Small raised bumps or spots that appear on the back of the throat are medically referred to as sub-epithelial lymphoid tissue. These are present throughout the lining of the throat, and at the base of the tongue. These are basically collections of lymphocytes and are a part of our body's immune system. These immune cells become visible in the form of bumps in the presence of an infection.
Lymphoid Tissue in the Oropharynx
As mentioned earlier, what may appear to be raised spots in the oropharynx may actually be sub-epithelial lymphoid tissue. Tonsils and adenoids are bigger collections of the lymphoid tissue. Here's some information about tonsils, adenoids, and sub-epithelial lymphoid tissue.
Tonsils are two clumps of tissue, located on either side of the throat. They play an important role in stopping the allergens, viruses, and bacteria from entering our system. When these disease-causing agents enter our mouth, tonsils acts like filters and trap these microbes. They also produce lymphocytes, which are immune cells that help in fighting off the infections. The production of antibodies helps in preventing the spread of infection to other parts of the body. At times, an attack by microbes can lead to tonsillitis (inflammation of the tonsils). Since tonsils are exposed to the viruses and bacteria, these can get inflamed and swollen due to throat infections.
Bumps on tonsils and at the back of throat could be attributed to strep throat. When bacteria and dead cells get trapped in the pockets or crypts present on the tonsils, it leads to the formation of foul-smelling white spots on tonsils. This condition is referred to as chronic cryptic tonsillitis. If these raised spots are visible at the back of the throat and the tonsils are also swollen, one must consult a doctor for the treatment of tonsillitis.
Since swelling in tonsils is associated with bacterial infections, doctors generally recommend the use of antibiotics. One must also maintain good oral hygiene. If these treatment options don't seem to be helping, then you can consult a doctor regarding removal of tonsils. This procedure is known as tonsillectomy.
The adenoids, also known as nasopharyngeal tonsils, also perform a similar function. The adenoids are a single mass of lymphoid tissue, located in the passage that connects the back of the nasal cavity to the throat. These are also a part of the immune system of our body. The bacteria and viruses that enter through the nose are filtered out by adenoids. Adenoids produce antibodies and white blood cells that kill the disease-causing agents.
Sometimes, these can get inflamed due to overgrowth of pathogens. Swollen adenoids can cause severe discomfort. The inflammation can also give rise to raised spots at the back of the throat. The affected individual may also suffer from sore throat, bad breath, or ear infections. If the patient is in severe discomfort, doctors might suggest adenoidectomy or the removal of adenoids.
Sub-epithelial Lymphoid Tissue
The sub-epithelial lymphoid tissues present at the back of the throat also help in fighting off the infections. When there is an attack by the viruses or bacteria, the collection of these immune cells get enlarged and visible in the form of small rounded protuberances. If these are accompanied by swollen tonsils, and the causative agent for infection is a bacterium, then the treatment would involve the use of antibiotics.
Whenever a viral or a bacterial infection affects the oral cavity, the lymphoid tissue gets enlarged and appears as raised spots or protuberance. If you notice such spots on the back of your tongue and throat, do consult a doctor. Once the infection resolves, the enlarged lymphoid tissue will shrink back to its original size and become less noticeable.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.