Adenoid hypertrophy is the swelling in the back part of the nose (above the tonsils), and is found almost exclusively in children before adolescence. Their function is not quite clear, but it is considered that they contribute to the defense of the body from respiratory tract infections. They never create disturbances, unless they expand too much. Adenoids usually begins to increase at the age of three, reducin at the age of five, and disappears in puberty. However, in a smaller number of children, they still increase after the age of five, and eventually block the airway from the nose to the throat or blocking the Eustachian tube opening which leads from the middle ear to the nose. When this happens, it is usually said that the child has the ”third tonsil”.
If the airway from the nose is blocked, the child is breathing mainly through the mouth, snoring and likely to talk nasally (through the nose). The passage of the secretion in the back of the nose is disabled, the bacteria are multiplied in the stale liquid and adenoida are infected. Infected secretion is dropping out of the baby’s nose during the day, and at night it is accumulated in the throat, causing irritable cough. The infection can be spread through Eustachian tube and middle ear, causing catarrh.
Adenoid disorders are much less frequent today because antibiotics usually prevent the onset of chronic infections. Some children have a typical ”adenoid face” – they have open mouths, runny nose, and talk nasally.
If the infection is kept under control, there are no greater dangers. If neglected, acute form can pass into chronic ear infection causing partial deafness.
What to do?
If your child often has a clogged nose, frequent earache or irritable cough (at night), contact your doctor. After examination, the doctor may refer the child to the specialist. The specialist will probably examine the adenoid vegetation by reflecting on them the mirror light that will hold in the back of the throat, and this process is quite uncomfortable. In some cases, the doctor will discover that adenoids are not enlarged, but that the nasal opening in the back is unusually small. In such cases, surgical removal of adenoids is required.
Infections caused by hypertrophied (abnormally increased) adenoids are treated with antibiotics (if necessary). Surgical removal (adenotomy or adenoidectomy) is not done so often today, because adenoids disappears by themselves before puberty. But, if frequent earache affect the child’s success at school or last despite antibiotics, adenoidectomy is the only solution. The child usually stays in the hospital for several days, and after surgery there are usually no consequences.