Like the tonsils, the adenoids are tissues in the throat that trap germs and produce antibodies that help the immune system to fight off infection. Also like the tonsils, the adenoids are susceptible to inflammation and infection themselves. The medical term for this is adenoiditis, and the vast majority of cases affect children.

What Causes Adenoid Infections?

Children often develop infections of the tonsils and adenoids, but these ailments rarely affect adults. This is because the tonsils and adenoids shrink as we age, taking on a less active role as germ fighters in the body. Tonsillitis and adenoiditis are rare beyond the teen years.

Almost any type of virus or bacteria can cause adenoiditis. It is caused by an infection associated with germs the adenoids were unsuccessful at stopping. Signs that your adenoids are infected include breathing through the mouth, snoring, dry or sore throat, yellowish-green mucus in the nose, nasally speech, swollen neck glands, earache and difficulty sleeping.

How To Treat Adenoiditis

Treating an adenoid infection is an important step in preventing complications. These include middle ear infections, glue ear, sinusitis, vomiting, bronchitis or pneumonia.

Viral infections may be allowed to run their natural course. Symptoms are treated with rest, fluids and nonprescription pain relievers. Bacterial infections are usually fought with antibiotics. Surgical treatment is a possibility, especially in cases where adenoiditis returns frequently. This procedure, known as an adenoidectomy, is similar to a tonsillectomy. In fact, many times doctors will remove both sets of tissue to err on the side of caution.