Originally Posted by indy gal
I was wondering who else has or has had tonsil stones?
1. Any thoughts on what causes them?
2. Anything we can do to prevent them?
3. Are they a sign that you will eventually need your tonsils taken out?
There are two kinds of tonsil stones (tonsiliths).
1. Food particles that get caught in crevices in the back of the throat and sit back there and putrify. People cough these up and they are often foul smelling from the bacteria working on the food.
2. Calcified remains of previous tonsil infections (like the white puss from a boil) that are slowly pushed out of the tonsil and appear on the tonsil surface. Often you can see these first below the surface of the tonsil and then later on the surface as they break the skin. These are usually white in appearance and don't smell at all. Anyone with chronic tonsil infections will have tonsil stones. These are often associated with ear or nose infections as well. During infection the tonsil may swell considerably as bacteria is guided by your body to the tonsils for attack and disposal. After the infection has been reduced the puss that forms can't easily escape (like it can from a boil) and so the dead cells form white calcified remains. Over time these remains are pushed up to the tonsil surface and then fall off into the throat as you swallow. Often they leave behind what looks like a hole, sometimes very deep, that leads into the tonsil. This hole or crevise slowly closes up over several days and disappears. I have seen it reported that tonsil stones are caused by food getting caught in such crevises. While it is true that can happen and a type #1 tonsil stone can then appear, but the original hole was caused by type #2 first.
I have had both types but mainly type #2 for many years. My tonsil stones started after several bouts of ear/sinus infections that were treated with antibiotics. However the antibiotics never seemed to completely rid me of the infection. During the worst time my tonsil was swollen to 1/2 way across my throat (a condition my doctor said was not unusual). During this time I never had or heard of tonsil stones.
It was then discovered that my immune system was low due a pituitary problem. Once that was fixed my tonsil began to shrink. However it stopped after going down after shrinking about 1/3. That's when the tonsil stones started to appear (which I now know were the remains of the frequent battles). Not satisified with what I considered abnormally large and red tonsil I insisted on taking antibiotics beyond the normal 7 days doctors usually prescribe. I took 3 different antibiotics, each for 10-15 days. Each time I finished a course, my tonsil had visibly shrunk. But any time I got a cold or flu they would swell up again. During this time I experienced many tonsil stones, some small and some quite large (5mm). After the 3rd course of drugs my tonsil had shrunk another 1/3. After that my tonsil would go up and down depending upon how often i got sick (which was much less often than before).
After doing some reading I decided to add 2000 IU of vitamin D to my regular multivitamin because of its reported anticancer properties. To my surprise, over the next year my tonsil shrank more, then seemed to stop. About 8 months ago I added 50mg of zinc because of its reported antibacterial and anti cancer properties. Again my tonsil shrank. About 3 months ago I added 200 mcg of selenium because of its reported antiviral/bacteria effects. My tonsil has continued to shrink and my throat has turned a very nice pink color compared to its pretty constant reddishness. Today I would say my tonsil is about 90-95% shrunk. All during this time I had frequent tonsil stones that I observed, day by day, to emerge out of my tonsil. Some of these have been quite large and I could feel them for several days when they finally arrived on the tonsil surface. Occationally I could cough these up, and they had a very white, wet chalky texture with no smell or taste.
I believe that tonsil stones are a good thing because they show your immune system is at least fighting. However, if you have constantly inflamed tonsil then you need to find out what is causing the problem. I thought I would never be over my tonsil infections but I have almost licked the problem. It has taken me 5 years and many trials to find something that worked for me. Specifically, 3 different antibiotics consecutively that attack different kinds of infections: Zithromax (for micoplasma), Septra (for broad spectrum), and Cipro (for the remaining hard to kill bacteria). Combined with 2000 IU vitamin D, 50mg/d Zinc, 200 mcg/d selenium and a strong multivitamin I believe I was able to make a huge dent in an otherwise chronic problem.
I should add that I also take 50mg/d of DHEA because I have a proven deficiency. DHEA also has reported antiviral/bacteria properties and I did notice some reduction in my tonsil after I started taking it. However it is difficult to say exactly what worked because my tonsil would often shrink in the summer time when I wasn't getting frequent colds, only to flare up again considerably. I am also taking calcium which is needed if you take vitamin D.
I have taken photos of my tonsils over the last few years and intent to show the emergence of these tonsils stones day by day. Once I have a good set of pics I'll post them. I started the photos as a way of tracking what my tonsil was doing.
At one point I considered having my tonsils removed, but I have very glad I didn't. Chronic tonsil problems obviously can be helped at least in some cases by attacking the bacteria and viruses that are causing the problem. For such a problem a single course of antibiotics will not fix a long standing problem.
Don't forget to take probiotics after each course of antibiotics so that you don't get yeast and fungus problems. Most bacteria is good and eats yeast for breakfast. We only want to kill the bad ones.