November 16, 2009

Causes, Symptoms & Treatment for Enlarged Adenoids in Children

Posted in Category : Child Health

Adenoids can be described as lumpy clusters of tissue that are located at the back of the nasal cavity, just above the roof of the mouth. These clusters are a lot like your tonsils, as they keep you from getting sick by trapping any harmful microorganisms that you swallow or breathe in. However, unlike your tonsils, which can be seen at the back of your throat, adenoids are not easily visible even if you open your mouth really wide. When you go in for a physical checkup, your doctor will need to use a special telescope to get a look at your adenoids. A head x-ray can also give your doctor an idea about the size of these glands. Adenoids are very important in babies, toddlers and little kids, as they perform the essential function of reducing infections. These glands contain cells that prepare antibodies, which fight off harmful bacteria and viruses. As you grow older, these glands lose their importance, because your body develops other ways of combating infectious germs. When a person reaches the age of 5, the adenoids begin shrinking. These glands practically disappear by the time you reach your teens. However, there are a few problems that could lead to enlarged adenoids in kids.


The presence of bacteria or viruses is the main cause of swollen adenoids in children. Sometimes, when germs enter a child’s body they get trapped by this gland. As the adenoid tries to fight off the infection, the tissues may swell up temporarily. Some of the other factors that could also lead to swollen adenoids include:

  • Allergies
  • Hypergammaglobulinemia, an immune system disorder
  • Tonsillitis
  • Tangier disease


There are several uncomfortable signs and symptoms that a child may experience when these glands swell up. Some of the symptoms of swollen adenoids in children include:

  • Breathing difficulties
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Ear aches
  • Nasal voice while speaking
  • Snoring
  • Sore throat
  • Stuffy nose
  • Swelling in the neck
  • Trouble swallowing

To avoid these symptoms, it is best to get a swollen adenoid checked and treated by a doctor. If the invasion of the bacteria is severe, the child may suffer from adenoid inflammation or infection, which needs to be treated without any delay.


Very often the swelling goes away on its own, without any treatment. However, if the swelling is severe and causes problems, the child may need to take antibiotics. In case the swelling is not controlled by medication, the doctor may suggest an adenoidectomy, a surgical procedure for the removal of the adenoid glands. The symptoms of an enlarged adenoid should disappear immediately after the surgery.

In case the problem is not too severe, you could use a simple home remedy to alleviate it. Given below are some home remedies for adenoids in children:

  • Honey and Lemon Juice: Add a teaspoon of honey and 2 or 3 drops of fresh lemon juice to a glass of warm water. Mix all the ingredients thoroughly and have the child drink the solution. This home remedy soothes the discomfort caused by the swelling.
  • Milk and Turmeric: Take a glass of warm milk and add half a teaspoon of turmeric powder to it; make the child drink this mixture just before going to bed. Milk has a soothing effect on the throat and turmeric acts as an antiseptic.
  • Goldenseal Tea: Prepare some fresh goldenseal tea and have the child gargle with it at least 2 or 3 times each day, to bring down the swelling in the gland.
  • Garlic: The anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties present in garlic make it an excellent home remedy for adenoid inflammation and swelling. Crush about 3 to 4 cloves of garlic into a fine paste and squeeze out its juice. Add some honey to the garlic juice, in order to make it more palatable. Have the child drink this juice very slowly, once a day.
  • Carrot & Cucumber Juice: Peel a carrot and cucumber and grind them together, to prepare a paste or juice, which should be consumed twice a day. For better results, add some beetroot to this juice too.
  • Fluids: Keeping the body well-hydrated is very important while trying to cure an enlarged adenoid in kids. Apart from fresh water, encourage the child to keep sipping some broth, milk and fruit juice. Cold and frozen liquids cause the throat to become numb, which reduces the pain.
  • Hot Bath: A long, hot water shower may also soothe the throat and alleviate the symptoms of a swollen adenoid. Allow your child to soak in a tub of warm water for about 10 to 15 minutes.

There are several foods that aggravate the symptoms of adenoiditis and therefore should be avoided. Moreover, before using any of the home remedies for adenoids, it is important to check with a doctor.