Tonsils and adenoids are immune glands in the head. The Adenoids are situated at the back of the centre of the nose above the palate. The tonsils are found in the back end of the throat one on each side.
Tonsils and adenoids are important structure in protecting the body against infection in early life. They act as ‘policeman” preventing viruses and germs from invading the body up to about 2 years old. Beyond that, the immune protective function is less important. Very often they are a source of symptoms to the individual.
What problems can the Tonsils and Adenoids Cause?
The adenoids and tonsils sits at the entrance of the respiratory system (airway). Enlargement of the adenoids and tonsils can obstruct the airway causing breathing difficulties. This is referred to as hypertrophy of the Adenoids or Tonsils.
The symptoms manifested are breathing difficulty, snoring and difficulty in swallowing. Many children may keep food in their mouth for a long time. If Quality of sleep is affected, obstructive sleep apnea may prevail and cause sleep deprivation and can affect daily activities, presenting as lethargy, behavioural changes and impaired academic performance.
Infection of the tonsils is termed tonsillitis. Tonsillitis can be acute of chronic. Acute tonsillitis affect the individual who returns to normal after the infection has settled. Chronic Tonsillitis are more persistent and the symptoms tend to be milder but last for a longer period.
What are the symptoms of Adenoid and Tonsillar Hypertrophy and Tonsillitis?
Enlargement of the adenoids and tonsils may present with mouth breathing and snoring. If mouth breathing happens at a young age, This can lead to snoring, choking, bedwetting and daytime lethargy. In house that are associated with obstructive sleep apnea, there is increased risk of hypertension, cardiac issues, diabetes, stroke and dementia.
The most common problems affecting the tonsils and adenoids are recurrent infections (throat or ear) and significant enlargement or obstruction that cause breathing and swallowing problems. Abscesses around the tonsils, chronic tonsillitis, and infections of small pockets within the tonsils that produce foul-smelling, cheese-like formations can also affect the tonsils and adenoids, making them sore and swollen.
Tonsillitis is an infection in one or both tonsils. One sign is swelling of the tonsils. Other signs or symptoms are:
- Redder than normal tonsils
- A white or yellow coating on the tonsils
- A slight voice change due to swelling
- Sore throat & Bad Breath
- Uncomfortable or painful swallowing
- Swollen lymph nodes (glands) in the neck
Treatment of tonsillitis is usually with antibiotics, mouth gargle, medication to reduce pain and fever.
In persistent or recurrent tonsillitis, hypertrophy of teh tonsils and adenoids, removal of the tonsils and adenoids may be considered. Surgical removal of the tonsils and adenoids can be curative. These procedures can now be performed as a day procedure with no need for hospitalisation
Removal of the tonsils and adenoids in children does not cause a decrease in their immunity.
Dr YT Pang, the ENT Specialist removes the adenoids and tonsils for tonsillitis and hypertrophy using a technique called Coblation tonsillectomy and Endoscopic assisted Coblation Adenoidectomy.
Coblation allows the patient to recover more rapidly with less pain and discomfort.
If you or your child have problem with enlarged tonsils and adenoids or tonsillitis and adenoiditis, Make an appointment with our ENT specialist for children and adults at the CENTRE FOR EAR NOSE THROAT ALLERGY & SNORING.