The adenoids are glands that are part of the immune system. They are located high in the throat behind roof of the mouth and the nose. Their job is to catch germs that are inhaled through the nose before they can cause an illness.
Sometimes, the adenoids can become enlarged and feel sore when they’re fighting off bacteria. This can interfere with breathing and sleeping. If your adenoids remain enlarged for a long period of time, it can be uncomfortable and cause problems. When this happens, a doctor may recommend they be surgically removed.
What Are the Symptoms of Enlarged Adenoids?
Enlarged adenoids most often affect children. Signs of enlarged adenoids include:
- Breathing through the mouth
- Runny/stuffy nose without illness
- Dry mouth/cracked lips
- Noisy breathing
- Nasal voice
- Frequent/persistent ear infections
- Poor sleep quality
- Pauses in breathing during sleep
When Are the Adenoids Removed?
Before recommending an adenoidectomy, the doctor will perform an exam and take a medical history. They may recommend a surgical removal if:
- Adenoid infections do not respond to antibiotics.
- Adenoid swelling causes a buildup of fluid in the ears and earaches.
- Ear infections do not respond to antibiotics.
- Enlarged adenoids cause snoring or sleep apnea.
- Sleep problems cause behavior or learning issues.
- Sleep problems cause excessive daytime sleepiness.
How Are the Adenoids Removed?
Before performing an adenoidectomy, the doctor will place you or your child under anesthesia. Then, the doctor will use a lighted instrument to see inside the throat and nasal cavity. The adenoids can be accessed through the back of the throat, so there are no external incisions. Finally, they will cauterize or cut away adenoid tissue.
The surgery takes less than an hour, and you or your child can go home the same day assuming there are no complications.
What Is the Recovery Process Like for Adenoid Removal?
Expect to feel some pain or discomfort in the ears, nose and throat for several days after surgery. The doctor will prescribe medications to help you or your child manage the pain. Be sure to take them as directed. Avoid over-the-counter pain medications like aspirin.
Recovery takes one to two weeks. During this time, be sure to:
- Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. Non-dairy frozen treats from Paciugo Gelato may help with this.
- Eat soft foods to help with the sore throat.
- Stay home from work or school until you or your child is eating and drinking normally, needs no pain medication and is getting a good night’s sleep.
- Avoid airline travel.
For more information about adenoid removal or to schedule an appointment, call the experts at Texas ENT & Allergy today.