I think my five year old daughter has enlarged adenoids. She permanently sounds ‘nasally’ when she talks and breathes very loudly when she is sleeping. She does seem to get slightly more colds than her friends but other than that, she has no problems. She rarely gets tonsillitis so I have no worries there. I was just wondering whether the adenoids will shrink as she gets older or whether I need to talk to my GP about possible treatment.
Mr Zvoru Makura, Consultant ENT surgeon:
Adenoids are aggregations of lymphoid tissue at the back of the nose. They are related to the tonsils which are at the back of the throat.
Both adenoids and tonsils act as sieves for bacteria and viruses, and help fight infection by trapping such organisms from the bloodstream. Adenoids are important in childhood and usually shrink by puberty.
Enlarged Adenoids can cause snoring and someone to “talk through their nose” due to their position at the back of the nose. The nasal secretions get trapped and such kids may have a permanent “runny nose”. A combination of enlarged adenoids and tonsils can cause episodes of sleep apnoea (times when a child temporarily stops breathing). Large adenoids can block the Eustachian tube causing “glue ear”.
Treatment of the adenoids by removal (adenoidectomy) is indicted for obstructive sleep apnoea, glue ear and severe snoring. Children who have adenoids taken out can cope without them because the body has other areas of lymphoid tissue in the body including the intestines.
Your daughter needs to be referred by her GP to an ENT Surgeon for assessment of her adenoids.