How do I know if my child has swollen adenoids?


Before we get to talking about adenoids, answer this, have you ever felt that your throat or chest is a little too sensitive towards certain foods? Such, that certain foods will frequently cause some type of upper respiratory tract infection almost every time you eat it?

This scenario is in fact more common than you think. Most people have a difficult time pinpointing the core issue and usually end up just assuming that a specific food simply just doesn’t agree with them. Also, it is a common case among toddlers and young children. They frequently encounter sore and painful throats, coughs, and runny noses along with severe chest infections.

So, lets look at this notorious yet underrated disease condition.

Why do we need adenoid gland

Like tonsils, the adenoid gland is basically a naturally occurring gland found in the throat. Infection and swelling of this gland are commonly referred to as Adenoids. They are a crucial part of lymphatic system. Adenoids work to prevent bacterial invasion. 

When a baby is born, the chances of infection are extremely high. They are more likely to suffer from any throat and chest infection as opposed to an adult. Adenoid glands help prevent these infections by acting as a physical barrier. 

They are located in the oral-nasal pathway almost at the end of nasal cavity. Adenoids are located at an ideal place where any bacteria entering from nose or mouth will be captured. This physical antibacterial gland is especially useful up until the first 5 years of a child’s life. 

What are the symptoms of adenoids

Ideally, after the age of 6 to 7 years, adenoid glands starts shrinking on their own. Since the gland is involved in the entrapment of bacteria, the adenoids can get infected and swollen. Therefore, the condition worsens when the swelling in the gland remains even after the infection is gone. 

However, in some children the natural age-related shrinkage of adenoid gland does not occur. This also turns into a severe infection that causes an oral condition called adenoid hypertrophy. Furthermore, the adenoids can become worse and warrant the need of gland removal procedure called Adenoidectomy. 

Signs and symptoms of swollen adenoid gland a.k.a. adenoids are as follows:
  • Frequent flu and sore throat
  • Stuffed nose and nasal voice
  • Headache
  • Prolonged cough 
  • Ear infection and pain in ears
  • Fluid retention and buildup in the ear canal a.k.a. Glue ears
  • Difficulty swallowing and breathing in generally
  • Sleep apnea
  • Snoring and mouth remains open during sleep for mouth breathing
  • In growing children drooping eyes and cheeks, as well as, jaw shape in altered permanently 

Diagnosis is done based on the infection history, physical facial features, ear examination to detect glue ears, and finally x-ray scan of the gland to confirm its enlarged size.

Why is adenoid so troublesome

Adenoids based -infections are frequent, yet serious. They take a huge toll on a patient’s health leading to conditions like the following:

  • Weight loss
  • Growth retardation in children
  • Altered jaw and facial features 
  • Hindered and disrupted sleep-wake cycle
  • Damages the overall lifestyle by frequent nasal and oral infections.

What to eat to treat adenoids

Having a sensitive gland comes with certain limitations regarding food. Trial and error will help you short list the things you can an cannot eat to prevent repetitive infections. In addition, foods that improve natural immunity must be the target in this regard.

Some of the ideal food groups are as follows:

Benefits of honey for adenoids

Honey has proven benefits for all sorts of upper respiratory tract infections. Although, Adenoids are considered a chronic condition, drinking a nice warm cup of honey water can be helpful in treating adenoids. 

Additionally, honey has a sufficient concentration of beneficial antioxidants and phenolic compounds, such as flavonoids and riboflavin. In fact, they impart strong antibacterial and antiviral properties, thus, daily consumption helps prevent frequent mild to moderate infections.

Foods that help nasal congestion

Nasal blockade and congestion are an extremely profound during adenoid hypertrophy. It is important to remember that although nasal decongestants will not treat the swollen adenoids, they will help reduce the symptom, substantially.

Some of the foods important in this regard are as follows:
PineapplesContains the strong decongestant enzyme called bromelain. It helps relieve sinus blockage and it reduces mucous production..
Sweet Potato It contains a healthy mix of vitamin A and C. They help enhance the immunity against viruses such as influenza virus. Also, beta-carotene and micronutrients such as, iron zinc and potassium inhibit phlegm production and blockade in the airway. 
Apple Cider Vinegar Acidic pH helps fight bacterial invasion in oral and nasal cavity. 

Thin your adenoids with thyme

Almost majority of herbs and spices possess anti-inflammatory properties to some extent. Thyme however, is especially useful in this regard. Whether it be swollen tonsils or adenoid gland, the inflammatory process must be treated to prevent surgical intervention.

Furthermore, thyme contains carvacrol, thymol, and 1,8-cineol. Naturally, all these constituents impart strong anti-inflammatory properties. In addition, thyme also improves natural immunity to fight and fend off those nasty viruses and bacteria.

Onion is your power tool

No, you can’t always have teas and other mixtures to fight respiratory diseases. Sometimes a healthy hearty onion-based salad is all it takes.

Also, Adenoid gland when enlarged and swollen release high concentration of histamine from its mast cells. Congestion of nasal way, cough, phlegm, and trouble breathing is all due to the overflowing of histamine. 

Onion contains following beneficial constituents: 
  • Cepaenes such as Allium. It has strong antihistamine and antithrombotic effect. In addition, it helps reduce multiple adenoidal symptoms.
  • Thiosulfinates also inhibits leukotriene production and histamine releases. 

It is important to point to out that antihistamine related to onion properties, depends largely on its raw consumption. In fact, heat can generally decrease its beneficial outcomes as an antihistamine. 

Quercetin containing foods

The beneficial properties of quercetin are right next to the bromelain containing foods, such as pineapple. It is a compound found in nature in many foods such as the following:

  • Berries such as blackberries, blueberries, cherry etc.
  • Onion
  • Citrus fruits
  • Grapes 
  • Apples 
  • Tea
  • Olives
Quercetin plays beneficial role such as:
  • Helps inhibit the production of excessive mucous
  • Clears the airway and helps ease up the breathing process
  • Provides anti-inflammatory properties

Take away

Any parent with a child suffering from adenoids will understand how heart wrenching it is to watch your child suffer with the same disease over and over again. However, this does not mean that there is nothing you can do to help. Consider a dietary based treatment. Follow a meal plan where all the above-mentioned food groups are taken regularly. Only then you can get rid of those anti allergic medications and nasal sprays.