Some problems associated with adenoids
Swollen or enlarged adenoids are common in children. Causes include:
• Infections with viruses or bacteria. Once an infection clears, the swelling often goes down but sometimes the adenoids remain enlarged.
• Often there is no apparent cause.
Symptoms of swollen enlarged adenoids include the following
• Difficulty breathing through the nose. The child then mainly 'mouth breathes'.
• The nose sounds blocked - that is the child may talk with a nasal voice (as if someone is pinching the nose when they talk).
• A constantly runny nose.
• Breathing through the nose may be noisy.
• Snoring at night. In severe cases sleep may be disrupted by the blocked nose and difficulty breathing.
• Swollen adenoids may block the entrance of the eustachian tube. This is the tube that goes from the back of the nose to the middle ear. It normally allows air to get into the middle ear. If this tube is blocked it may contribute to the formation of 'glue ear' (fluid in the middle ear). See separate leaflet called 'glue ear'.
What is the treatment for enlarged adenoids?
In most cases no treatment is needed. Often the symptoms are mild but may flare up during a cold or throat infection. Adenoids normally gradually shrink in later childhood and usually almost disappear by the teenage years. So symptoms tend to clear in time.
If symptoms are severe then a doctor may consider removing the adenoids. For example, if a child regularly has difficulty sleeping or disrupted nights sleep due to a blocked nose. Also, some children with glue ear may benefit from removing the adenoids.