Enlarged Adenoids: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment

Enlarged adenoids

Adenoids are a part of the immune system and the tissue is located just behind the nasal passage and at the roof of the mouth. These glands are present by birth and they tend to shrink after 6-7 years of age.

Why do they enlarge?

Adenoids are normally not visible and they trap harmful foreign particles that enter though the nose and mouth. They gradually disappear as the body takes up different mechanisms for immunity. Adenoids enlarge when they get infected by bacteria like Streptococcus and virus like Epstein-Barr virus.  In some children, the enlarged glands can be present by birth.

Symptoms of Enlarged Adenoids

Apart from enlargement of glands, other symptoms associated with are:

Sore throat

Blocked and stuffy nose

Swollen glands in the neck

Speech with nasal tone

Ear pain

Difficulty in swallowing

Disturbance in sleep


Breathing through mouth

How to prepare for diagnosis

If your child is experiencing the aforementioned symptoms, then do not delay for a doctor’s check up.  He/she doesn’t need any preparation for the test.

How is enlarged adenoid diagnosed?

The doctor will conduct a physical exam on your child, so make sure you explain the symptoms clearly to the doctor.  He/she will check the ear, nose and throat for infections and feel the jaws as well.

The doctor will check inspect the symptoms and view the adenoids with a special mirror and insert a small, flexible endoscope through the nose. The abnormality or the enlargement can be seen clearly.

X-ray or Blood tests may be suggested to find out infections.

If your child is facing breathing problems while sleeping, then he/she needs to undergo sleep study which is a test for measuring how well your child sleeps and response to sleep problems

What is the treatment for enlarged adenoids?

Initially antibiotics may be prescribed by your doctor if he doesn’t feel the necessity to remove the adenoids.

However, if the symptoms are severe and recur even after completing the course of antibiotics, then the only option is removing the adenoids under anaesthesia, which is medically coined as adenoidectomy. The procedure is quite simple- no external incisions are made and the adenoids are removed from the mouth after cauterizing its base. Antibiotics may be prescribed after the surgery.

What to expect after the treatment?

Since, the adenoids have been removed permanently, it’s natural there won’t be any complications further. Post surgery, your child won’t be allowed to have warm food for at least a week and he can enjoy ice creams, cold milk shakes, etc. Sore throat, stuffy nose, mild ear pain, etc. are very normal side effects which disappear within a week or so.

Schedule your next appointment after 10-14 days of surgery. Usually, there are no post surgery risks.

We assure you that there’s nothing to worry about with enlarged adenoids. Your kid will need to let go school for a week or two until complete recovery.

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