Tonsils and Adenoids
David H. Sjulin, M.D.
Tonsils and adenoids are lymphatic tissue located in the back of the throat along the sides for the tonsils and directly behind the nose and the nasal pharynx.
What conditions affect the tonsils and adenoids?
The most common that people are familiar with are viral infections and bacterial infections of the tonsils and the adenoids. But many times they are bothered by post nasal drainage from congestion, either viral or allergy involving the nose.
What are some symptoms of enlarged tonsils and adenoids?
It is much more common in children that we will see obstruction due to tonsil and adenoid enlargement. Parents will see snoring, nasal obstruction with mouth breathing, and certainly kids are more prone to recurrent tonsillitis and strep. Adults definitely do have problems. Theirs are more a chronic infection, low grade infection that just won’t go away with chronic soreness.
How are tonsil and adenoid conditions treated?
Viral infections are going to be treated with supportive care, lots of fluid, rest, and multivitamins. Bacterial infections such as strep which everyone is familiar with is going to be treated with antibiotics. If the inflammation of the tonsils is due to allergic drainage from the back of the nose, then generally antihistamines in a liquid or pill form and then nasal steroid sprays.
When is it time to remove the tonsils and adenoids?
Generally we will take tonsils out for two main reasons. If the tonsils are enlarged enough that they are causing obstructive symptoms that are significant, either difficulty swallowing meats and trouble gaining weight, they could be so enlarged that the child is snoring and not getting quality sleep and that can lead to behavior issues and difficulty learning in the classroom; and then recurrent strep infections or viral infections of the tonsils. If that’s happening too often and they are spending too many times on antibiotics, it can decrease their health and become enough of a problem that we need to remove them.