Adenoiditis may begin as a swelling or enlargement of the adenoids. The adenoid, also known as a pharyngeal tonsil or nasopharyngeal tonsil, is the superior-most of the tonsils. It is a mass of lymphatic tissue situated posterior to the nasal cavity, in the roof of the nasopharynx, where the nose blends into the throat.The swelling of adenoids may block or restrict the airways. It can also make it difficult to breathe through your nose.
Swollen adenoids block the airways and can cause the following symptoms:
- Sore throat
- Difficulty swallowing
- Habitual mouth breathing
- Frequent ear infections
- Difficulty breathing through the nose
- Obstructive sleep apnea, which involves periodic lapses in breathing during sleep
Adenoiditis can occur due to a bacterial infection, one such bacteria is Streptococcus. It can also be caused by a number of viruses, including Epstein-Barr virus, adenovirus, and rhinovirus
If the cause of adenoiditis is a bacteria, doctors often prescribe antibiotics. The use of antibiotics often proves successful in treating inflamed adenoidal tissue.
If the cause of adenoiditis is a virus, doctors put patients on a treatment plan that is specific to the virus.
Surgery is also an option to remove adenoids. This is called adenoidectomy. Generally, surgery is used to remove adenoids, when:
- There is recurring infections
- Patients don't get better with antibiotics
- It cause breathing and swallowing problems
- It exists alongside an underlying health issue, such as cancer or a tumor of the throat and neck