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When Your Child's Tonsils and Adenoids are a Problem

The adenoids and tonsils work together to trap germs and clear away infection. Typically, adenoids begin to shrink after age 5 and are virtually gone by adolescence. Problems with the adenoids and tonsils are common during childhood. They may swell even when there is no infection and cause a sore throat, difficulty swallowing, and snoring. 

Surgery may be a wise choice if your child’s adenoids or tonsils are causing problems. At Southern ENT, our otolaryngology experts discuss the warning signs to look out for and when to see a specialist.

Adenoid problems

The adenoids are masses of tissue situated in the back of your child’s mouth where the nose joins the throat. As part of the immune system, they help fight off infection-causing germs. 

In children, the adenoids are a small part of the developing immune system. They help the body recognize germs so that the body produces an immune response to fight them. Adenoids shrink completely as the immune system develops other defenses.

In many children, adenoids work as they should and cause no problems. But sometimes, adenoids can become chronically inflamed and cause problems with breathing. If the adenoids become too big, they can block airflow, resulting in sleep apnea (frequent pauses in breathing during sleep). This can cause your child to have restless sleep.

Frequent ear infections are another sign of adenoid problems. Adenoids are located near a tube that plays a role in keeping the ears healthy. Adenoid inflammation can affect this vital structure and cause middle ear infections.

Signs that your child may need to have surgery to remove the adenoids include:

At Southern ENT, we remove adenoids through the mouth in a safe surgery. Most children go home the same day after surgery if only the adenoids are removed.

Tonsil problems

The tonsils are located on each side of the back of the throat. Like adenoids, tonsils are part of the immune system and help prevent infection. Tonsils can cause the same problems as adenoids. 

Tonsils can become chronically inflamed and cause breathing problems. Some children develop infections of their tonsils. Signs of tonsil problems include:

Children are vulnerable to frequent tonsil infections due to their frequent exposure to germs. Germs that cause tonsil infections can cause serious health complications. We may recommend surgery to remove the tonsils if your child experiences frequent tonsil infections or other problems with their tonsils.

Talk to your doctor if you notice warning signs that your child may be having issues with their tonsils. Surgery to remove the tonsils is fairly straightforward. We remove the tonsils through the mouth. There are no visible scars.

Bring your child in for a thorough evaluation if you notice problems with their ears, nose, or throat. Adenoidectomy and tonsillectomy can help your child breathe and sleep better and eliminate recurrent infections.

Call us to have your child’s tonsil and adenoid issues evaluated by one of our otolaryngologists and head and neck surgeons or request an appointment through our online form. We are currently offering tele-medicine consultations. Our offices are located in Thibodaux, Houma, Raceland, Morgan City, New Iberia, Opelousas, and Youngsville, Louisiana. We’re standing by to help your child feel better.

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