While tonsillectomy and tonsillitis are the diseases that grab the lion share of attention, adenoiditis is an equally important disease; however, only a relatively rare and infrequent case seen in children. Young patients, especially the children suffer from this disease that is related to the adenoids.
What is Adenoiditis?
When the adenoid tissues suffer from an inflammation, which is commonly caused by infection, it is known as adenoiditis.
As the apparent identification of the disease is obstructed by the confusion of failing to distinguish the symptoms of the disease from that of cold, it often lasts longer. Most of the time, a pus like discharges can be seen released from the nose and commonly it persists for more than ten days.
About the Adenoid Tissue or Adenoid Gland:
A key feature of Adenoid tissue or adenoid gland is that unlike the tonsils that are very much visible, it is difficult to see the adenoids even when it is infected and enlarged, as they stay at the back of the throat. Therefore, identification of the disease by enlarged adenoids is not frequent. Along with age, these adenoids shrink down and gradually disappear in most of the individuals as they grow up and reach the teenage; while in some cases, they persist in a shrunken state. As the children have larger adenoids, they are more likely to be impacted with this disease.
Symptoms of Adenoiditis:
Adenoiditis works as a magnet for the germs to get stuck in this tissue and does not give them the opportunity to enter the body cavity. However, when the infection infects this magnet like gland or tissue, the adenoids suffer from Adenoiditis. The symptoms which are experienced in adenoiditis are:
- Stuffy nose
- Heavy mouth breathing
- Foul breath
- Sore throat
- Snoring or sleep apnea
- Swollen neck glands and throat
- Thick green or yellow drainage from nose
- Nasal speaking sound
- Trouble to sleep due to heavy breathing
- Ear pain and ear trouble.
Causes of Adenoiditis:
The function of the adenoid tissue and glands is to protect or prevent the body from the viruses and bacteria that try to enter the body through breathing. Therefore, the very basic causes for this disease to occur are of course these viruses and bacteria. Epstein-Barr virus is one of the viruses that cause this disease and there is also the Streptococcus bacterium that is also recognised as a root cause of adenoiditis.
In most of the cases, the children of young age suffer more from this disease as they are susceptible to infection more than the elders, due to the incomplete development of immune system. Therefore, if the adenoid tissues in children have any recurring infections or if they suffer from tonsillitis frequently, there is high chance that they will suffer from adenoiditis.
How Does Adenoiditis Occur?
Adenoids are basically tissues and vulnerable glands which work as a filter that traps all the germs that pass through the nose and the mouth. Not only does it trap the germs, but it also fights the germs back and prevents them from spreading any kind of infection; and it does so by creating antibodies. Hence, it is one of the key elements that support the immune system of the children. However, as a consequence of trapping germs to protect the body, it itself gets infected by the germs as the tonsils. The results are sore throat and other symptoms.
Complications and Risk Factors Caused Due To Adenoiditis:
When Adenoiditis occurs and the signs and symptoms of the disease can be seen and still left untreated, there are quite some other complications that this disease can lead to. They are:
- Glue Ear – When the Eustachian tubes are blocked by the swollen adenoids, it prevents the draining of the normal mucous made inside the middle ear each day. This then builds up a sticky mucous and interferes the small middle ear bone movements and is called glue ear.
- Middle Ear Infections – The adenoid glands or tissues are situated from the middle ear to the throat and when the disease occurs, they can infect the entire area, damaging your ability to hear.
- Vomiting – As a great deal of pus release is associated with the disease, it might cause the children to swallow the pus and then lead to vomit.
- Chest Infection – If the bacteria or the virus travel to the other parts, they too will be infected and often the bronchi and lungs are infected, leading to bronchitis and pneumonia.
- Sinusitis – The areas in the brain that are filled with air are very likely to be infected by this disease and thus cause sinusitis.
To make sure that none of these complications arise and the disease can be treated right at the beginning, correct diagnosis of adenoiditis is very important. If the primary care doctor finds that the symptoms resemble the possibility of this disease, the patient is generally referred to an otolaryngologist or ENT (ear, nose, and throat) specialist. Apart from the physical examination of the infection and its symptoms, the doctor will recommend a few tests and they are:
- Swabs from the throat to obtain samples for laboratory examinations to identify the bacteria and other organisms.
- X-rays of the adenoid glands to check its size as well as the extent of infection.
- Blood tests to check the presence of organisms
Treatment of Adenoiditis:
Even after taking care of these preventive measures and following them rigorously, adenoiditis may occur in children because of their low immune system as well as vulnerable size of the glands. At that time, treating it properly is mandatory.
Depending on the extent of adenoiditis, the size of the adenoid glands and the frequency of its occurrence, the treatment procedures are determined by the doctors. Usually, if the adenoiditis is not in the severe state, it is treated by antibiotics.
In case this is not enough for the child and the severity of adenoiditis cannot be treated with antibiotics, a surgery called Adenoidectomy is done by the doctors. In this process, the adenoids are removed by the doctors through this small surgery. When adenoidectomy is done, there are no additional incisions made, and the tissues are removed from the mouth of the child. This entire process is done after putting your child on anaesthesia.
Care After Adenoidectomy:
After the Adenoidectomy is done, taking care of the child is very important as it is a child, who is going through a surgery, regardless how big or small. It will also determine whether the treatment for adenoiditis was successful or not. Your child may suffer from a few symptoms after the surgery and they are:
- Mild fever below 102 degree Fahrenheit and in case it rises above, seek attention of the doctor
- Your child may have nausea, vomiting, stiff neck, lethargy and headache
- A sore throat may last for ten or more days
- There will be a little ear pain that could be controlled by medicines prescribed by the doctor
- Small scabs will be developed in the mouth that will gradually dry up and fall off. Do not let your child pick them.
In case after adenoidectomy, the child bleeds even slightly from nose or mouth, contact the doctor immediately. Following these care measures will make sure that your child will recover from the disease and never grow it back. It is always better to follow and take the precautionary measures than to develop and treat a disease as however small it is, it will definitely have some toll of the person suffering from it.
Diet After Adenoidectomy:
Liquids will be an important part of diet immediately after adenoidectomy. Child can drink as much liquid as he or she wants. Liquid diet after adenoidectomy can include water, apple juice, or banana juice, cold milk shakes etc. It is preferable to avoid giving anything that is hot. Once it is observed that the child is able to tolerate liquids without throwing up, they can be started on soft foods like ice cream, soaked cereals, sweet yoghurt, etc.
Prevention of Adenoiditis:
As there is no better alternative to preventing this disease, it is very important that these steps are followed.
- Getting adequate sleep at night
- Drinking plenty of fluids and eating healthy food
- Treating tonsillitis problems, so that they do not recur frequently
- Making sure that other throat and nose infections are prevented to stop it from leading to a possibility for adenoiditis.