Posts for: November, 2020
When we think about the first line of defense against infection we often think about the tonsils; however, the adenoids also play a part in protecting against infection. Together the tonsils and adenoids make up the lymphatic system and stop viruses and bacteria from entering the mouth and nose. While the tonsils are found in the back of the throat the adenoids sit in the far back of the throat behind the nose. Unfortunately, just as tonsils can get infected and cause problems, so too can adenoids.
What causes enlarged adenoids?
Since adenoids frequently come into contact with germs, it’s common for adenoids to swell a bit to get rid of an infection. Allergies also have the ability to cause enlarged adenoids. While the swelling will often go away on its own, there are instances where the swelling can actually turn into an infection.
What are the symptoms of enlarged adenoids?
While tonsil problems will mostly affect the throat, if you are dealing with enlarged adenoids most of the symptoms are concentrated in the nasal cavity. Those with enlarged adenoids may experience:
- Trouble breathing through the nose
- Mouth breathing
- Dry lips and mouth (as a result of mouth breathing)
- Persistent bad breath
- Chronic or persistent sinus infections
- Ear infections
- Obstructive sleep apnea (pauses in the breath that happening while asleep)
Should I have my adenoids removed?
It’s important to talk with your ENT doctor if you or your child are dealing with persistent symptoms of enlarged adenoids. We will ask you questions about the symptoms you are experiencing and go through your medical history to determine whether you could benefit from an adenoidectomy. It may be time to considering having your adenoids removed if:
- You are dealing with obstructive sleep apnea or poor sleep as a result of enlarged adenoids
- You are dealing with recurring, antibiotic-resistant ear infections
- You have recurring adenoid infections that don’t respond to medication
- Your symptoms are impacting your life, including work or school performance
In some cases, your ENT doctor may recommend getting both the adenoids and tonsils removed at the same time.
If you or your child is dealing with enlarged adenoids or other problems that affect your breathing, you must see an ENT doctor that can provide you with the treatment you need.
A cleft palate is a common birth defect that occurs in the first six to nine weeks of pregnancy in which the tissue of the roof of the mouth doesn’t fuse. This results in an opening in the roof of the mouth that over time can lead to other problems such as recurring ear infections, difficulty with feedings, and speech problems. This is why it’s important to work with a qualified ear, nose, and throat doctor who can ensure that your child gets the proper treatment to correct their cleft palate.
Detecting a Cleft Palate
During your child’s very first examination after birth, a doctor will be able to easily tell whether your child has a cleft palate through a simple oral exam. From there, your pediatrician may recommend seeing an ENT doctor who can correct the birth defect.
Cleft Palate Treatment
The only way to correct a cleft palate is through a procedure known as a palatoplasty. This usually isn’t performed until the baby is around 10 to 12 months old. A palatoplasty will close the gap in the roof of the mouth to improve feedings and to prevent speech delays. This procedure is performed under general anesthesia and takes about 2-3 hours to complete.
The surgery will close up the gap in the palate and repair any of the muscles of the palate, if necessary. Stitches will dissolve on their own and your ENT doctor will provide you with detailed care instructions both before and after surgery. For example, your baby will need to stick with a liquid diet for about a week after surgery and then only eat soft foods for several weeks after.
Even after surgery, your child may require additional surgeries or other specialists and care such as orthodontics or speech therapy. This is something that you can discuss with your ENT doctor. This procedure is designed to not only improve your child’s appearance but also to prevent speech impediments and language delays, as well as breathing, hearing, or feeding problems.
If your baby was born with a cleft lip or palate, an otolaryngologist will be able to provide you with the specialized surgical treatment you need to correct this birth defect. To learn more about this procedure and your child’s treatment options, call your ENT today.