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Health Information For Teens
Adenoids are a patch of tissue that sits at the very back of the nasal passage. Like tonsils, adenoids help keep the body healthy by trapping harmful
and viruses that we breathe in or swallow.
Adenoids (pronounced: AD-eh-noyds) do important work as infection fighters for babies and young children. But they become less important as we get older and the body develops other ways to fight germs. Adenoids usually begin to shrink after about age 5 and often practically disappear by the teen years.
Because adenoids trap germs that enter the body, adenoid tissue sometimes temporarily swells (becomes enlarged) as it tries to fight an infection. Allergies also can make them get bigger.
The swelling sometimes gets better. But sometimes, adenoids can get infected (this is called adenoiditis). If this happens a lot, a doctor might recommend they be removed. Often, tonsils and adenoids are surgically removed at the same time.
Someone with enlarged adenoids might:
If your doctor thinks you have enlarged adenoids, he or she might:
To get a really close look, the doctor might order X-rays or look into the nasal passage with a tiny telescope.
If an infection is suspected, your doctor may prescribe oral antibiotics. Nasal steroids (a liquid that is sprayed into the nose) might be prescribed to help reduce swelling in the adenoids.
A doctor may recommend surgical removal of enlarged or infected adenoids if they’re bothersome and medicine is not controlling the problem. This procedure is called an adenoidectomy (pronounced: ad-eh-noy-DEK-teh-me).
Having adenoids removed is especially important when repeated infections lead to sinus and ear infections. Badly swollen adenoids can interfere with how the body ventilates the middle ears. This can sometimes lead to infections or temporary hearing loss.
During an adenoidectomy:
After an adenoidectomy, the patient will wake up in the recovery area. In most cases, a person can go home the same day of the surgery.
The typical recovery after an adenoidectomy often involves several days of mild pain and discomfort, including sore throat, stuffy nose, and sometimes an earache.
In less than a week after surgery, everything should return to normal. There are no stitches to worry about, and the area where the adenoids were will heal on its own.
Call the doctor if you:
Get medical care right away if you:
Even though the adenoids are part of the immune system, removing them doesn’t affect the body’s ability to fight infections. The immune system has many other ways to fight germs.
Everybody’s heard of tonsils, but not everyone knows what tonsils do in the body or why they may need to be removed. Find out here.
Knowing what to expect with surgery before you get to the hospital can make you less anxious about your surgical experience – and less stress helps a person recover faster.
Strep throat is a common infection that usually needs to be treated with antibiotics. Find out how to recognize the signs of strep throat and what to expect if you have it.
You wake up and your throat is swollen and you have a fever. Could it be tonsillitis? Find out what tonsillitis is, how to treat it, and how to prevent it.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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