Adenoids: What They Are and Why They Can Cause Problems

Adenoids: What They Are and Why They Can Cause Problems

Sore throats and stuffy noses are a common occurrence during childhood and even into adulthood. Tonsils are one part of the body that can often become infected, leading to upper respiratory illnesses. Another part of the body that can contribute to upper respiratory infections, but isn’t talked about quite as much are the adenoids. Learning about what adenoids are and how they can cause problems is an important part of preventing these types of illnesses.

What Are Adenoids?

Adenoids are a mass of tissue located at the back of the nose, behind the roof of the mouth. Unlike tonsils, which are clearly visible when the mouth is opened wide, adenoids can only be seen by using a special mirror or tiny instrument that contains a light on the end of it. Adenoids are also visible on x-rays, which are often used by physicians to get a clearer look at them.

Adenoids play a critical role in protecting young children against viruses. Since their immune systems are not yet fully developed, adenoids work to trap germs and bacteria that are breathed in through the nose and mouth. As children get older, their body finds other ways to fight off infections. Adenoids begin to get smaller around age 5, eventually shrinking to practically nothing by the time a child reaches their teenage years.


Problems They Can Cause

Just like tonsils, adenoids can become swollen or enlarged while fighting off an infection. Since the adenoids are located so close to the back of the throat, swelling can lead to breathing and swallowing difficulties. It also may cause a sore throat, ear pain, swollen neck glands, and snoring.

An infection of the adenoids is called adenoiditis. Adenoiditis is usually treated with antibiotics, but recurrent infections may require surgery to remove the adenoids. Surgery may also be recommended if a child suffers from sleep apnea, swallowing difficulties, or tonsillitis.


How We Can Help

The highly-skilled team at Commonwealth ENT help with adenoiditis and other problems caused by adenoids. Patients that present with difficulties due to their adenoids are treated with compassionate, comprehensive care in an innovative, welcoming environment.

A thorough exam will be performed to determine what’s causing the symptoms, and our dedicated staff will work tirelessly to find treatment solutions that cater to each individual patient’s needs. If surgery is required, our experienced staff will walk with each patient every step of the way to ensure they are comfortable, informed, and well taken care of.


Treatment will continue after surgery as well, with our physicians following up with each patient to confirm that their problems have been resolved in a satisfactory manner. Patient safety is always our first priority at Commonwealth ENT.

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