What is the definition of Enlarged Adenoids?

The adenoids are lymph tissues that sit in your upper airway between your nose and the back of your throat. They are similar to the tonsils.

Enlarged adenoids means this tissue is swollen.


What are the alternative names for Enlarged Adenoids?

Adenoids - enlarged

What are the causes for Enlarged Adenoids?

Enlarged adenoids may be normal. They may grow bigger when the baby grows in the womb. The adenoids help the body prevent or fight infections by trapping bacteria and germs.

Infections can cause the adenoids to become swollen. The adenoids may stay enlarged even when you are not sick.

What are the symptoms for Enlarged Adenoids?

Children with enlarged adenoids often breathe through the mouth because the nose is blocked. Mouth breathing occurs mostly at night, but may be present during the day.

Mouth breathing may lead to the following symptoms:

  • Bad breath
  • Cracked lips
  • Dry mouth
  • Persistent runny nose or nasal congestion

Enlarged adenoids may also cause sleep problems. A child may:

  • Be restless while sleeping
  • Snore a lot
  • Have episodes of not breathing during sleep (sleep apnea)

Children with enlarged adenoids may also have more frequent ear infections.

What are the current treatments for Enlarged Adenoids?

Many people with enlarged adenoids have few or no symptoms and do not need treatment. Adenoids shrink as a child grows older.

The provider may prescribe antibiotics or nasal steroid sprays if an infection develops.

Surgery to remove the adenoids (adenoidectomy) may be done if the symptoms are severe or persistent.

When should I contact a medical professional for Enlarged Adenoids?

Call your provider if your child has trouble breathing through the nose or other symptoms of enlarged adenoids.



Wetmore RF. Tonsils and adenoids. In: Kliegman RM, St. Geme JW, Blum NJ, Shah SS, Tasker RC, Wilson KM, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 21st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 411.

Yellon RF, Chi DH. Otolaryngology. In: Zitelli BJ, McIntire SC, Nowalk AJ, eds. Zitelli and Davis' Atlas of Pediatric Physical Diagnosis. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 24.

  • Condition: Obstructive Sleep Apnea in Children
  • Journal: The Cochrane database of systematic reviews
  • Treatment Used: Anti-Inflammatory Drugs
  • Number of Patients: 240
  • Published —
This study assessed the effectiveness and safety of anti-inflammatory drugs for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea in children.
  • Condition: Children with Chronic Adenoiditis and Otitis media with Effusion
  • Journal: Vestnik otorinolaringologii
  • Treatment Used: Lysobact
  • Number of Patients: 102
  • Published —
This study sought to increase the effectiveness of treatment of children with chronic adenoiditis and exudative medium otitis (ear infection).