking on it and it makes me gag so im constantly clearing my throat and swallowing, does this sound like what you guys had?
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • October 29, 2007
    • 00:40 AM
    • 0
    Flag this Response
  • I have gotten these for many years now. I spoke to my doctor about it and he said that as we age our tonsils shrink some, and for some it creates pockets in them where food and bacteria can build up. I find that if I brush 2-3 times a day and floss daily it cuts down on the growth dramatically.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • November 9, 2007
    • 04:39 AM
    • 0
    Flag this Response
  • I've had them on and off for as long as I can remember. Sometimes I'll feel something, like a lump in my throat and it annoys me. Usually by the time I feel it, for the most part they come out easily with a gentle upward pushing behind it with my finger. There were times when I had a hard time getting them out and my tonsils were painful, but once out the pain subsided and went back to normal.Sometimes I'll be running or doing some other activity and they'll just fly out in my mouth or onto the floor. It's quite embarrassing if I'm around other people, even though no one notices.They smell like poop, literally! I've always wondered what they were and what caused them, and now I know. My brother would also get them occasionally. I guess more people have them than I thought. They're really no bother, unless they get stuck and won't come out, which can sometimes be painful....but other than that they're no big deal. A simple, gentle, upward pushing behind them with your finger is all it takes to push most of them out.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • December 27, 2007
    • 05:28 AM
    • 0
    Flag this Response
  • HI. A few years ago my tonsils smelled so bad and I sometimes coughed up these yellow little stones that smelled awful if you crushed them. I looked up some sources on the internet and I tried a water pick and you wouldn't believe the amount of JUNK that came out of my throat!!! maybe around 60 stones came out, I swear. Some were like little petrified stones-they looked brownish and some were more new, like yellow. They were all different sizes too!! I recommend anyone to use a water pik to get them out. There might be a lot more than you know...
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • January 5, 2008
    • 11:59 AM
    • 0
    Flag this Response
  • Hi All I have also been facing the same problem for approximately a year now. And I noticed that I didnt have these tonsil stones during winter, however, they are now back! I have consulted my doc and he says that this is seasonal and nothing can be done about it. I'd like to know a few things from your experience. Let us share the knowledge we have and help each other so that we all get rid of this disgusting thing. 1. Do you think this is seasonal ?2. Has anyone tried avoiding milk products completely and has it helped ? Or does the brand of dairy products consumed have any impact on these tonsil stones ? 3. Has anyone noticed having severe head aches while also having tonsil stones? In my case, I suffer with bad headaches, which seem to have increased since last month, i.e., coincidentally along with the tonsil stones' come back. I have consulted an eye doc and I do not have power, though I wear specs just to be on the safer side, still not able to get rid of this head ache. Girlygirl, could you tell us which product of Waterpik you used which has helped you to remove these tonsil stones. Thanks all. Cheers.
    ajoyousfriend 1 Replies Flag this Response
  • Complications of Crohn’s Disease

    Recognize the risks associated with Crohn’s disease.

    8 Surprising Facts About Cholesterol

    Did you know that one in six US adults has high cholesterol?

  • hello people. Ive wondered for years what in the world these things were that I would "hack" or cought up lol. Finally, today after having one lodged in my throat for 5 days I decided to do some research. A tonsillith??? what in the world. I just wanted to know how to get rid of them. The website said that they were visible but I always thought they were deep in my throat and not in my tonsils. Lo and behold, I looked in the mirror and there it was tucked in the socket of my right tonsil. I got a q-tip and simply scooped it out. Needless to say, I feel much better and no longer have to get irritated by this tickling in my throat.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • I can't beleive this. So i've had a really sore throat for a week now, and then I noticed in the mirror i had this white thing on the back-side of my throat. I freaked out as it's the first time I got it. I went to to the doctor because it was hard for me to swollow or talk, very painful. And i cud feel it! The doctor said the same--"enalarged tonsils therefore food particles debris" and gave me NO MEDICATION. I came home and still fell like crap. I thought I'd do my own research. Reading these posts really helped. I read that all I need to do is gently push out white particle with a q-tip. I figured id try it, anything to get rid of them!! AND IT WORKED!!!!!! THat was so easy. I thought it was hard, but it was soft n stuck but it wasn't. It just slipped out. I just did it, and my throat already feels much better!! Thank you so much guys! I'm sure my soar throat will get better soon too. I can't beleive doctors, how ridiculous. Just slide it off, and gargle with listerine and you're set!
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • I am so thankful for this forum! Ive had these for a couple of years now- Ive talked to my dentist (who looked confused and told me to talk to my GP) I talked to my GP who looked confused and told me to talk to my dentist!! Ive been embarrased by bad breath and felt like an abnormal geek for hacking up these smelly yellow balls-- and after removing a huge one today (after not having an issue for a couple of years) with a bobby pin (and gargling with listerine) I decided to look on the internet and lo and behold-- my abnormality actually has a name and other people have it like me! I have sinus issues (constant sinus drip) and allergies-- Im going to try some Allegra tonite in hopes of drying my nasal passages and getting rid of these things for a while again.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • Howdy all,I know this is long, but please read and see if we can't come up with an answer. It's really interesting to see how many people are dealing with these ***n things and how so many doctors seem to be so "Meh" about it. I understand tonsil stones may not be life threatening but they are definitely annoying. Especially when they make your breath smell like a ***n turd! I have been getting tonsil stones since I was about 16. I'm 28 now. So here is my experience with tonsil stones. Hopefully we can get an idea about how these babies work. I am NOT a doctor or anything, but they don't seem to have answers either.Here is my theory...I think they are a result of mucous drainage from your sinuses. Like others have previously stated, I too have serious sinus issues and allergies. And I have noticed that my tonsil stone "outbreaks" tend to be more serious during the time of year when my allergies are really intense. During allergy season, your body is creating excess mucous to capture and flush away pollen, dirt, and crud. My thought is that the mucous gets caught in the pockets of your tonsils and dries out creating the stones. So excess mucous=excess stones. The reason I'm not inclined to believe they are food is because, in the past, I've removed all the visible stones right before going to bed and awoke the next morning with new ones. I hadn't eaten anything in between.ajoyousfriend asked about avoiding milk. Here is my second thought. A lot of people (expecially trained singers) will say that eating dairy products increases mucous levels in your head and throat. I'm don't eat a lot of dairy, but I have noticed that when I eat ice cream, I get a TON of stones and they are HUGE!!! I pulled out my personal record breaking tonsil stone yesterday evening and I had eaten ice cream the night before...I THINK that having blockages in your tonsils interferes or stops drainage from your head. And that is why some people feel a sore throat. I've had a couple of instances where I've dug a large stone out, and my sore throat was gone.I think the longer the stone sits, the harder it gets. I've gotten to the point where I routinely check for them and flush them. (by "routinely" I mean every evening or every other evening) I can always tell when I have numerous stones because I can taste that nasty smell they omit in the back of my throat. When there are a lot of stones, the stronger the taste. I think the smell is caused by the bacteria that live in your mouth.As far as getting rid of them and prevention, I've gotten to the point where I can pop them out with my fingertip and GENTLE pressure. Then I just gargle I have not tried the waterpik idea but am intrigued and will definitely give it a shot. I have taken to rinsing my sinuses with a neti pot or sinus squirt bottle to keep my allergies and sinus issues under control. It seems that since I've started that routine, the tonsil stone problem has significantly reduced. Although, I was quite lax about it in recent days and whadda ya know, tonsil stone city. Also, WATER WATER WATER. I try to drink plenty of it to keep mucous thin so it drains better.So my novel is complete and that is my take on the tonsil stone. Please keep in mind that I AM NOT A DOCTOR OF ANY KIND! These are just my thoughts and experiences. I could be totally off base, but I really don't like that people are asking their health care providers for answers and they're getting an "It's food, deal with it" type answer. Please repost with your thoughts and questions. Until then, Happy Tonsillith Hunting!!
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • I started suffering from these stones about a year ago. At first I noticed the feeling of something being stuck in my throat accompanied with a sore throat on one side (right side). After a few days of being miserable with an awful taste in my mouth I decided to research the situation and found a stone attached to my right tonsil - I merely swiped it out with my finger tip (and gagged at the scent of it). The situation worsened and there were times I was unable to locate the stones in order to remove them - so I read up on it and purchased a water pik - very good idea! if you find that can't remove the stones with your finger (by gentle prodding the tonsil) the water pik will most likely blast it out for you. Also, gargling salt water and listerine frequently helps to PREVENT the stones from developing - The only other, and permanent solution is to have a tonsillectomy (according to my ENT). I hope this helps -- it has been quite a burden for me!Thanks.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • What you're suffering from might also be mononucleosis. You should go in and see your doctor. I am dealing with them now. I used to have them on both sides, but I accidentally tore one while trying to delicately remove a tonsillith with a dissecting probe. If you haven't found out, your tonsils are very delicate. However I have had zero problems from that tonsil since, so faced with a complete removal of your palatines (or laser resurfacing), you may just ask your doctor to make a minor incision. (I am not a doctor, but I bet this is a viable option).My other side, which I never had a problem with, is now developing problems. I have had a few tonsilliths from that one, but recently I found a new angle to press my tonsil, and was horrified at the yield. Here is what I have found:My tonsilliths are not found in crevices, they are found in convoluted tubules (not the DCT tubule, just an apt description) Most of these tubules seem to have more than one opening to the throat, but they seem quite delicate. They seem to be the product of anaerobic bacteria, because the result of listerine is fairly dramatic, and since testing the listerine on aerobic bacteria from my own mouth and seeing it's inability to kill them, I have to assume it has the ability to kill anaerobes. Not to mention the characteristic foul smell of tonsilliths is easy to associate with the horrible smell of anaerobe colonies. I back up the listerine (generic), with 1.5% H2O2, and do not thoroughly rinse for a longer lasting effect. They could also be the bacteria feasting on some excretion of snot and/or cellular debris. I think I may be running an elevated body temperature as a response to potential infection, coupled with inflamed lymph nodes in my jaw, I am almost sure this is the case. I do have a strange symptom which has followed the elevated temp. My neck (right at the atlas and axis) has been stiff, edemic, and warm. I have pain turning my head, and looking down (no menegial symptoms, and it has been about 3 weeks since onset).Anyone have anything else to add? Or have similar symptoms with the neck pain? (I also had an old high school friend give me a sock to the jaw for old times sake (really was a friendly gesture, just unwelcome in post adolescence), so it might also be cartilaginous injury).I think we can figure this out, lets put or knowledge, as those who have experienced it, together.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • Hi guys/gals, i've had these little buggers for years i went to doctor arfter doctor and dentists etc about my bad breath finally i got a referal to an ent and was told tonsilliths is a form of tonsilittis and he would remove them if i liked so next month i'm going in for the op.. yeeee heeeee, i've also tried alot of different meds for this and have only found one that works it's called flagyl works wonders but you can't drink alcohol on it gives you mass headaches etc.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • I've had recurring tonsillitis since grade school which I'd fight off by gargling warm water with salt (saline) every hour until it goes away. After I graduated from college, I kept on getting them every month mostly a week before my period. I had it checked with an EENT doctor of which he prescribed antibiotics. It them came to a time when I moved from one antibiotic to another until ordinary ones isn't effective anymore. My doc adviced for a tonsillectomy (removal) of which I complied. A year passed and I'm having bouts again. My doc explained that we have three(3) tonsils. The one which was removed from me(the one you can see hanging on your throats), lingual and adenoid tonsils which cannot be removed. The only solution for me to avoid tonsillitis is to refrain from drinking cold drinks and eating sweets. Still, I sometimes get the inflammation when a cold is coming in or after I'd have a cold. The only cure then is to gargle the warm saline until it goes away.Don't take tonsillitis for granted, it could lead to serious complications like RHD--Rheumatic Heart Disease since the infection could spread to the heart and lungs.I hope this helped.____________________________________________________________karenSuffering from an addiction. This website has a lot of great resources and treatment centers. http://www.treatmentcenters.org
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • Started about 2 years ago for me. Upward/downward motion of a finger would dislodge them. One time I got frustrated and got a bit too aggressive, it caused bleeding behind the left tonsil. Ever since the bleeding re-occurs rather easily if I am not careful.One observation I found is that from the perspective of staring into the mouth at ones tonsils, it doesn't -appear- that tonsilliths come from any simple crevice or groove in the throat but from some kind of sac. I find that after flushing them out and looking at where they came from it almost looks like they come out of the many holes in a bee-hive like pattern of flesh, its rather disturbing.I find warm salt water up through each nostril and out the mouth is a healthy practice in general (without being excessive) and -imagine- it helps prevent them from developing. Best way to clean them right out for me is a water pik. I found the spoonish "tongue scrubbing" addon like the blue one seen here "http://www.dentist.net/waterpik-wp65.asp" is best for a thorough cleaning. I just position it with the spoons groove pointing to the side I want to clean, put it more to the back of my throat almost cupping my tonsil and move it up and down slowly on the lowest pressure setting. Careful about the water pressure and test it before you just shove it back there because I made the mistake of using the pointed addon at a high pressure setting which blasted my tonsil so hard it bled for ages. Also keep your head down so the water and build up comes out of your mouth and your not swallowing it all.I find doing so about twice a week will keep the buildup from becoming anything of a bother although it is no "cure".
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
Thanks! A moderator will review your post and it will be live within the next 24 hours.
Advertisement

Safe Sex With Hepatitis C

Prevent the spread of the hepatitis C virus.

Preventing Lung Infections

With COPD, it’s important to protect your lungs.

8 Health Dangers of Depression

Unmanaged depression can take a toll on your physical health.

Food Choices for Diabetes

What, when and how much you eat affects your blood sugar.

6 Exercises for Multiple Sclerosis

Ease your way into these stretching and strengthening moves,

Advertisement