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Adenoid Hypertrophy : Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

What is Adenoid Hypertrophy?

Adenoid Hypertrophy is a medical condition in which there is enlargement of the adenoids. Adenoids are minute tissues which are situated behind the throat and are quite similar to the tonsils. Both tonsils and the adenoids form a part of the immune system. Adenoids are present at birth and grow as the child grows but then they start to shrink after the age of 7 and significantly come down in size when the child reaches adulthood. If in any case the adenoids start to get enlarged they may cause a few problems, but fortunately they can be treated with removal of adenoids.

Adenoid Hypertrophy

What Causes Adenoid Hypertrophy?

The main function of adenoids is to protect the infant from infection as their immune system is not that well equipped to fight infections. They protect the infants by trapping the bacteria and viruses which enter the body. An infected adenoid becomes enlarged, but comes back to the normal size and when the infection clears. In some cases, the adenoids stay enlarged and do not come back to their normal size even after the infection has cleared causing Adenoid Hypertrophy. Adenoid Hypertrophy can also be caused by certain allergies. In some cases Adenoid Hypertrophy is present at birth.

What are the Symptoms of Adenoid Hypertrophy?

Some of the symptoms of Adenoid Hypertrophy are:

  • Stuffy nose
  • Frequent problems with ears
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Snoring while asleep is one of the symptoms of adenoid hypertrophy
  • Sore throat
  • Dysphagia
  • Swollen neck glands can also be a symptom of adenoid hypertrophy
  • Difficulty breathing through nose
  • Build up of fluid in the middle ear
  • Dry mouth
  • Sleep apnea.

How is Adenoid Hypertrophy Diagnosed?

To begin with, the treating physician will check with you as to when the symptoms actually started and what are the symptoms. Then, the physician will perform a detailed physical examination inspecting the area behind the throat looking for any enlargement of the tonsils or the adenoids. The physician will then insert an endoscope to look at the adenoids. This will confirm the diagnosis of Adenoid Hypertrophy. A blood test may also be done to find out if there is any infection. In some cases where the symptoms are quite severe the child may undergo a sleep study to look for any sleep apnea. All these tests will confirm the diagnosis of Adenoid Hypertrophy.

How is Adenoid Hypertrophy Treated?

Adenoid Hypertrophy is normally treated by removal of the adenoids. This is a very common procedure and is called as adenoidectomy. In case if there is enlargement of the tonsils as well then the tonsils will also be removed. Both the tonsils and the adenoids are normally removed at the same time. This procedure is performed by giving a mild sedative and is done under general anesthetic. It normally takes about two hours to remove the adenoids. Post-surgery for adenoid hypertrophy, some infants may experience the following:

In case of an infection following adenoidectomy for adenoid hypertrophy, the physician will prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection. For a few days after the procedure pain medication may have to be given for pain relief. It is also recommended that the child drink plenty of cold drinks, cold milkshakes and avoid any hot food products for a few days so as to recover from surgery for treatment of Adenoid Hypertrophy.


  1. Stanford Children’s Health – Adenoidectomy: Detailed guide explaining adenoidectomy procedure, recovery, and potential complications. Available at: Stanford Children’s Health – Adenoidectomy
  2. Cleveland Clinic – Adenoids and Adenoidectomy: Information on adenoid hypertrophy and its treatment through adenoidectomy. Available at: Cleveland Clinic – Adenoids and Adenoidectomy
Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 31, 2023

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