What is the immune system? Sometimes referred to as the lymphatic system it is an integrated body system of organs, tissues, cells, and cell products that differentiates self from non-self and neutralizes potentially pathogenic organisms or substances.
What are the adenoids ? Adenoids are two masses of tissue at the junction of the nose and throat, which function in the lymphatic system. They are made up of cells that make antibodies (Lymphocytes) to help your body fight infections. Adenoids start enlarging from birth until sometime between the age of 3 and 7. At that point, they will start shrinking and eventually disappear completely sometime during the teenage years.
What are the functions of the adenoids ? Adenoids are a sort of front-line defense for the immune system. Children under age five haven’t fully developed their immune defenses yet and so adenoids block allergens from even entering into the body beyond the nose/throat. Once natural immune boosting abilities start to kick in, the adenoids become less important and eventually shrink and disappear.
What are the risks associated with adenoids ? Since adenoids in young children are so soft and immature they are often susceptible to become inflamed or enlarged due to infection. This is especially common in children who sleep with their mouths open and/or have a snoring problem. When adenoids are swollen they can cause difficulties breathing and speaking, and can also block nasal fluids from draining properly. It can also lead to a sore throat and difficulty swallowing.
What are possible solutions to adenoid-related problems? The most common cause of swollen adenoids is infection. Most doctors will prescribe antibiotics to try to eliminate the infection and bring down the swelling. If this still doesn’t work, or the adenoids are simply abnormally large, it may be recommended to have them removed.
If your child is having adenoid-related problems you will need to weigh the benefits and risks associated with keeping them in versus having them removed. And take note that if you choose to have them removed, you will want to focus a lot on taking preventative measure to avoid exposure to illnesses, and help your child to boos his/her immune system health.