Adenoids are paired, soft tissues present in the back of your nasal cavity and above the roof of your mouth. They are a part of your immune system and are responsible for the development of immunity in children.  Your adenoids gradually shrink with age and by adulthood, they disappear.

Let's find out more about them.

What is the function of adenoids?

The adenoids protect your body against infections. When you breathe, you take in bacteria, viruses, dust and other foreign bodies present in the air. These are trapped by your adenoids.

What causes enlarged adenoids?

Your adenoids may become enlarged for several reasons, including viral, bacterial and fungal diseases, parasites, allergy and cigarette smoke. The repeated exposure to foreign substances makes them enlarged. 

What are the symptoms of enlarged adenoids?

Your adenoids can get enlarged and block the airflow. 

This can cause the following problems or symptoms:

  • Blocked or stuffy nose

  • Peculiar voice while talking (as if your nostrils are pinched)

  • Noisy breathing

  • Frequent middle ear infections

  • Obstructive sleep apnea (a sleep disorder)

  • Frequent sinusitis (infection and inflammation of your sinuses)

  • Snoring

  • Sore throat or difficulties in swallowing

  • Mouth breathing

  • Swollen lymph nodes (glands in your neck)

How can enlarged adenoids be diagnosed?

Your doctor may perform a physical exam along with taking your history for diagnosing swollen adenoids. They will examine the condition of your adenoids with the help of a special mirror.

In some cases, an endoscope (a thin flexible instrument with a camera on one end) can be inserted through your nose. This process may feel uncomfortable but is not painful. 

Your doctor may also order an X-ray for better visualization and understanding of the shape, location and size of your adenoids.

How are enlarged adenoids treated?

Treatment for your enlarged adenoids is determined by your age and the duration of time your adenoids have been swollen. Your doctor may keep an eye on the size of your adenoids over time. To reduce swelling, they may prescribe medications like antibiotics or a nasal spray. 

It is common to have surgery to remove both your adenoids which are known as adenoidectomy. This is commonly performed if you have recurring ear and throat infections, breathing difficulties, or sleep apnea.

If you notice any of the symptoms of enlarged adenoids, get yourself examined as soon as possible. Enlarged adenoids are a treatable condition, and in some cases, a simple antibiotic therapy may suffice.

Disclaimer: This article is written by the Practitioner for informational and educational purposes only. The content presented on this page should not be considered as a substitute for medical expertise. Please "DO NOT SELF-MEDICATE" and seek professional help regarding any health conditions or concerns. Practo will not be responsible for any act or omission arising from the interpretation of the content present on this page.