Adenoids in Children- What Parents Should Know

What are adenoids in children?

In children, adenoids are small patches of tissue situated at the back of the throat. Similar to tonsils, the adenoids are not visible to the eye. These patches of tissues are part of the immune system that helps in trapping the harmful germs entering the body thereby, preventing infections.

What causes enlarged adenoids in children?

The adenoids are present in children since birth and eventually, they shrink when the child reaches the age 7. The adenoids grow between the ages- 3 and 5. 


Sometimes the adenoids can swell when they get infected. When a child breathes in through the mouth or nose, germs also enter the body. Due to excessive germ build-up, the adenoids can be infected resulting in a condition known as adenoiditis


Once the infection is cured, the swelling also subsides and returns to their normal size. However, in some cases, the swelling remains even after the infection is cured. 

What are the symptoms of enlarged adenoids in children?

The adenoids act as the first line of defense in the body. While keeping off harmful germs at bay, the adenoids can swell temporarily. In other cases, the adenoids can also enlarge due to several infections, allergies or other factors. 


When your child’s adenoids swell and enlarge, they are likely to experience the following symptoms-

  • Dysphagia which is difficult to swallow
  • Swelling of the glands in the neck
  • Difficulty while breathing through the nose
  • Foul-smelling breath and dryness of lips due to breathing through the mouth
  • The voice becoming hoarse or high-pitched
  • Frequent stuffiness inside the nose
  • Snoring
  • Disturbed sleep pattern or insomnia
  • Development of middle ear infections or fluid build-up in the ear

How are enlarged adenoids diagnosed in children?

The diagnosis of enlarged adenoids is a simple one. The ENT doctor simply takes a glance at your child’s ears, nose, and throat as well as feels the neck along the jaw. In addition to this, the doctor can also suggest some X-rays. In addition to this, the doctor inserts an endoscope through the nose to look inside the adenoids.

What is the treatment for enlarged adenoids in children?

There are several treatment options available to treat swollen adenoids. The surgery should be the last resort for a child suffering from enlarged adenoids. 

Home Remedies for Swollen Adenoids

  • Gargle with saltwater twice a day.
  • Take honey as it is rich in anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • You can also give your child herbs such as Sage and Echinacea.
  • Inhaling steam to relieve congestion.
  • Keep your child’s head, ears and throat covered.
  • Don’t put excessive strain on the throat by asking your child not to speak too much.

Natural Remedies for Swollen Adenoids

  • Take 1 teaspoon of coconut oil. The reason being coconut oil is rich in antiviral, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Ask your child to gargle with 2 teaspoons of colloidal silver.

What is an adenoidectomy?

The surgical removal of adenoids is known as adenoidectomy. After a tonsillectomy, this is the next common procedure in children. Sometimes when a child is unable to breathe properly due to swelling, the child has to go through an adenoidectomy along with a tonsillectomy. 

How to prepare my child for adenoidectomy?

Here are a few things that the doctor ask their parents of the child to follow before undergoing the adenoidectomy-

  • Stop medication before 10 days of the surgery
  • Avoid eating or drinking for six hours before the procedure
  • Ease out your child’s fears or nerves by telling them about what to expect 

What happens during an adenoidectomy?

To start an adenoidectomy, the ENT surgeon first provides general anesthesia to your child. This will ensure that your child remains asleep during the whole procedure. 


The whole procedure takes about 20-30 minutes to complete. To keep the mouth of your child open, the doctor places a small tool inside the child’s mouth. 


With the help of electricity to heat the tissue, such as radiofrequency, the doctor removes the adenoids. This process is known as coblation. Sometimes, a debrider is also used to remove the tissue.


After this, with the help of absorbent material called packing material, the surgeon controls the bleeding.

What happens after an adenoidectomy?

After the adenoidectomy, your child becomes conscious in a recovery room. It is normal to feel dizzy due to the effect of the anesthesia. Generally, the doctor discharges your child on the same day of the procedure unless there is any complication. In case of any issues, the doctor might suggest keeping your child overnight for observation.


Within a few days after the surgery, your child may develop any of the following symptoms. But remember these are nothing to be worried about.


How should I take care of my child after an adenoidectomy?

ENT doctors, generally, prescribe acetaminophen with ibuprofen for getting relief from pain in the ear and throat. Ensure that you write down the dosages that you should give to your child.


  • Make your child drink lots of fluids. Ensure that your child sips on clear liquids such as water, broth, apple juice or ice popsicles regularly.
  • Give your child soft foods such as mashed potatoes, yogurt, scrambled eggs, dals, khichdi daliya, cooked oats, etc.
  • Don’t give your child acidic or spicy foods nor foods that are rough and crunchy.
  • To soothe out stuffiness inside the nose, you can use a cool-mist humidifier.
  • Your child should brush their teeth gently.
  • Make sure that your child takes enough rest.

When should I call a doctor?

If your child experiences any one of the following symptoms, get hold of a Paediatric ENT doctor without any further delay-


  • Runs a fever
  • Vomits after the first dosage of medicine
  • Suffers from neck pain or stiffness that doesn’t seem to go away on its own
  • Is unable to turn the neck
  • Refuses to drink anything
  • Unable to pass urine for a very long time 


If you are looking for an ENT doctor for your child, you can book an online consultation or visit the nearest Pristyn Care clinic today!

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