What are Tonsils and Adenoids?
Tonsils are the two round lumps located in the back of the throat on each side and adenoids, which are located way up in the throat behind the nose and roof of the mouth. Adenoids are not visible to the naked eye and must be seen through the mouth or nose with a specific instrument. Both tonsils and adenoids are part of the immune system and work to fight off infection. This unfortunately puts tonsils and adenoids themselves at a high risk for infection and inflammation. The most common problems associated with the tonsils and adenoids are reoccurring infections and enlargement that may cause obstruction of breathing and swallowing.
Diagnosing Enlarged Tonsils and Adenoids
To properly diagnose enlarged tonsils and adenoids, an appointment with an ENT specialist is recommended. If you are in the Tuscaloosa, Fayette, or Jasper Alabama areas, you can visit the Alabama Ear, Nose and Throat Specialists for your diagnosis. You will be asked about your specific symptoms and their duration. To view the back of the throat, a flexible tube called a nasopharyngoscopy can be used. They will look for any redness, enlarged lymph nodes, and breathing difficulties. A throat swab can be done to check for an infection such as strep throat, or a blood test can be done if mononucleosis is suspected. To determine if sleep problems are caused by enlarged tonsils and adenoids, a sleep study might be performed.
When Should They be Removed?
In some cases, a surgical procedure called a tonsillectomy is needed to remove enlarged tonsils. Frequent tonsillitis, strep throat, or abscesses around the tonsils could indicate they need to be removed. Symptoms will include:
- Swelling of the tonsils
- White or yellow coating on the tonsils
- Discomfort to swallow
- Swollen lymph nodes on the neck
- Bad breath
Enlarged adenoids can also affect your health. Your ENT specialist might suggest removal of adenoids with the tonsil. Symptoms that indicate enlarged adenoids should be removed could include:
- Snoring at night
- Reoccurring ear infections
- Chronic runny nose
- Breathing through the mouth instead of the nose
- Restlessness sleep
To treat cases of tonsillitis, strep throat and enlarged adenoids, you may only need an antibiotic prescribed from Alabama Ear, Nose and Throat Specialists. If problems become frequent and interfere with daily life, you may need them removed. To determine which treatment is best for you, call Alabama Ear, Nose and Throat Specialists to schedule an appointment in the Tuscaloosa, Fayette, and Jasper Alabama area. For more information, visit our blog.