Enlarged Adenoid :: Nationwide Children's Hospital

Enlarged Adenoid

What is an adenoid?

The adenoid is a structure located at the junction of the nose and throat (nasopharynx) that functions in the immune system. Although it is beneficial, issues may occur with the adenoid. The adenoid physiologically enlarges during childhood around ages 2-4 years (although an enlarged adenoid may present in children younger than 1 year of age) and the increased size may cause problems.

What problems may result from an enlarged adenoid?

An enlarged adenoid may cause snoring, mouth breathing, persistent congestion, nasal drainage, ear problems, sinusitis, and “nasal” voice quality (the way you sound when you have a cold). Many of these symptoms can be transient; however, persistence of the aforementioned may necessitate evaluation by an Otolaryngologist or ENT specialist.

How are the adenoids evaluated?

The adenoid is not visible without the aid of a fiberoptic endoscope or use of an X-ray. An ENT specialist will evaluate your child by performing a flexible nasopharyngoscopy in your child’s nose to determine if the adenoid is contributing to the problem.

How are enlarged adenoids treated?

If the adenoids are enlarged but are not causing symptoms, no treatment is required. If they are causing symptoms, such as nasal obstruction, snoring, or infection, your doctor may recommend a trial of a medicated nasal spray and/ or removal of the adenoids (adenoidectomy).

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