Adenoids are part of the lymphatic system and are located in the back of the nose. The adenoids, along with the palatine tonsils in the throat, help to fight bacteria and viruses that enter through the nose and the mouth. Adenoiditis occurs when the adenoids become swollen and infected.
Symptoms of adenoiditis can include:
- Difficulty breathing through the nose
- A persistent runny nose with mucous that can be clear or discolored
- A dry or sore throat, especially in the morning, from breathing through the mouth
- Snoring or difficulty sleeping
- Recurring or persistent ear infections, since swollen adenoids can block the eustachian tubes from draining into the back of the throat
- Recurring sinus infections
- Bronchitis or pneumonia
Diagnosis of adenoids is based on symptoms and physical examination seen by your doctor. Typically, a patient experiencing prolonged problems with adenoiditis will be referred to an otolaryngologist for further consultation. An otolaryngologist may perform a nasal endoscopy or order an x-ray of the head to determine the size of the adenoids.
Treatment of Adenoiditis
The most common cause of adenoiditis is a virus, and treatment of this type of infection includes supportive measures such as nasal saline, nasal suctioning, and nasal steroids. If your physician believes adenoiditis is caused by a bacteria, they may prescribe an appropriate antibiotic.
For patients that experience recurring adenoiditis requiring multiple antibiotics, adenoiditis which does not respond to antibiotics, recurring or persistent ear infections, or breathing problems, your otolaryngologist may recommend a procedure called an adenoidectomy to remove the adenoids. This procedure is done under general anesthesia in the operating room, typically as an outpatient unless other medical problems are present. It commonly lasts 10-15 minutes, and recovery is about 1 week.