Demystifying Adenoids: What They Are and How They Affect Your Child

Your child’s adenoids serve a pretty important purpose. They filter out germs, and keep the rest of your child’s respiratory system clean and healthy. But sometimes, these little glands get inflamed and swollen, which can cause some problems with sleep and eating — plus, it can make your child more prone to infections from viruses or bacteria. That’s why it’s so important to understand what adenoids are, how they affect your child, and how to treat them.

What Are Adenoids?

The adenoid, or pharyngeal tonsil, is a lymphatic tissue located behind your nose, at the upper part of your throat. These small glands are most active in children under 10 years old. Though relatively harmless to adults, they can cause serious breathing issues for children. The condition is easily treatable through surgery. If left untreated, it can lead to more severe complications like chronic sinusitis or even a tumor that affects speech development in children.

Symptoms That Parents Should Look Out For

Watch for excessive snoring and wheezing, especially at night, as well as a rattling sound when your child breathes. 

When your child is congested or has an infection, these symptoms may intensify. In addition to snoring, your child may develop growth issues that are caused by a buildup of adenoid tissue pressing on his or her airway. 

Another sign of adenoids is ear pain in children. This pain can range from mild discomfort to severe pain that prevents them from sleeping at night. 

Additionally, children with adenoids may experience chronic sore throats as well as difficulty swallowing food and liquids. 

If you’re concerned about your child’s breathing habits, schedule an appointment with a pediatrician. A physical exam can be performed to determine if further testing is necessary.

When To See A Doctor About Adenoids?

It is usually difficult to tell if your child has adenoids without a visit to a pediatrician. However, there are some symptoms you can look out for at home. If you notice that your child wakes up with a stuffy nose or mouth more than once a week, or that they snore at night but don’t have sleep apnea, then it might be time to see a doctor about adenoids. 

Treatments for Adenoids

If you’re facing an adenoid problem in your child, don’t worry. There are a number of effective treatments that you can explore with your physician. 

These include surgical removal (if appropriate), homeopathic medicines, and acupressure therapy. 

Be sure to discuss any health concerns with a doctor, who will advise you on what is best for your child based on his or her individual symptoms. The good news is that most cases of adenoids clear up without much fuss within a few years. However, if they persist, they may become more difficult to treat and may even be associated with hearing loss later in life.


The large majority of children with adenoids have no idea they have them. In most cases, they are left untreated unless a parent notices changes in their child’s behavior or sleep patterns. If you suspect your child might be suffering from adenoid hypertrophy, it is imperative that you take them to a specialist for proper diagnosis and treatment.