Tonsils and adenoids are lumps of tissue in the back of your throat. They trap germs and help your body fight infection. You can see your tonsils in the back of your throat. But you can't see your adenoids because they're up behind the roof of your mouth.
Locating the Tonsils and Adenoids
Tonsils and adenoids get bigger if you have an infection
Big tonsils or adenoids sometimes make it hard to breathe or swallow
Big adenoids can cause problems with breathing during sleep and increase the risk of ear infections Acute Middle Ear Infection in Children The middle ear is the space just behind the eardrum. Germs can get in the middle ear and cause an infection. A middle ear infection is also called otitis media. An acute middle ear infection... read more
Doctors sometimes do surgery to remove adenoids that are too big
Some children are born with tonsils and adenoids that are bigger than normal.
A child's tonsils and adenoids may grow too big because of repeated:
Other things that irritate the throat (such as gastroesophageal reflux Gastroesophageal Reflux (GERD) GERD (acid reflux) is a disease caused by your stomach contents and stomach acid flowing back up your esophagus. Your esophagus is the tube that connects your throat to your stomach. Reflux... read more )
Big tonsils and adenoids often don't cause symptoms. When they do cause symptoms, children may:
Enlarged tonsils and adenoids may cause more serious problems, such as:
Ear or sinus infections that don't go away or keep coming back
Hearing loss due to fluid buildup in the ear Fluid in the Ear (Secretory Otitis Media) in Children Your middle ear is a hollow space behind your eardrum. The middle ear contains 3 tiny bones that transmit vibrations of your eardrum to the nerves in your inner ear. Your eustachian tube connects... read more
The doctor will:
Doctors may also test for problems that result from big tonsils and adenoids, such as:
Your child may lose weight because of trouble breathing while eating. The doctor will compare your child's weight to standard growth charts to see if the weight loss is a concern.
Your child's doctor may give your child medicine to treat infections or allergies that are irritating the tonsils or adenoids.
Doctors may suggest removing the adenoids and tonsils if your child has:
Doctors may suggest removing only your child’s adenoids if your child has:
Children can usually go home the same day as the surgery. If just the adenoids were removed, your child should feel better in 2 to 3 days. If the tonsils were also removed, recovery should take about 2 weeks.