Tonsil Stones: 6 Alarming Symptoms Of Tonsilloliths That Should Never Be Ignored

by Ileana Paules-Bronet
Ileana is the Editor of Original Content at LittleThings. She grew up in upstate New York and Oregon and now lives in Queens, NY. Ileana graduated from Skidmore College with a degree in sociology. After graduating, she attended the Columbia Publishing Course in New York City, then worked as in marketing at Oxford University Press. Since transitioning to editorial, she has written for sites like BuzzFeed, HuffPost, and Unwritten. She has also worked for local newspapers and magazines in upstate New York. In her free time, you can find Ileana watching Law and Order: SVU, eating ice cream, and spending time with her dog.

When I was in college, I shared a room with a wonderful girl. We became best friends, and we spent almost all our time together.

One day, she was feeling a bit under the weather, so she went to our student health center. They told her she just had a sore throat. A few days later, she wasn’t feeling any better.

I looked at her throat, and her tonsils were so swollen that we started looking up what could possibly be wrong: tonsillitis, tonsil cancer, tonsil stones?

Luckily, she had an easily treatable abscess, but as a result, I got quite caught up with one question: What on earth are tonsil stones?

Have you ever heard of tonsil stones? They’re not unlike kidney stones or gallstones, and they form in your tonsils at the back of your throat.

“Formally known as tonsilloliths, the stones consist of mucus, dead cells and other debris that collect in the deep pockets of the tonsils and gradually condense into small, light-colored globs,” explains The New York Times.

Tonsil stones can cause a number of symptoms, including bad breath, a sore throat, difficulty swallowing, and even ear pain. Although some require no treatment at all, others may need to be surgically removed.

Watch the video below to find out more about what causes tonsil stones — and how to know if you have them!

Photos: Morgan Swofford for LittleThings; Wikimedia / Mreasystart

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