Enlarged Adenoids in Kids: Reasons, Signs & Treatment

Enlarged Adenoids in Children – Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment

As parents, your child’s well-being is of utmost importance to you, and you do everything possible to ensure that your child stays healthy and fit. But health problems are common and they can disrupt any child’s life. One of the conditions that can affect your child’s well-being is enlarged adenoids. Adenoids and tonsils are often talked about together, and are a part of the immune system. But when they get inflamed, it could be painful for kids.

Now if you’ve never heard of this condition before, you’re likely to have questions about it. In this article, we’ve tried to answer some common questions about enlarged adenoids in children. Read on!

What Are Enlarged Adenoids?

Adenoids are tissues that are located at the back of the nasal cavity. These lymphatic tissues play an active role in protecting and maintaining the health, by trapping harmful bacteria and viruses that are inhaled or swallowed. However, sometimes, while doing their job, they swell up and as a result, get enlarged and the adenoids get infected.

What Is the Difference Between Adenoids And Tonsils?

Tonsils and adenoids are both a part of the immune system and help the body fight infections. They help fight infections and produce antibodies. Tonsils are located at the back of the throat and can be seen when the mouth is opened wide enough. Adenoids are present in the upper part of the nasal cavity and can’t be easily seen.

Enlarged Adenoids

Causes of Enlarged Adenoids in a Child

Adenoids exist from the time of birth and grow in size for a child between the ages of 3 and 5. They start to shrink at around age 7 and are almost non-existent in adulthood. The main reason for enlarged adenoids in a baby is an infection. Some risk factors include allergies and pollution, which leads to a chronic infection of the adenoids. Usually, the adenoids return to their normal size once the infection subsides, but in some cases, they may remain enlarged.

Signs and Symptoms of Enlarged Adenoids

Enlarged adenoids can be easy to catch if you are wary of the symptoms. Here are some of the adenoids in toddlers symptoms.

  • Snoring
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Sinusitis
  • Sore throat
  • Middle ear infection
  • Breathing through the mouth
  • A runny nose
  • Frequent ear, nose and throat infections

How Are Enlarged Adenoids Diagnosed in Children?

An ENT specialist will have a look at your child’s symptoms and conduct a physical exam to find out in case the adenoids are enlarged. The doctor will probably use a tool with a camera attached at the end and insert it through the nose to inspect closer. In case of an infection, the doctor might suggest a blood test for your child.


There are many treatment options available to take care of enlarged adenoids in infants and toddlers.

  • In case the problem is not severe, the doctor may prescribe medication to take care of it.
  • Nasal steroid sprays are prescribed to reduce the swelling as normal anti-inflammatory medication may not necessarily be strong enough to reduce it.
  • In the case of chronic infections and recurring sinusitis, the doctor may recommend an adenoidectomy. It is a pretty simple process and poses almost no health risks.

Home Remedies

There are some home remedies that can be tried to reduce the swelling. They might work in case the case of enlargement is not too severe. These remedies include gargling with warm, saltwater, and other warm beverages, turmeric and even fenugreek. However, we suggest before you make your child try these remedies, check with your doctor to confirm if these would be appropriate for your child.

Post Treatment Care

Once your child has received the right treatment, there are some care tips that should be followed for a speedy recovery of your child.

  • There might be some amount of pain that your child goes through, and the doctor will probably prescribe some pain medication. Ensure to follow the dosage so that your child experiences the least amount of pain.
  • Ensure that your child consumes a lot of fluids and nutritious meals. You can start off with soft foods for the first couple of days and then move on to something more filling.
  • Avoid giving any hot or oily foods and crunchy snacks to your child for a couple of weeks. The throat needs to be treated well so that recovery can be fast and with the least amount of discomfort.
  • Make sure your child brushes his teeth and cleans his mouth twice a day to lower the chances of infection. Gargling and blowing the nose should be avoided for the first-week post-treatment.
  • Limit the amount of activity for the first few days. Rest and recovery are very important at this stage. Your child can choose to return to school in about three to five days.

When to Call a Doctor

Ideally, do not wait for the symptoms to worsen. Fix an appointment with the doctor to get your child’s diagnosed if you suspect that he might have enlarged adenoids. In case you find yourself in a situation where you find that your child is dehydrated, has a a fever of over 102°F, is experiencing nausea and is vomiting, or vomits blood or his nose is bleeding, make sure to call the doctor immediately.


As we mentioned before, the prognosis will depend upon the extent of the symptoms and how severely the adenoids are enlarged. The prognosis can range from medication to surgery. In case the enlargement is too much, and it is hindering day to day life of your child, then a surgery will be recommended.


1. What is the Recovery Time for Adenoid Surgery?

Typically, your child will be able to go home on the same day of the surgery. Complete recovery from an adenoidectomy takes one to two weeks.

2. What Should Children Eat After Adenoid Removal?

Depending on your child’s condition, you may have to talk to the doctor to find out what exactly he should eat. However, dairy products like milk, cheese, yoghurt should be avoided because they increase the mucus secretion in the respiratory system.

3. What is the Right Age to Get My Child’s Adenoids Treated?

You can choose to get an adenoid surgery for your child anywhere between the ages of 1 and 7. Usually, after the age of 7, the adenoids begin to shrink.

Many children may have enlarged adenoids, but there’s no need to worry if the condition is not severe. However, it is important to watch out for the signs and symptoms so that appropriate care can be administered at the right time.

Also Read:

Pica in Kids
Herpangina in Kids
Mesenteric Adenitis in Kids

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