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Dr. Andrew Rynne
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Article Home Ear Nose and Throat Disorders Adenoids


The adenoids are lumpy clusters of spongy lymphoid tissue that help protect kids from getting sick. They sit high on each side of the throat behind the nose and the roof of the mouth above and behind the uvula. Like tonsils, adenoids help keep our body healthy by trapping harmful bacteria and viruses that we breathe in or swallow. Adenoids also contain cells that make antibodies to help our body fight infections. Adenoids do important work as infection fighters for babies and little kids and become less important once a kid gets older and the body develops other ways to fight germs, adenoids usually shrink after about age 5, and by the teenage years they often practically disappear.

Swelling of adenoids

Because adenoids filter out bacteria and viruses entering through the nose and produce antibodies to help the body fight infections and trap germs that enter a kid's body, adenoid tissue sometimes temporarily swells as it tries to fight off an infection. The swelling might go away on its own, but sometimes medical treatment is necessary. Adenoids can get so walloped by a bacterial invasion that they become infected themselves.

Swollen or enlarged adenoids are common. When this happens, the tonsils get swollen, too. Swollen or infected adenoids can make it tough for a kid to breathe and cause many other problems

Symptoms of Enlarged Adenoids

Because adenoids trap germs that enter a child's body, adenoid tissue sometimes temporarily swells as it tries to fight off an infection. There are several symptoms associated with enlarged adenoids. You may notice any of these problems:

  • A very stuffy nose, so the kid can breathe only through his or her mouth
  • Snoring, noisy breathing and trouble getting a good night's sleep
  • Sore throat and trouble swallowing
  • Swollen glands in the neck
  • Ear problems
  • Complains of difficulty breathing through the nose
  • Talks as if his or her nostrils are pinched
  • Stops breathing for a few seconds while sleeping (called sleep apnea)



History taking and asking you how things feel in your ears, nose, and throat, and then take a look at these parts.

Listening to your breathing by using a stethoscope and may also feel your neck near your jaw.

They use a small mirror or a bendable light to look at your adenoids.

 X-ray to get a really close look at things.


Antibiotics are usually prescribed for 5 to 7 days as injections or orally.

If enlarged or infected adenoids keep bothering your child and medicine doesn't stop them from coming back, surgical removal with a procedure called adenoidectomy. This may be recommended if your child experiences one or more of the following:

Indications for adenoidectomy

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Sleep apnea

  • Recurrent infections

  • Adenoids removal is especially important when repeated infections lead to sinus and ear infections. Badly swollen adenoids can interfere with ear pressure and fluid movement, which can sometimes lead to hearing loss. Therefore, kids whose infected adenoids cause frequent earaches and fluid buildup may need to get an adenoidectomy as well as ear tube surgery.

  • And although adenoids can be taken out without the tonsils, if your child is having tonsil problems, they may need to be removed at the same time. A tonsillectomy with an adenoidectomy is the most common operation for children.


  • Adenoidectomy

  • Tonsillectomy

  • Adenoidectomy and Tonsillectomy