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Alternative namesAdenoids - enlarged
DefinitionThe adenoids are lymphatic tissue in the back of the nose, similar to the tonsils. If the adenoids become enlarged, it can cause cause mouth breathing, snoring, bad breath, and chronic runny nose. It can also cause health-threatening conditions such as sleep apnea , pulmonary hypertension , and right-sided heart failure .
Causes, incidence, and risk factorsEnlargement of the adenoids may occur naturally (beginning during fetal development), or it may be caused by long-term inflammation.
Signs and tests
A physical examination of the throat confirms that the tonsils are enlarged. The adenoids cannot be seen by looking in the mouth directly, but can be seen with a special mirror or using a flexible endoscope through the nose.
Tests may include:
TreatmentSurgical removal of the adenoids ( adenoidectomy ) will prevent complications, and will cure complications if they already exist from enlarged adenoids. Antibiotics may be used to treat tonsil, adenoid, and sinus infections when they occur.
Expectations (prognosis)Full recovery is expected. Right-sided heart failure is reversible when the sleep apnea and airway obstruction are treated.
Calling your health care providerCall your health care provider if your child has difficulty breathing through the nose. Call if the child has other symptoms discussed above.
PreventionTreating throat infections early may prevent the adenoids from becoming enlarged from long-term infection and inflammation. Adenoidectomy prevents the complications of long-term airway obstruction.
Update Date: 5/6/2003Jason Newman, M.D., Department of Otolaryngology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Group, Washington, DC. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT