All About Invisible Adenoid Glands

Posted on Healthcare By DoctorUna - Published on 2019-10-30


Did you know that tonsils are not the only glands found in your mouth? It is accompanied by another vulnerable pair of glands called adenoids that are located right behind the nose and the roof section of the mouth. Adenoids are prone to get enlarged or inflamed, leading to respiratory infections and breathing difficulties. 

Adenoids are a bundle of tissue that helps trap harmful germs that enter through the mouth or nose. The glands also produce different antibodies to combat infections. These glands cannot be easily seen like the tonsils. Your doctor may use a small mirror or other medical light devices to see the adenoid glands. The doctor can suggest an X-ray to make them more visible and clear. As we grow up, the adenoids become less significant because the body learns to fight diseases in different ways.

Adenoids in Adults

Adenoids mainly help in filtering out the germs that enter via the mouth or nose. Sometimes,  the glands can get overwhelmed by germs and bacteria. Then they become infected and swollen. This condition is known as adenoiditis. This condition is quite common in young children, but even adults are known to be affected by adenoiditis.  

Symptoms of Adenoiditis include the following:

  • Ear-related issues such as ear pain
  • Stuffy or running nose
  • A bad case of sore throat
  • Enlarged adenoid glands in the neck area 
  • Difficulty in breathing through the nose 
  • Change in voice with a nasal tone
  • Difficulty in falling asleep due to related issues 
  • Developing sleep apnea or adenoids snoring 

Adenoids VS Tonsils 

Reports from the American Academy of Otolaryngology suggests that both adenoids and tonsils help fight germs and they act as the 1st line of defense for the immune system. While tonsils are visible to the human eye at the back of the throat, adenoid glands are not visible as they are located in the upper region of the throat behind the roof of the mouth. 

Both tonsils and adenoid glands can cause health problems in kids and young adults. Enlarged glands can act as a trigger for ongoing infections. Moreover, the swollen tissues also block airway passage and disrupt sleeping patterns. 

Enlarged Adenoids and Allergies

Sleep Problems 

Enlarged adenoids can become a persistent annoying problem or even lead to a potentially life-threatening condition.  For instance, swollen and infected adenoids can make a child snore while sleeping. That can be harmless as long as it doesn't hinder his sleep. When the same child steps into the adolescent stage, the adenoids may shrink and it may put an end to his snoring. But, if the adenoid swelling causes sleep apnea, it is a serious and dangerous condition. 

Ear Issues 

When the adenoid glands are infected and swollen also interferes with the Eustachian tubes located in the ear. The condition restricts the normal functioning of the tubes leading to ear infections that keep recurring and infects the adenoids all over again. If not treated on time, it can soon turn into a vicious cycle. 

Overbite Teeth 

Adenoids that become very enlarged can cause a lot of complications for a child. For example, sometimes the child is not able to breathe properly through the nose and uses his mouth for breathing. If he is young and under 7 years old, there are chances that his jaw gets affected leading to deformity. It can cause overbite teeth problem that can be corrected through dental treatment. 

Adenoid Treatment 

Adenoid treatment at home include natural remedies to reduce the discomfort and pain because of enlarged adenoids. You can give your child warm beverages to drink, encourage saltwater gargle, offer lemon and honey induced drink, and use garlic, turmeric, fenugreek, and basil leaves in your food preparations. 

Adenoid treatment without surgery is possible if the child with enlarged adenoids experiences few or zero symptoms. Adenoidectomy (surgical removal of adenoids) is only performed by doctors if the symptoms are persistent or aggressive in nature. 


What are adenoids and why remove them?

Adenoidectomy or adenoid removal is a common surgical process to remove the adenoids. They are glands situated in the roof area of the mouth. They need to be removed when they get swollen or enlarged due to an infection or some allergic reaction. 

What are the symptoms of adenoid problems?

Enlarged adenoids can cause numerous problems such as a blocked nose, stuffy nose, ear issues, sleeping problems, snoring, sore throat, difficulty in swallowing food, and breathing problems to name a few. 

What are the side effects of having your adenoids removed?

There are some risks attached to having your adenoids removed such as swallowing issues, fever, nausea, vomiting, sore throat, bad breath, and ear pain. 

Is adenoid removal painful?

The adenoid removal procedure is not painful but the patient's throat can be sore for one or two days after the surgery. Most kids after the adenoidectomy procedure can resume normal eating activities within a few hours. The throat may hurt a little for 2 to 3 weeks post-surgery. 

At what age can adenoids be removed?

An adenoidectomy is done on kids aged between the ages of 1-7,  adenoids begin to shrink after the age of 7 and become a remnant. 

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About Author


DoctorUna.com launched in the United Arab Emirates in 2012, Egypt and Jordan in 2013 and recently in Kuwait in 2014. The purpose of DoctorUna is to allow patients to quickly search for doctors from across a broad range of specialties, compare them and easily book a convenient appointment. DoctorUna gives doctors access to a larger pool of patients, streamlines and better manages their appointment booking process so they can spend more time caring for patients.

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