Adenoids

Alternative Names: :lymph glands or lymph nodes,pharyngeal tonsil, or nasopharyngeal tonsil

Definition:
Adenoids are masses of tissue located high on the posterior wall of the pharynx. They are made up of lymphatic tissue, which trap and destroy pathogens in the air that enter the nasopharynx.

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The adenoids help protect kids from getting sick. They sit high on each side of the throat behind the nose and the roof of the mouth. Although you can easily see your tonsils by standing in front of a mirror and opening your mouth wide, you can’t see your adenoids this way. A doctor has to use a small mirror or a special scope to get a peek at your adenoids.

click to see the picture

Like tonsils, adenoids help keep your body healthy by trapping harmful bacteria and viruses that you breathe in or swallow. Adenoids also contain cells that make antibodies to help your body fight infections. Adenoids do important work as infection fighters for babies and little kids. But they become less important once a kid gets older and the body develops other ways to fight germs.

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Some doctors believe that adenoids may not be important at all after kids reach their third birthday. In fact, adenoids usually shrink after about age 5, and by the teenage years they often practically disappear
Enlarged adenoids refers to swollen lymphatic tissue. The tissue is similar to the tonsils, but found higher up above the throat.

Pathology:
Enlarged adenoids, or adenoid hypertrophy, can become nearly the size of a ping pong ball and completely block airflow through the nasal passages.

Even if enlarged adenoids are not substantial enough to physically block the back of the nose, they can obstruct airflow enough so that breathing through the nose requires an uncomfortable amount of work, and inhalation occurs instead through an open mouth.

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Adenoids can also obstruct the nasal airway enough to affect the voice without actually stopping nasal airflow altogether.

Adenoid facies:

Enlargement of adenoids, especially in children, causes an atypical appearance of the face, often referred to as adenoid facies.
click to see the picture
George Catlin, in his humorous and instructive book Breath of Life, published in 1861, illustrates adenoid faces in many engravings and advocates nose-breathing.

Causes of enlargement :
A child may be born with large adenoids, which have developed in the womb.

More commonly, the adenoids become enlarged during the first few years of childhood. Repeated infections of the upper respiratory system cause the adenoids to become chronically inflamed and enlarged. The tonsils are also usually enlarged.

Symptoms:

Swollen or enlarged adenoids are common. When this happens, the tonsils get swollen, too. Swollen or infected adenoids can make it tough for a kid to breathe and cause these problems:
*Bad breath
*Cracked lips
*Dry mouth
*Mouth breathing (mostly at night)
*Mouth open during day (more severe obstruction)
*Persistent runny nose or nasal congestion
*Restlessness while sleeping
*Snoring
*Ear infections (because the drainage tubes from the middle ear may be blocked)
*Disruption of sleep can interfere with a child’s growth.
*Enlarged adenoids can put excessive strain on the heart.

Diagnosis :
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:

•X-ray (side view of the throat)
•Sleep apnea studies (severe cases only)

Treatment:
Antibiotics may be used to treat the adenoids when they’re infected but may not have much effect on chronically enlarged adenoids.

Surgery to remove the adenoids (adenoidectomy) may relieve symptoms or prevent complications in those with frequent ear or sinus infections or fluid behind the ears. It may also be done when ear tubes have not successfully reduced infections. It is done to prevent the long-term complications of airways obstruction, such as heart failure. Surgery may lead to improved growth and development because deep sleep is restored

Prognosis: Full recovery is expected.

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.


Resources:

http://kidshealth.org/kid/ill_injure/sick/adenoids.html
http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/physical_health/conditions/adenoids2.shtml
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001649.htm
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/imagepages/19259.htm
http://health.allrefer.com/health/adenoid-removal-adenoid-removal-series-2.html
http://kidshealth.org/kid/ill_injure/sick/adenoids.html#
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pharyngeal_tonsil

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