Tonsil and Adenoid Disease

Tonsil and adenoid disease are some of the most common reasons people seek the services of an ENT doctor. Tonsils and adenoids are masses of tissue that are actually quite similar to lymph nodes, which are found in the neck, groin, and arm pits. However, tonsils and adenoids have no real function, meaning your ear, nose, and throat doctor may remove them without affecting the immune system.

The tonsils are located in the back of the throat and are distinguishable by the two large masses that form them. The adenoids are only visible with the use of special instruments and are situated high in the throat behind the nose and above the roof of the mouth. Because both tonsils and adenoids are near the entrance to the breathing passages, they are highly susceptible to catching incoming germs, which can lead to infections. Due to their location in the body, tonsils and adenoids become infected easily and cause discomfort and other problems for people.

Tonsil and adenoid disease is often marked by Strep, Staph, and other bacteria that are commonly found in the mouth. While most infections can be resolved quickly with antibiotics, some people may develop recurrent infections. If you are someone who experiences infections often, your ENT doctor may recommend a tonsillectomy or adenoidectomy.



You should contact your ear, nose, and throat doctor if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, as it may be a sign of tonsil and adenoid disease:

  • Redder than normal tonsils
  • A white or yellowish coating on the tonsils
  • A change in voice due to swelling
  • Experiencing a sore throat
  • Pain when swallowing
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
  • Spiked fever
  • Bad breath

Additionally, it is important for you to schedule an appointment with your doctor if your adenoids are enlarged, which may make it difficult to breathe through the nose. Other signs include:

  • Breathing through the nose instead of the mouth more often than usual
  • Noisy breathing during the daytime
  • Ear infections
  • Decreased sense of smell or taste
  • Sleep Apnea



If you or someone you know is experiencing any of the above symptoms, you may be suffering from tonsil or adenoid disease. The majority of bacterial infections that signify tonsil and adenoid disease can be treated with antibiotics. However, in some cases your ENT doctor may recommend the removal of the tonsils and/or adenoids. The main reasons for tonsil or adenoid removal is the difficulty breathing due to enlarged tonsils and/or adenoids, or recurrent infection that does not go away with antibiotic treatment.