An adenoid is a gland situated at the rear of the nose. Kids are born with very small adenoids but as they grow the adenoids grow and they normally reach full growth by the time a kid is approximately 12 years of age. After that growing period the adenoids start to shrink, usually adenoids do not pose a problem however in some cases adenoids can cause medical problems such as mouth breathing or sleep disturbances.
The term hypertrophy means excessive development or enlargement and in the case of adenoid hypertrophy, it simply means the adenoids have grown very large.
Enlarged adenoids can cause many medical problems some being mild in nature and some being life threatening. Common problems are severe snoring, nasal congestion and mouth breathing, however in more severe cases the nasal passages can become blocked and sleep disturbances are possible. Sleep disturbances can result in problems with severe fatigue from not being able to properly breath at night, as well as sleep apnea.
Most children who develop medical problems have breathing difficulties resulting in mouth breathing and severe congestion problems. A child with adenoid hypertrophy may be tired all the time, have behavior problems or have problems in school.
If you think your child may have adenoid hypertrophy, a simple referral from your pediatrician to an ENT can confirm this and often the child will undergo a surgery called an “Adenoidectomy”, which is the only course of treatment for enlarged adenoids. The surgical procedure is very common and most children usually bounce back extremely well from the procedure. A bad breath problem caused by scab formations after surgery, is normal. Snoring and congestion may persists at first after surgery due to swelling behind the nose however problems usually subside after about 2 weeks.
Chronic nasal obstruction can also contribute to chronic ear infections and middle ear problems such as fluid, which can result in the child needing PE tubes insertion.
If you suspect that your child maybe having breathing difficulties at night, take your child to the doctor and ask to get a referral to see an ENT. Nasal obstructions are nothing to put off, in severe cases sleep apnea can be fatal. Sleep apnea problems can lead to chronic fatigue or behavioral problems and in some cases sleep apnea has even been linked to bedwetting.
Often children will have tonsillar hypertrophy and adenoid hypertrophy at the same time, in which case a surgical procedure called a T&A is done to remove both the adenoids and the tonsils at the same time.
References for this article include: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adenoid_hypertrophy