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Enlarged adenoids could cause sleep apnea and bedwetting in younger children

According to a Dubai based healthcare specialist, children who have been suffering from recurrent throat or ear infections need to consult with an ENT specialist. The statement comes as a result of high number of cases of adenoids being diagnosed at a later stage of infection. This can even result in complications such as Enuresis (bedwetting) and sleep apnea, that are otherwise avoidable and unnecessary.

Adenoids are a collection of tissues, like the lymph nodes or the tonsils, found behind the nasal cavity. They form a core part of the immune system in the body and produce antibodies which help in fighting infections. This particular tissue protects infants and young children by trapping the viruses and bacteria that may have entered the body via the nose.

Dr. Haitham Morsi, Specialist Otorhinolaryngology, Canadian Specialist Hospital said, “Adenoids is one of the most under-reported diagnosis, especially in the 3-10 age range. Most parents consult the paediatrician directly when their child suffers from an infection, and rightfully so. But if the child has multiple and recurring infections, it could be the result of enlarged adenoids (adenoid hypertrophy) which, if left untreated, can result in a host of complications.

Apart from recurrent ENT infections, adenoids can also cause sleep apnea and hamper the resting period of children during the night. This can cause snoring among children and result in low energy levels during the day, resulting in a lack of focus during their classes.

During an infection, adenoids become enlarged but tend to shrink once the infection subsides. The problem occurs when adenoids remain enlarged even after a course of treatment, usually due to chronic allergies or recurrent upper respiratory tract infections, causing a series of symptoms such as restricted airflow, blocked or stuffy nose, sore throat, ear infection, trouble sleeping, fluid build-up in the ear, snoring, cracked lips and dry mouth.

Adenoid facies, a dento-facial growth disorder resulting from chronic enlarged adenoids, is an irreversible condition if left untreated before the age of 10. If the child exhibits persistent symptoms, ENT intervention is particularly crucial between the ages of 6 – 10.

Take the case of 5-year-old Aubrey (name changed) who was constantly in the pediatrician’s office sometimes twice a month, suffering from returning bouts of nasal blockage and recurring ear infection. She was heavily reliant on her mouth for breathing and snoring at such a young age. The patient was prescribed nasal sprays and other medications, based on a diagnosis of bronchial asthma or nasal allergy. However, a consultation with the ENT specialist finally revealed huge adenoids enlargement on X-ray. The doctor operated on the child using both conventional techniques with endoscopic assistance. During the procedure, it was revealed that the adenoid had a huge intra-choanal part (inside the nose) which was completely removed with the aid of the endoscope. Currently, the girl is cured of her ear infection and nasal problems and is able to lead a normal childhood without any sleeping or breathing problems.

“One common misconception is that adenoids, once removed, have the likelihood to recur. The chances of regrowth were slightly higher when the surgery was performed via conventional curette adenoidectomy, but now when a trained ENT surgeon performs adenoidectomy via endoscopy, it can completely and safely remove the entire adenoid tissue mass,” added Dr. Morsi.

“Adenoid hypertrophy is a highly treatable disorder when medical intervention at the right time is sought, and an ENT specialist will be able to guide parents on the appropriate treatment options’, concluded Dr. Morsi.