Bumps in Back of Throat: What is Strep Throat?

For most people, seeing bumps in back of the throat can be something natural.

Tonsils in the back of the mouth can be naturally large in some people.

And because they often have grooves in them, they can appear as bumpy.

The tongue can also have large taste buds that appear like bumps.

However, there are situations when an appearance of bumps is a sign of something larger, and requires consultation with a doctor.

What can cause bumps in back of throat?

Bumps in back of throat

There are several types of infections that can cause bumps. Infections are usually caused by bacteria, fungi, or viruses.

But there are also some more serious and severe causes of bumps in back of throat.

Strep Throat

Definitely the most common cause, strep throat infection is a bacterial infection [1]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMHT0024690/ [2]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2763755/.

It manifests as white spots on the tonsils or in the throat.

Other symptoms of the condition include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Swollen neck glands
  • Headaches
  • Rash
  • Redness and swelling of the tongue
  • Redness and swelling of the tonsils
  • Fever
  • Pain when swallowing

Tonsil stones

These are vastly different than kidney stones.

Tonsil stones are specks of white in the back of the throat.

The problem is they are usually hard and challenging to spot.

The symptoms include:

  • Painful throat
  • Problems when swallowing food
  • A metallic taste in the mouth
  • Bad breath

They can appear because of bacteria, food, or mucus getting lodged in the crevices of the tonsils.

Allergic rhinitis

Known commonly as hay fever, the symptoms of allergic rhinitis are similar to those of the common cold.

Often triggered by pollen and pet dander, the symptoms are the following:

  • Runny nose
  • Postnasal drip
  • Itchy eyes, nose, ears, and throat
  • Frequent sneezing


An inflammation of the pharynx, the common name for this condition is “sore throat” [3]https://www.testtargettreat.com/en/home/educational-resources/case-studies/strep-a-pharyngitis-case-study.html.

The pharynx is located in the back of the throat, and that is why you might see bumps there.

Both bacteria and viruses can cause pharyngitis.

For example, the common cold, the flu, chicken pox, measles, and mononucleosis can all cause pharyngitis.

Here are the symptoms to pay attention to:

  • Frequent sneezing
  • Severe headache
  • Swollen tonsils
  • Runny nose
  • Feeling of tiredness
  • Runny nose

Infectious mononucleosis

Called simply “mono”, the highly contagious viral infection can cause white spots on the tonsils and in the throat [4]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1924104/.

The symptoms are the following:

  • Fever
  • Enlarged tonsils
  • Sore throat
  • Swollen lymph glands
  • Fatigue

Oral thrush

A yeast or fungal infection of the mouth and throat, oral thrush can also cause white spots in the location it appears [5]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4681845/ [6]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0088209/.

More common in babies than adults, thrush is also common among people with weak immune systems.

In addition to the white bumps, you might notice these symptoms:

  • Sore throat
  • Pain when swallowing
  • Redness

Oral herpes

This is a common viral infection that can spread through kissing, sharing utensils or cups with an infected person, or oral sex.

The most common symptom is a rose on your lip.

It can also cause white spots to appear on your throat and tonsils.

What You Can Do

While bumps in back of throat can be caused by different conditions, the treatment is rather similar.

The most important thing is to stay hydrated.

One of the reasons for bumps is infections that can hamper your immune system.

Hydration helps prevent that and keeps your immune system strong.

Here are some home remedies you can try.

Salt water gargle

Gargling with salt water is one of the simplest, yet most efficient remedies for bumps.

Gargling is an effective way to remove the bumps.

All you need is half a teaspoon of salt and a full glass of warm water.

Gargle for 30 seconds, and then spit the water.

Make sure to gargle after each meal, and the bumps will be gone in a no time.

Taking care of food allergies

You might say this is more of a prevention tip than a way to treat bumps.

But if you have food allergies, it is important to detect them.

Many people suffer from hidden food allergies, and the result is oral thrush.

Common food allergies include gluten, eggs, peanuts, wheat, dairy, and shellfish.

Try an elimination diet, and you can detect an allergy.

Make sure to avoid those foods afterwards to prevent and treat bumps.

Herbal remedies

There are many herbs that can help with bumps, and they can all be prepared as a tea.

For example, geranium is a common herb used for treating cold symptoms such as fever, sore throat, scratchy throat, and coughing.

Barberry, goldenseal, Oregon grape, and goldthread are some other herbs you can try.

And if you want more common herbs, go for garlic and oregano, both of which have antifungal and antibacterial properties.


Homeopathic remedies threat not only the problem, but the source as well.

If you have sore bumps in the throat, you can try some homeopathic remedies.

Make sure that a homeopathy expert prescribes you these remedies.


Also known as good bacteria, probiotics restore the balance of bacteria, whether in your gut or your mouth.

Some probiotics include yogurt, kefir, kombucha tea, and more.

An imbalance of bacteria will often lead to candida overgrowth or oral thrush, both conditions that result with bumps.

Treatment for bumps

Depending on the cause of the problem, the treatment is different.

  • Treating strep throat usually involves over the counter pain relievers. Ignoring the problem can lead to acute rheumatic fever
  • Treatment of mono, on the other hand, focuses first on reducing symptoms. Secondary infections may require antibiotics
  • Treatment for oral thrush focuses on antifungal remedies. Babies usually have to take liquid antifungal medication
  • There is no cure for herpes, but anti-viral medications can help, as well as topical anesthetics, which can lessen throat pain

Prevention for bumps in back of throat

If you follow these tips and restrictions, you might prevent bumps in the first place.

And we all know that prevention is the best cure.

  • Avoid sugar and dairy, as they contribute to mucus production and can promote overgrowth of Candida
  • Practice proper oral hygiene to prevent oral candidiasis as the cause. Brush your teeth and gums after every meal, and clean your tongue with a metal tongue scraper
  • Drink a glass of water every couple of hours to keep yourself hydrated. Avoid dehydration drinks like caffeine-rich drinks and alcohol

Possible complications

There is a reason why you should never ignore bumps in back of the throat.

On first glance, small red or white bumps might look normal to you.

But it is always better to have a professional check you.

Bumps in the throat can potential have several serious causes, as we saw before.

They can be symptom of tonsil stones, pharyngitis, throat herpes, oral candidiasis, or some serious conditions like mono, toxic shock syndrome, HVP, or even cancer [7]https://www.health.harvard.edu/cancer/neck-lump-is-common-sign-of-throat-cancer-due-to-hpv-virus.

The treatment always depends on the cause, and if home and natural remedies do not help, you should always consult with a physician.


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