​Enlarged Adenoids

Adenoids are small lymph tissues located at the back of your throat, above your tonsils and behind your nose. They are similar to tonsils but unlike tonsils, these are not visible from the mouth. They make part of the immune system and release antibodies to help fight infection in your body. They filter the germs that enter the body through the mouth and nose. Adenoids are present in children from birth and continue to grow until a child is up to five years of age. Generally, they begin to shrink after seven years of age and become very small by adolescence.

Swelling due to recurrent infection can cause enlarged adenoids. They return to their normal size once the infection has subsided but at times, the adenoids can remain swollen even after the infection is gone. Enlarged adenoids can also be due to allergies. Since they do not form an essential part of the immune system, they can be treated by simply removing them.


Signs and symptoms of enlarged adenoids include:

  • Blocked, stuffy nose

  • Severe snoring

  • Sleep apnea (irregular breathing during sleep)

  • Ear problems

  • Trouble sleeping

  • Difficulty in swallowing

  • Mouth breathing causing dry mouth and cracked lips

  • Sore throat

  • Hearing problems due to fluid build-up in middle ear

Consult one of our highly esteemed doctors at the <Children's Hospital Service Line> at The Aga Khan University Hospital the only internationally accredited hospital in Pakistan, if you notice a combination of the above mentioned symptoms in your child

Your time with your doctor maybe limited, so make sure to prepare for your visit beforehand. Here are some tips to help get you started.

The doctor will begin by inquiring about your child’s symptoms and conducting a physical exam. They will examine the adenoids using a special mirror inserted in your child’s mouth or by inserting a flexible tube (endoscope) through the nose. Your child may also be prescribed some tests including:

  • Blood test to check for infection

  • X-ray of the throat and neck

  • Sleep study in which your child’s breathing and brain activity will be monitored using electrode as they sleep overnight at a facility

While enlarged adenoids themselves are painless, the symptoms caused by them can be uncomfortable for your child. Hence it is a good practice to seek immediate medical help from one of our internationally trained staff at the <Children's Hospital Services> at The Aga Khan University Hospital to relieve your child of the discomfort.

Initially, your child’s doctor will wait to see if the adenoids shrink with age. In case the adenoids do not reduce in size, your child may be prescribed medications.

Usually, adenoids are removed by surgery called adenoidectomy.

Your child will be given mild medications to calm them down followed by general anaesthesia. The surgical procedure is not very long and no incisions are made as the adenoids are removed through the mouth. The patient can go home in a few hours after surgery. The doctor will guide you about what to expect depending on your child’s general health requirements.

After the surgery your child may experience the following symptoms, most of which will alleviate in about a week:

  • Nausea until the anaesthesia wears off

  • Sore throat

  • Low fever

  • Mouth breathing

  • Throat and ear pain for which your child will be prescribed pain controlling medications

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers various support services to help with managing or recovering from the disease or condition. These include but are not limited to nutrition, physiotherapy, rehabilitation, specialized clinics and some patient support groups. Your doctor or nurse will advise you accordingly.
The Aga Khan University Hospital offers financial assistance to those who are in need and fulfil the eligibility criteria. For further information, you can contact the Patient Welfare Department. You can find the contact number of the Patient Welfare Department in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.
The financial counselling staff is available during office hours, at the main PBSD (Patient Business Services Department), to answer your financial queries on treatments’ costs and authorize admissions on partial deposit as per hospital policies allow. The financial counsellor in the emergency room is open 24/7. You can find the contact number of the Patient Business Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.

Your doctor and or nurse will give you specific instructions about the prescribed medication. Please ensure that you take or use the prescribed medicine as advised. It can be dangerous to your health if you self-prescribe. Please inform the doctor or nurse beforehand if you have experienced any adverse reactions to any medications in the past. If you experience any symptoms of drug poisoning, overdose or severe reaction please contact the Pharmacy Service at The Aga Khan University Hospital immediately. You can find the contact number of the Pharmacy Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.

The information provided on our website is for educational purposes and not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always seek the advice of your doctor or other healthcare professional provider.