Adenoid Infections

What is an Adenoid Infection?

Adenoids are a mass of tissue located high in the throat behind the nose and the roof of the mouth. Many of the germs that enter the breathing passages pass through the adenoids, and can sometimes cause infection.

What Are the Symptoms?

Symptoms of infected adenoids vary, and may include:

  • Difficulty breathing through the nose
  • Sounds "stuffy" when speaking
  • Noisy breathing
  • Recurrent ear infections
  • Snoring
  • Sleep apnea

Causes of Adenoid Infection

Adenoids are located in the back of the throat, near the breathing passages of the mouth and nose. When germs enter the body, it is usually through these passages. The tonsils and adenoids "sample" bacteria and viruses, and sometimes become infected. Tonsillitis can occur occasionally or can be a recurrent illness, especially in children.

Diagnosing Tonsillitis

If you or your child experience the symptoms associated with infected adenoids, you should see your doctor for an accurate diagnosis and to receive the most beneficial treatment. Your doctor will review your symptoms, your medical history and perform a physical exam. He/she may then perform a throat culture or strep test, an x-ray, or, perhaps, a blood test, in order to find the cause of your symptoms. More about tonsillitis.

Treatment Options

Medication

Bacterial infections of the adenoids are best treated with antibiotics. Viral infections do not respond to antibiotics, and will need to run their course.

Surgery

At times, it becomes necessary to surgically remove the adenoids. This is typically due to recurrent infections that do not respond to antibiotics, or swelling that interferes with breathing. Individuals who suffer from repeated infections notice a significant improvement following surgery.

Best Regional Hospitals, U.S. News & World Report: Ear, Nose & Throat 2013-14

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