Enlarged Adenoids: Symptoms, Caucus, Diagnosis, and treatment
What are enlarged Adenoids?
Adenoids are tiny pieces of tissue in the back of your throat. They hang above your tonsils. You may be able to see your tonsils at the back of your throat, but you cannot see your adenoids.
Adenoids help fight infections in your body. They are the most helpful between birth and age 5. Adenoids are like a sponge. They catch the germs that make you sick. That’s what causes them to increase in size. They return to normal size when you are healthy.
After age 5, they shrink in size. They no longer play a big role in your body’s health. It is not normal for them to remain swollen (enlarged). However, if they do, you need to see your doctor. This rarely happens as an adult.
What causes enlarged adenoids?
Adenoids are present at birth. They grow until a child is between the ages of 3 and 5. Normally, they begin to shrink after around age 7. They shrink considerably in adulthood.
They’re located in the passage that connects the back of the nasal cavity to the throat. They produce antibodies to help your body fight off infections. During the early years, adenoids help protect infants from infection by trapping bacteria and viruses that enter the body through the nose.
Adenoids that become infected usually become enlarged, but return to their normal size when the infection subsides. However, in some instances, the adenoids remain enlarged even after the infection is gone.
Enlarged adenoids can also be caused by allergies. Some children have enlarged adenoids from birth.
What are the symptoms of enlarged adenoids?
Adenoiditis may begin as a swelling or enlargement of the adenoids. The swelling may block or restrict your airways. It can also make it difficult to breathe through your nose.
Other problems associated with swollen adenoids include:
sounding nasally when speaking, as if you’re talking through your nose.
sore or dry throat from breathing through the mouth.
breathing through your mouth feels more comfortable than breathing through your nose.
snoring during the night or any time you sleep in.
symptoms of infection, such as a runny nose that produces green or discolored mucus.
How are enlarged adenoids diagnosed?
A doctor may refer the child to a doctor who specializes in ear, nose, and throat disorders. This type of doctor can be called an ENT specialist.
The doctor will take a history of the child’s symptoms and perform a physical exam that includes the back of the throat.
The doctor may use a tool that consists of a camera on the end of a lighted scope to look at the adenoids. They insert the scope through the nose.
Also, they may recommend a blood test to look for infection.
If the child has symptoms of sleep disturbance, the doctor might recommend a sleep study. This can help indicate whether the symptoms relate to difficulties breathing during sleep or sleep apnea, which sometimes occurs with enlarged adenoids.
What is the treatment for enlarged adenoids?
Treatment depends on your age and how long your adenoids have been enlarged. Your doctor may monitor the adenoids’ size over time. They may prescribe medicines or a nasal spray to reduce swelling. Surgery to remove your adenoids and tonsils at the same time is common. This is common if you have frequent ear and throat infections, trouble breathing, or sleep apnea.