What are adenoids?
The adenoids are tissue patches at the back of the nasal canal. Adenoids, like tonsils, protect the body by trapping hazardous bacteria and viruses we inhale or swallow.
For babies, adenoids play a crucial role as infection fighters. However, when a child grows older, the body develops other ways to combat germs, and they are not required. After five years of age, adenoids in children begin to decrease, and by the teen years, they are almost gone.
What are enlarged adenoids?
Adenoids are tiny tissue patches that line the back of the neck. They sit right above the tonsils and are similar in size to them. If you look in the back of your throat, you can see your tonsils, but the adenoids are not visible. It is because the immune system, which includes the adenoids and tonsils, serves to prevent and fight infection in the body.
If the adenoids become large, they might cause complications. Fortunately, they are not a necessary component of the immune system. So they can be removed.
What causes enlarged adenoids?
From the moment you are born, you have adenoids. They develop until a youngster is between three and five years old. After that, they usually start to shrink around the age of seven. They disappear by adulthood.
They can be found in the channel connecting the back of the nasal cavity to the throat. They produce antibodies to help your body in fighting infections. Adenoids protect newborns from an illness during their first years of life by trapping viruses and bacteria infiltrating the body through the nose.
When adenoids become infected, they grow and then shrink to their original size once the infection is gone.
What are the symptoms of enlarged adenoids?
Adenoids that get enlarged can produce a variety of symptoms, including:
- A stuffy, clogged nose
- Ear issues
- Sleep disturbances
- A scratchy throat
- Swallowing problems
- Neck glands that get enlarged
- Inability to breathe through the nose
- Otitis media with effusion, sometimes known as “glue ear” (fluid buildup in the middle ear, which can cause hearing problems)
- Chapped lips and a parched tongue (from breathing problems)
- Obstructive sleep apnea (pauses in breathing during sleep)
How are enlarged adenoids diagnosed?
Your child’s symptoms will be the first thing the doctor will ask. After that, your youngster will get a physical examination. To observe the adenoids, the doctor will use a specific type of mirror and a small, flexible telescope (also known as an endoscope) inserted via the nose.
Your child may need a blood test to check for infection, depending on what your doctor discovers. In addition, an X-ray of the neck may be required in some cases.
In certain circumstances, your child may require a sleep study. First, it will identify whether or not they have sleep apnea. Then, your youngster will sleep at a facility overnight while their breathing and brain activity gets monitored with electrodes. Although the study is harmless, some children may find sleeping in a foreign setting difficult.
When Should I Call the Doctor?
- If your kid develops a fever, vomits after the first day or after taking medicine, has neck discomfort that does not go away with pain medicine, has difficulty moving the neck, refuses to drink, or is not urinating at least once every 8 hours, see a doctor.
- If your child has blood leaking from the nose or covering the tongue for more than 10 minutes, bleeding after the first day, or vomiting blood, get medical attention immediately.
What is the treatment for enlarged adenoids?
A doctor determines the treatment by the severity of the illness. For example, the doctor may not propose surgery if your child’s swollen adenoids are not infected. Instead, your doctor may decide to wait and see if your child’s adenoids decrease as the child grows.
In certain circumstances, your doctor may prescribe medication to decrease swollen adenoids, such as a nasal steroid. However, if swollen adenoids persist in causing issues despite drug treatment, they are removed. The process is straightforward and carries few hazards. An adenoidectomy is the name of the procedure.
Learn more: Adenoid removal
If a child’s tonsils get infected frequently, the doctor may remove them. Tonsils and adenoids are frequently removed together. It is critical to have the adenoids removed, especially if your child has recurring infections that result in sinus and ear infections. Infections or middle ear fluid can occur due to adenoid inflation, which can cause temporary hearing loss.
Learn more: Tonsillectomy
Before surgery, your child will get a light sedative to help them relax. They will be given general anesthesia after that. It takes around two hours to complete the process.
Following the removal of the adenoids, your kid may experience:
• A sore throat
• Mild bleeding
• A blocked nose
To prevent infection, the doctor will prescribe an antibiotic. For the first seven days, a child should drink cold, frosty drinks such as milkshakes and ice cream and avoid eating any warm foods. The symptoms should fade away in a few weeks.
What is the long-term outlook for enlarged adenoids?
Adenoids that are larger in children are generally prevalent. If you find that your child is exhibiting any of the signs of swollen adenoids, have them evaluated as soon as possible. Enlarged adenoids are a highly manageable illness. In certain situations, doctors may use a simple antibiotic to treat them.