Adenoids and tonsils are often talked about together. You can see your tonsils in the back of your throat, but where are your adenoids? For that matter, what are your adenoids? Let’s find out.

What Are Adenoids?
The adenoids (say: ADD-eh-noids) are a patch of tissue that protects kids from getting sick. They sit in the back of the nasal cavity.

Although you can easily see your tonsils by standing in front of a mirror and opening your mouth wide, you can’t see your adenoids this way. Like tonsils, adenoids help keep your body healthy by trapping harmful bacteria and viruses that you breathe in or swallow.

Adenoids do important work as infection fighters for babies and little kids. But they become less important once a kid gets older and the body develops other ways to fight germs.

Adenoids usually shrink after about age 5, and by the teenage years they often practically disappear.

When Adenoids Swell
Because adenoids trap germs that enter the body, adenoid tissue sometimes temporarily swells (gets puffier) as it tries to fight off an infection. The swelling sometimes gets better, but sometimes adenoids can get infected themselves.

Swollen or enlarged adenoids are common. When this happens, the tonsils may also get swollen, too. Swollen or infected adenoids can make it tough to breathe and cause these problems:

• a very stuffy nose, so a kid can breathe only through his or her mouth
• snoring and trouble getting a good night’s sleep
• sore throat and trouble swallowing
• swollen glands in the neck
• ear problems

Tell a grownup if you have any of these problems, so he or she can take you to the doctor.

Do you suffer ear, nose and throat problems.

Dr. Troost is a ENT specialist in medical and surgical management of ear, nose and throat problems. He also focuses on problems with snoring and sleep apnea