There are two masses of tissue at the back of your throat, one on each side, called tonsils. These small structures are part of our immune system; however, they are themselves prone to infection by viruses and bacteria such as strep. When tonsils are infected, they become inflamed, thereby developing a condition called tonsillitis. Tonsillitis typically causes throat pain, redness and sometimes small white spots called exudate to appear on the tonsils. Additional symptoms can include loss of appetite, ear pain, fevers, and bad breath. In rare cases tumors can form on the tonsils as well. Risk factors for developing a tonsil malignancy include smoking and infection with certain strains of HPV (human papilloma virus).
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