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Brains Super Speciality Hospital
Unlocking the Secrets of Adenoids

Dr. Oshin Thomas, ENT Surgeon.

The adenoids are small glands located at the back of the throat and play an important role in the immune system. Adenoids are largest in children and typically begin to shrink around the age of 5 to 7 years old. By the time most children reach their teenage years, the adenoids have usually diminished significantly in size, and in many cases, they may almost disappear entirely by adulthood. However, when they become infected, they can lead to adenoiditis. In this article, we'll explore the signs and symptoms of adenoiditis, recognize adenoid hypertrophy in children, understand how it contributes to various ear infections, and discuss the importance of seeking medical attention for proper diagnosis and treatment.

How to recognize Adenoid Hypertrophy in children ?

Adenoid hypertrophy refers to enlarged adenoids, which can obstruct the nasal passages and cause various symptoms. Here are some common indicators that your child may have adenoid hypertrophy:

  • .Persistent Nasal Congestion: Frequent nasal congestion or stuffiness without signs of a cold or allergies.
  • .Mouth Breathing: Difficulty breathing through the nose, especially during sleep, leading to mouth breathing.
  • .Snoring: Regular or loud snoring, particularly during sleep.
  • .Sleep Disturbances: Disrupted sleep patterns, including frequent waking during the night or difficulty breathing while asleep. Poor sleep quality can result in daytime drowsiness, affecting a child's ability to concentrate and perform well in school.
  • .Difficulty Swallowing: Discomfort or difficulty swallowing, especially when eating or drinking.
  • .Speech and Language Delays: Impact on speech and language development due to obstruction of the Eustachian tube.
  • .Facial Structure Changes: Changes in facial structure, such as a long, narrow face and open-mouth posture, known as adenoid facies.
  • .Recurrent Ear Infections: Middle ear infections or fluid buildup in the ears, resulting in earaches or hearing difficulties.

Importance of Early Identification of Hearing Impairment:

Early detection of hearing impairment in children with adenoid hypertrophy is crucial for several reasons:

  • .Speech and Language Development: Hearing is essential for language skills, and untreated issues can lead to speech delays and academic difficulties.
  • .Educational Performance: Hearing problems can hinder learning in school, leading to underachievement.
  • .Social and Emotional Well-being: Hearing impairment can cause isolation and low self-esteem, impacting social interactions and mental health.
  • .Safety: Hearing loss may pose safety risks, especially in situations requiring auditory cues for awareness, like crossing streets.
  • .Treatment Options: Early detection enables timely interventions such as hearing aids or speech therapy, improving outcomes.
  • .Prevention of Complications: Addressing hearing problems early helps prevent delays in development and long-term issues like academic struggles or social isolation.

When to Consider Surgery:

While many cases of adenoiditis can be managed with antibiotics and other treatments, surgery may be recommended in certain situations, including:

  • .Recurrent Infections: If a child experiences frequent or persistent adenoid infections despite antibiotic treatment, surgery may be considered.
  • .Obstructive Symptoms: When adenoid enlargement leads to significant breathing difficulties, sleep disturbances, or recurrent ear infections, surgery may be necessary to remove the adenoids and improve airflow.
  • .Failure of Conservative Treatment: If adenoiditis does not respond to conservative treatments such as antibiotics, nasal sprays, or allergy medications, surgery may be explored as an option for long-term relief.

Treatment Options:

  • .Antibiotics: In mild cases of adenoiditis, antibiotics may be prescribed to clear the infection and reduce inflammation.
  • .Nasal Sprays: Steroid nasal sprays can help reduce swelling of the adenoids and improve nasal breathing.
  • .Allergy Management: Addressing underlying allergies with antihistamines or allergy shots may help alleviate adenoiditis symptoms in some children.
  • .Surgery (Adenoidectomy): Adenoidectomy is a surgical procedure to remove the adenoids. It is typically performed under general anesthesia and is considered safe and effective for relieving symptoms of adenoiditis in children. The decision to proceed with surgery should be based on a thorough evaluation by an ENT specialist, taking into account the child's individual circumstances and medical history.


Adenoiditis can significantly impact a child's quality of life, causing symptoms such as nasal congestion, difficulty breathing, and recurrent infections. While many cases can be managed with conservative treatments, surgery may be necessary in severe or persistent cases. If your child experiences symptoms of adenoiditis, consult an ENT specialist for proper evaluation and treatment recommendations.