Adenoids help prevent infection by capturing viruses and bacteria that enter the body through the airway.
All about adenoids
Adenoids are lumps of lymph tissue located between the nose and the back of the throat. They help the body fight infection by trapping viruses and bacteria that enter through the nose and mouth.
The adenoids begin to shrink and usually completely disappear during the teenage years. But sometimes, the adenoids in children become enlarged.
When the adenoids trap the infection-causing germs, the tissue can swell causing them to become enlarged. Swelling that doesn’t resolve due to chronic infection of the adenoids can causeextreme, persistent enlargement. This can obstruct the nasal passages and may result in the following:
- Nasal stuffiness
- Runny nose
- Sleep restlessness
- Sleep apnea (not breathing for periods of time during sleep)
- Mouth breathing
- Dry lips
- Ear infections
Treatment of enlarged adenoids
If no symptoms are present, treatment may not be necessary. Since adenoids shrink over time, a watchful waiting approach may be the best course of action. For enlarged adenoids that cause discomfort or difficulty breathing, your child’s pediatrician may prescribe nasal spray to reduce the swelling or antibiotics, if infection is present.
When the adenoids are chronically infected or causing repeated ear infections or breathing problems, removal may be the solution. Surgical removal of the adenoids is called adenoidectomy.
During adenoidectomy, general anesthesia is administered to induce sleep while the adenoids are removed. Afterwards, sore throat is common. A soft diet may be helpful in reducing swallowing discomfort.
Most children fully recover within one week of adenoidectomy.