Understanding Adenoiditis And How To Treat It

A sick, cranky child with a stuffy nose, clogged ears, and a sore throat can be a nightmare for any parent. But these symptoms may point to a problem beyond the typical virus. They could be signs of an infection in the adenoids, which are located in the back of the throat and make up part of the body’s immune system. These adenoids come into play with each breath a child takes: When germs from the air enter the body, they become trapped in the nose by mucous and hair and are then killed by white blood cells and antibodies produced by the adenoids. Adenoids are quite prominent in children – they grow from birth and are usually largest between the ages of three and five. When a child reaches the age of seven or eight, the adenoids start to reduce in size and almost disappear by adulthood, when their role as part of the immune system has greatly diminished.

The adenoids, just like the tonsils in the throat, come in contact with germs very frequently, which means the chances of infection are high. When the adenoids become inflamed or enlarged as a result of an infection, the condition is called adenoiditis. The infection may also spread from the adenoids to other areas such as the middle ear or sinuses.


Some Signs Of Adenoiditis To Watch For

  • Since swollen adenoids can block the nose, children will often breathe through the mouth. This can cause a dry mouth, cracked lips, sore throat, and bad breath.
  • A runny nose with yellowish or greenish mucus is common.
  • Children will often talk with a nasal tone and not be able to articulate consonants like “n” or “m” properly.
  • The adenoids are at the entrance of the tubes that go from the throat to the middle ear (Eustachian tubes). Enlarged adenoids may block the mucus – which is usually made in the middle ear every day – from being drained. This condition, called glue ear, can cause problems with hearing.
  • Since it’s difficult to breathe through the nose, children with adenoiditis may sleep fitfully and snore. In cases where the adenoids have become severely enlarged, the throat can become narrow, increasing the chance that the upper airway will be obstructed while they sleep. This can interrupt their breathing for brief periods, and disturb their sleep (sleep apnea).

How Do You Treat It?

Nasal sprays or antibiotics are usually prescribed to clear up the infection. In some severe cases, your doctor might recommend surgery to remove the adenoids (adenoidectomy).

Alternative medicine offers several natural remedies to soothe and curb the symptoms of adenoiditis.


According To Ayurveda

  • Gargling once a day in the morning with a decoction of turmeric in water is effective for adenoiditis. Along with the adenoids, other parts of the throat that are inflamed (like the tonsils) also benefit from the anti-inflammatory turmeric gargle.1 A warm salt water gargle also works by drawing out excess fluid and relieving pain.2
  • Drinking lots of warm water with a splash of fresh orange or lemon juice can help soothe the throat and reduce swelling.
  • The use of diluted essential oils like cardamom, sandalwood, black pepper, eucalyptus, and ginger, as well as herbs like sitopaladi, garlic, sage, licorice, and amalaki can also help treat adenoiditis.3 With their antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, they reduce the inflammation and soothe the throat.4
  • Procedures such as dhoomapana (inhaling smoke from medicinal plants such as licorice, musta, lotus, cinnamon etc.) or nasya (administering medicinal oil or vapors through the nasal passage) can help reduce the soreness in the throat and clear a blocked nose.5

An Ayurvedic practitioner will be able to assess if any of these treatments are appropriate for each individual case.6

Homeopathy also offers various treatments for enlarged adenoids.7

  • Agraphis nutans (blue bell) is recommended for a stuffy nose and poor hearing.
  • Hydrastis canadensis (goldenseal) can be used for thick-discolored mucus coming from the nose and poor hearing.
  • Calcarea phosphorica may be prescribed if the child is pale, weak, or anemic and has poor digestion and poor hearing.

A homoeopathic doctor will be able to guide you through the right medication and the required dosage.