Tonsils and adenoids are lumps of tissue in the back of your throat. They trap germs and help your body fight infection. You can see your tonsils in the back of your throat. But you can't see your adenoids because they're up behind the roof of your mouth.
Tonsils and adenoids get bigger if you have an infection
Big tonsils or adenoids sometimes make it hard to breathe or swallow
Big adenoids can cause problems with breathing during sleep and increase the risk of ear infections
Doctors sometimes do surgery to remove adenoids that are too big
Big tonsils and adenoids often don't cause symptoms. When they do cause symptoms, children may:
Enlarged tonsils and adenoids may cause more serious problems, such as:
The doctor will:
Doctors may also test for problems that result from big tonsils and adenoids, such as:
Ear or sinus infections, with blood tests and imaging studies
Ear fluid buildup, with hearing tests
Sleep apnea, with sleep studies
Your child may lose weight because of trouble breathing while eating. The doctor will compare your child's weight to standard growth charts to see if the weight loss is a concern.
Your child's doctor may give your child medicine to treat infections or allergies that are irritating the tonsils or adenoids.
Doctors may suggest removing the adenoids and tonsils if your child has:
Doctors may suggest removing only your child’s adenoids if your child has:
Children can usually go home the same day as the surgery. If just the adenoids were removed, your child should feel better in 2 to 3 days. If the tonsils were also removed, recovery should take about 2 weeks.