Adenoids are a patch of tissue that is high up in the throat, just behind the nose. They, along with the tonsils, are part of the lymphatic system, which helps to fight infection. Adenoids are prominent in children and begin to shrink after about age 5, often disappearing by the teenage years. When the adenoids become swollen, either due to an infection or an underlying condition, they can cause nasal obstruction, snoring, and breathing difficulties.
- Age: Adenoid problems are more common in children because adenoids tend to shrink as a person ages.
- Frequent respiratory infections: Children who have recurrent ear, sinus or throat infections have a higher risk of developing adenoiditis.
- Allergies: Allergies may lead to swollen adenoids.
While adenoid enlargement or adenoiditis can’t always be prevented, the following steps can help your child avoid infections:
- Good hygiene: Teach your child to wash their hands correctly and often,particularly before meals and after using the bathroom or blowing their nose.
- Healthy habits: Make sure your child eats a balanced diet, gets plenty of sleep, and avoids contact with others who are sick.
Myths, Misconceptions, and Facts
Myth: Only children have adenoids.
Fact: While adenoids are much more prominent in children, adults also have adenoids. They tend to shrink and become insignificant over time.
Myth: Swollen adenoids always cause symptoms.
Fact: Some children may have enlarged adenoids without any obvious symptoms. It often depends on the severity of the enlargement.
Myth: Adenoids always need to be removed if they’re causing problems.
Fact: While adenoidectomy (removal of the adenoids) is sometimes necessary, it’s not always the first course of action. Doctors may first try medications like antibiotics or nasal steroids.
Adenoids are a part of the immune system that can sometimes cause health problems when they become enlarged, especially in children. While adenoidectomy is sometimes necessary, it’s usually not the first course of action. Good hygiene and healthy habits can help your child avoid the infections that commonly cause adenoids to swell. Despite the Myths, adenoids can cause problems without obvious symptoms, adults do have adenoids, and they don’t always need to be removed when they’re causing symptoms.