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Adenoiditis: what it is, symptoms, causes and treatment

Stuffy nose

Adenoiditis is an inflammation that can be caused by infections such as tonsillitis or pharyngitis, leading to symptoms such as yellowish discharge from the nose, snoring, blocked nose, fever and bad breath.

Adenoiditis appears mainly in children, and is characterized by inflammation of the adenoid, a set of lymphatic tissue that is part of the immune system, helping to prevent and fight infections. Learn more about the adenoid.

In the presence of symptoms that may indicate adenoiditis, it is advisable to consult an otorhinolaryngologist or pediatrician, to evaluate the possible causes and indicate appropriate treatment, which may include the use of oral antibiotics or antihistamines or adenoidectomy, which is surgery to remove the adenoid.

Main symptoms

The main symptoms of adenoiditis are:

  • Presence of yellow discharge from the nose;
  • Stuffy nose;
  • Fever;
  • Sore throat;
  • Difficulty breathing through the nose;
  • Snoring during sleep;
  • Bad breath;
  • Decreased hearing.

Children with adenoiditis may experience constant coughing, irritability, difficulty concentrating and sleeping during the day. Furthermore, children with long-term adenoiditis may also have changes in the dental arch and facial muscles.

Types of adenoidite

According to the symptoms and duration, adenoiditis can be classified as acute or chronic.

1. Adenoidite aguda

Acute adenoiditis usually appears shortly after a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract, which infects the adenoids, causing inflammation and symptoms such as discharge, stuffy nose, snoring, fever and bad breath.

2. Chronic adenoiditis

Chronic adenoiditis is similar to acute adenoiditis, but symptoms last at least 90 days, and usually arise due to infections caused by many microorganisms.

In addition, chronic adenoiditis can also cause enlargement of the adenoid, causing sleep apnea and otitis media, an inflammation that causes ear pain, the presence of yellow or whitish secretion in the ear canal, fever and irritability. Know all the symptoms of otitis media.

How the diagnosis is made

The diagnosis of adenoiditis must be made by an otorhinolaryngologist or pediatrician, by evaluating the signs and symptoms presented by the person and observing the adenoids, using a laryngeal mirror.

Make an appointment with the otolaryngologist closest to you to assess your risk of adenoiditis:

To confirm the diagnosis, the doctor may also order tests such as nasal endoscopy, where a small tube is inserted through the nose to evaluate the sinuses, complete blood count, X-ray or computed tomography.

Possible causes

Adenoiditis can be caused by viral or bacterial infections. Thus, the possible causes of adenoiditis are:

  • Tonsillitis;
  • Pharyngitis;
  • Rinossinusite;
  • Allergic rhinitis;
  • Plague.

Furthermore, adenoiditis can also arise due to irritation caused by the presence of stomach acid in the upper respiratory tract, as in cases of esophageal reflux disease or laryngopharyngeal reflux.

What is the treatment like?

The treatment of adenoiditis varies depending on the cause of this condition, where the doctor may recommend the use of saline solution, medications such as antibiotics or antihistamines, or adenoidectomy, which is surgery to remove the adenoids.

1. Medicines

In cases of adenoiditis caused by bacteria, the doctor may recommend the use of antibiotics, such as amoxicillin, clarithromycin or azithromycin, which help relieve the symptoms of this inflammation in about 2 to 3 days.

Additionally, antihistamines and oral and/or nasal corticosteroids may be recommended by your doctor to alleviate adenoiditis caused by respiratory allergies.

Proton pump inhibitors or acid blockers, such as omeprazole, esomeprazole, pantoprazole or vonoprazane fumarate, are prescribed in cases of adenoiditis caused by esophageal reflux or laryngopharyngeal reflux.

2. Nasal wash

Nasal washing with 0.9% saline solution relieves the symptoms of adenoiditis, as it helps eliminate secretions and prevents the concentration of microorganisms in the sinuses. See how to wash your nose.

3. Adenoidectomia

Adenoidectomy, or adenoid surgery, consists of removing the adenoid, and is indicated mainly when the person does not improve with prescribed medications or in cases where this inflammation causes complications such as sleep apnea, decreased hearing or frequent otitis, for example. Learn more about adenoid surgery.

Adenoidectomy is a surgery performed under general anesthesia, where the doctor may also choose to remove the tonsils, known as tonsillectomy, if this organ is also inflamed.