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Tonsil Problem
December 2002

Q. About once every two months, I can feel something on my tonsil with the back part of my tongue. It is very annoying. When I look, there is a white mass there. These masses reach up to 1/2 cm in diameter and they show up on in various places on both tonsils. I have to take a toothpick and remove this white mass. It doesn't hurt, it is just very annoying until I can get it out and I usually choke myself trying. This has been happening for years and as of yet, no doctor has been able to explain this to me. Have you heard of this?

A. The tonsils located in the back of the throat are part of our immune system, helping to filter out bacteria and viruses which could enter the lungs, yet the tonsils themselves can become the target of infection. The problem you describe sounds as though you may have some scar tissue on the tonsils which can result from prior infection such as tonsillitis in childhood. In some individuals this can leave little pockets in the tonsil tissue. Bits of food and the normal bacteria of the mouth can get trapped here and develop areas of inflammation which fit your description. Have your doctor or an E.N.T. doctor take a look at a time when the process is present.

http://familydoctor.org/flowcharts/515.html

http://www.entnet.org/healthinfo/throat/tonsils.cfm

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