Adenoids

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What are adenoids?

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. The lymphatic system clears away infection and keeps body fluids in balance. The adenoids and tonsils work by trapping germs coming in through the mouth and nose.

Adenoids usually start to shrink after about age 5. By the teenage years, they are almost completely gone. By then, the body has other ways to fight germs.Enlarged adenoids are adenoids that are swollen. It is a common problem in children.

What causes enlarged adenoids?

Your child’s adenoids can be enlarged, or swollen, for different reasons. It may just be that your child had enlarged adenoids at birth. Adenoids can also become enlarged when they are trying to fight off an infection. They might stay enlarged even after the infection is gone.

  • A dry mouth, which can also lead to bad breath
  • Cracked lips
  • A runny nose
  • Loud breathing
  • Snoring
  • Restless sleep
  • Sleep apnea, where you repeatedly stop breathing for a few seconds while sleeping
  • Ear infections
How can enlarged adenoids be diagnosed? Your child’s health care provider will take a medical history, check your child’s ears, throat, and mouth, and feel your child’s neck.

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