Has your child been snoring while sleeping? – let’s discuss Adenoid hypertrophy

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Adenoid hypertrophy is a must known for all caregivers. As a caregiver, it might be worrisome seeing your toddler snore while sleeping. You might have observed that he breathes with his mouth open. I am sure you have only seen an adult snore. So why then would a child keep snoring at night? These categories of children have recurrent cough and catarrh. Most parents would have visited several chemists trying to treat this. You might have even turned your house to a store of drugs all because of this symptom your child is having. The cough and catarrh disappears after treatment and for these symptoms to reappear after a few weeks unlike what is seen in your other children.

Most children would have been overloaded with medications or even given unnecessary injections. Despite all these, the symptoms still re-occur. Its time for you to understand what might be the problem and possible way out.

This article would discuss adenoid hypertrophy  which is the diagnosis that fits into the description above.

What are adenoids?

Every child has adenoids. These are present at birth.  They are tissues located at the back of the nose. They help to fight infection by trapping any foreigner in the form of bacteria or virus that is breathe in. This is usually important for children less than 5years as they lack adequate immunity to protect them from infections. This is why adenoid begins to shrink after the age of 5years as it is no longer useful for the child. At this age, the child can handle these foreign organisms himself. By the time the child becomes a teenager, it disappears completely.

What do we mean by adenoid hypertrophy?

Adenoid hypertrophy occurs when this adenoid becomes swollen. Most times its size becomes big enough to obstruct the airway (the pipe through which we breathe in) while lying down on one’s back.

What causes adenoid hypertrophy?

While trying to carry out its responsibility,  adenoid can become infected. During this course, it swells up. It is expected that immediately after the infection, the adenoid should shrink back to its normal size. This is not so in children with adenoid hypertrophy, rather it remains persistently swollen and big enough to cause problems in affected children.

What are the symptoms you will notice in children with adenoid hypertrophy?

The symptoms can present a few weeks to months after birth although it regresses after the age of 5years . Children with adenoid hypertrophy usually have recurrent cough and catarrh. They snore while sleeping and also find it difficult to breathe well. This makes the caregiver feel worried and seek treatment. Their mouth is usually opened because they breathe through the mouth thereby compensating for the obstruction at the back of the nose.

What side effects can arise if adenoid hypertrophy is not treated?

Enlarged adenoids usually starts to shrink after age 5. If the symptoms the child has are mild, your Physician might place your child on symptomatic treatment and wait for the adenoid to shrink. On the other hand, a child who finds it difficult to breathe or a child whose infection has spread to the ear or who now has bad breath might need specific treatment.

How is adenoid hypertrophy diagnosed?

Your physician might request for the appropriate X-ray to confirm the diagnosis. This is a necessary investigation.

How can adenoid hypertrophy be treated?

Treatment varies depending on the severity of the symptoms.  This ranges from medications to treat the recurrent cough and catarrh to surgical interventions in complicated cases. Your Physician will determine the option that suits your child most based on the history, examinations and investigations carried out.


Adenoid hypertrophy is a medical condition that is treatable. If you feel your child or a child you know might be suffering from this disease, kindly see your Physician who would carry out the necessary examination and investigation to make this diagnosis.

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Dr Kay
About Dr Kay 58 Articles
As a physician, I love to give answers to several questions bothering people, educating them on how to be healthy, breaking down what their present condition is all about and counselling them on how to manage their condition.

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