Q:

What causes white patches on the back of the throat?

A:

Quick Answer

One common cause of white patches on the back of the throat is tonsillitis, according to WebMD. In addition, individuals suffering from strep throat may also have white patches at the back of the throat, Mayo Clinic highlights.

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Full Answer

Someone who is suffering from tonsillitis may experience swelling at the back of the throat, along with white or yellow patches in the area. Other symptoms include:

  • Painful swallowing and voice changes because of the swelling
  • Swollen lymph glands around the neck
  • A high temperature/fever
  • Bad breath

Strep throat is a bacterial throat infection that can result in white patches on the back of the throat. In addition, patients with strep throat may experience:

  • Throat pain and difficulty swallowing
  • Tonsils that become red and swollen, along with pus
  • Small red spots on the roof of the mouth
  • Fatigue and headaches
  • A rash
  • A high temperature or fever
  • Children may experience a stomachache and vomiting

Not everyone who has strep throat or tonsillitis experiences the same symptoms. Some patients may only experience a few. As tonsillitis and strep throat have similar symptoms, doctors perform tests to differentiate between the two. If the cause of the tonsillitis is bacterial, the patient may receive antibiotics. As strep throat is bacterial, they are likely to receive antibiotics. In addition, patients may want to take over the counter medication to alleviate pain.

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