Adenoids: What are They?
A part of the lymphatic system, adenoids are tissues that work to assist the immune system. Located in the upper throat area just behind the nose, adenoids, like tonsils, collect potentially harmful germs and bacteria as they enter the body. These lymphatic tissues help to fight infection and keep bodily fluids balanced while the immune system is maturing in early childhood. Generally shrinking by the teen years, adenoids are typically gone by adulthood.
What are the Causes of Enlarged Adenoids?
The swelling of the adenoids can be caused by different things. Most often, a child with enlarged adenoids is fighting off infection. Because the adenoids trap germs and bacteria, during times of illness, the area becomes inflamed. That is why doctors pay careful attention to children’s mouths and throats when illness is suspected. Another possible cause of adenoid swelling is an allergic flare-up. As one of the body’s defense mechanisms, if the body is in distress, the adenoids are often irritated too.
Despite that swollen adenoids are typically a sign of illness, there are instances where that isn’t the case. Some babies are simply born with enlarged adenoids, while other children’s adenoids sometimes remain swollen even after the sickness is gone.
Are Enlarged Adenoids a Problem?
The enlarging of adenoids is a beneficial bodily function, however, if the tissues remain swelled, ongoing problems can occur.
The Most Common Problem Caused by Inflamed Adenoids
Mouth breathing is the number one issue reported by those with swollen adenoids. Because the tissues are located just behind the nose, excessive swelling leads to pressure on nasal passages, making it hard to breathe through your nose. Such breathing difficulties are often accompanied by:
- Chronic runny nose
- Dry mouth that often leads to bad breath
- Severely dry or cracked lips
- Audible breathing
Less Common Symptoms of Enlarged Adenoids
Although those are the most common issues experienced. Research shows that other problems have been linked to the condition. Problems such as:
- Chronic ear infections
- Trouble sleeping or staying asleep
- Sleep apnea
Diagnostics and the Treatment of Enlarged Adenoids
Enlarged Adenoid Diagnosis
Because this lymph tissue is on the top of the throat, just taking a peek inside the mouth isn’t sufficient for diagnostic purposes. Generally, the doctor will use a probe with a mirror, an endoscope (a camera on a flexible tube), or an x-ray to confirm inflammation. The doctor will also need a full medical history and information about recent illness.
Common Treatments of Enlarged Adenoids
While mild symptoms typically go away on their own, sometimes treatment is necessary. If adenoid swelling doesn’t subside, the doctor may prescribe nasal spray and/or antibiotics to treat infection and reduce inflammation. If that doesn’t help, your child’s doctor may want to address the issue by performing an adenoidectomy.
What is an Adenoidectomy?
If the infection persists and or if the enlarged adenoids are affecting your child’s airway, the doctor may have to perform an adenoidectomy. Simply put, an adenoidectomy, like a tonsillectomy, is the surgical removal of the adenoid lymph tissues.
Contact Us Today
If you are in and around the Denver area, Associates of Otolaryngology can help. A multiple-doctor practice, AOO provides comprehensive care that has earned them an impeccable reputation. With locations in Lone Tree, Castle Rock, and Denver, AOO are an easily accessible, quality care facility that can help with adenoid issues. Fill out an online contact form to schedule a consultation today!