CHILDREN DISEASE – Adenoids – Guards of the lungs
Nose – the prominent attraction of the face – works as a passage, a filter and a humidifier of the air entering into it. It is a very sensitive part with rich source of blood supply, sensitive nerve endings, sinuses and glands. It further aids in phonation and smelling the odour which enhances taste. The action of the nose usually gets altered with environmental factors (i.e. temperature, high altitudes, humidity, etc.) and infection. Enlarged adenoids – one among the common nose complaints – often distract nose functions and can distort nose shape too in due course.
Adeno is the Greek word for gland. Medically, Adenitis is meant for infection of the gland (for eg – Lymph adenitis refers to an infection in the lymph gland) and adenopathy refers to diseases of the gland.
Adenoids are a pair of glands present normally in every one during childhood. It is placed between the nose and throat in the end of soft palate. Adenoids can be considered as the natural guards that protect our lungs from entry of disease or its agents, as tonsils do in the mouth. Adenoids, the tonsils of the nose, are also called Pharyngeal tonsils. It is mainly made of lymphoid tissue which works for immune/defense mechanism. Usually, adenoids shrink and get atrophied after the age of 8 and so it is considered of no use after that.
Adenoid’s functions are supposed to be:
- It monitors the quality of the air which enters our body
- It plays a major role in body immune mechanism, but most probably in childhood
- It traps the germs that enters into the body by its antibodies and drains it into the lymph vessels for drain or elimination
- By becoming a swollen inflamed mass, it alerts our body when any infection enters our body
- It is helpful in forming lymphocytes (white blood cells) which protect our body as defense mechanism.
Even though adenoid could do all these functions with its lymphoid tissue, our modern scientific era go on excising adenoids when it gets enlarged to show any symptoms. This shows our rudimentary knowledge in science still hasn’t realised its significance.
Hope, nature will teach us later. Nature never put anything as a waste or makes it useless.
Incidence – Adenoids are more common in children than adults since adenoid glands get atrophied after a certain period of life (mostly after the age of 8). Male children have higher incidences than female children. The reason is unknown. Also, it is more common in children who have allergies.
Causes – Usually, enlargement of the gland certainly indicates increased working of the gland i.e. reaction towards the disease or infective agents (bacteria or viruses or fungi). Sometimes even without any infection, the adenoid gland may remain swollen obstructing the airway. It also occurs as an allergic reaction to allergens, for example, pollens, cold stuff, food preservatives, drugs, etc.
Symptoms – The most common complaints of adenoids are repeated attack of cold, cough and nose block. The other symptoms of enlarged adenoids are:
- Difficulty in breathing – due to the blockage of airway by enlarged adenoid. This may lead to snoring. Whistling snore can be heard loudly at night due to more relaxed adenoid during sleep.
- Nasal discharges and nasal phonation
- Mouth breathing mostly at night, but in advanced cases, in daytime also
- Restlessness at night due to sleep apnoea (large pause between two breaths)
- Attention deficit and tiredness – due to restless sleep at night, there will be more tiredness during day time.
- Poor growth and development with air hunger and lack of appetite or aversion.
- Excess salivation and dribbling of saliva when mouth breath predominates to avoid dry mouth.
Children suffering from enlarged adenoids should be treated with immediate attention, since it often happens to persist as infective pockets which keeps spreading infection to the nose (to cause sinusitis), throat (to cause throat ulcers, tonsillitis) and ears (to cause pain and hearing loss). Normally, children outgrow the adenoids over time as adenoids usually get atrophied or shrunk (regress) in the second decade of life.
Complications – When infected adenoids are left untreated, infection can enter/spread to sinus or lungs or ear or digestive tract. Also due to constant nose block, oxygen quotient of the body will be lowered which will reflect in nutrition, growth and health status of the child. The sidetracked breathing technique (mouth breathing) in the long run will cause dull face or facial distortion like elongated face, high arched palate, protruding and prominent teeth, pinched nose with loss of furrows where it joins lips, etc. Sleep apnoea (i.e. pause of breath in sleep) can also occur rarely and threatens one’s life with chocking. Recurrent cold, cough, ear pain (CSOM – chronic suppurative otitis media) can cause tinnitus and hearing loss.
Diagnosis – Highly enlarged adenoids can be seen deep in the nose, when the nose is widened and examined with torch. Or otherwise (for small to moderate size) adenoids can be seen only with the help of special mirror designed to visualise the upper back of the throat. The following tests may be necessary to confirm it clinically.
- CT scan or MRI scans
- Blood analysis – Tc, Dc, Esr, Hb% to evaluate infection and its intensity
Prevention – Treating infections then and there and avoiding continuous allergic sneezing with proper medication will surely help prevent the occurrence or recurrence of adenoids.
Also caring for general health with nutrituous diet and good ventilation will make one stay away from infection, inflammation and enlargement of adenoid glands. Further, for prevention,
- Blowing nose vigorously
- Acidic drinks like cold beverages
- Tin-packed foods with preservatives
- Direct blow of air from fan or air-conditioner
- Room Humidifier when room heater is often used.
- Nasal spray to moisten the nose when it seems to be dry and irritated
Nature and intensity of the adenoid complaints will usually vary from child to child. Generally, each and every child requires treatment according to the presentation of the complaints. Allopathy works mostly towards
1. Focus on infection – Anti-inflammatory drugs and antibiotics
2. Relief of pain or symptoms
a. For relief of pain – analgesic
b. For allergic conditions- Anti-histamine drugs
These methods of drug selection will always be followed to manage the situation or condition. In course of time, when the disease becomes resistant to antibiotics or any medicines, then as a last resort, to root out recurrent infection, doctors advice removal of the enlarged adenoids (adenoidectomy). Surgery has its own complications like weakening of immune mechanism, nose bleeding and rarely regurgitation of food / fluids into the nose. And in any way, before the age of 8, adenoids removal should be strictly avoided, since it plays a main role in immunity of the children. But after that, if the condition is absolutely necessary, i.e. mass is in huge size and fibrosed, obstructing the whole passage of respiration and doesn’t respond to any medicines at all, then it is better to go in for surgery to ease and free the respiration.
Enlarged adenoids are not a pure surgical complaint. They can be cured in 70 – 80 per cent of cases. In Allopathy itself, there is a lot of controversy in removing adenoids and tonsils. They also switch over to surgical option only when complaints recur in uncontrollable intensity with resistance to antibiotic and other drugs.
Homoeopathy always follows Nature’s rule, so it never admits removal as a cure. It means healing as making healthy, not as removing. If you are going to remove, it is just like removing the guards who often get attacked by burglars while safeguarding us, which is not wise. The right way is that we have to make them strong to fight infection in a better way without any sensitiveness or allergic tendency. Homeopathy often provides it.
Homeopathy treatment is patient-oriented (i.e. not disease-oriented). It enhances and stimulates the immune mechanism of the sufferer to fight against disease or its agent on its own. It can also avoid allergic reaction in nose and adenoid enlargement, focusing and treating the patients with characteristic symptoms of patients i.e. in Homoeopathy, medicines are not selected to act against the disease or to kill the bacteria directly, but for increasing resistance, giving no chance for recurrence. Properly selected remedy quickly supports the body mechanism and clears the complaints at the earliest. Homeopathy reduces the size of the adenoids after controlling the infection and congestion.
Homeopathic Medicines commonly used in cases of enlarged and infected adenoids are Agraphis Nutans, Bacilllinum, Baryta carb, Baryta Iod, Belladonna, Bryonia, Calc carb, Calc flour, Calc Iod, Causticum, Cistus can, Hepar sulph, Hydrastis, Kali bich, Lemna minor, Lycopodium, Merc sol, Nux Vom, Phosphorus, Pulsatilla, Rhus tox, Silicea, Thuja, Teucrium, etc. These medicines should be taken under the advice and diagnosis of a qualified Homeopath.
Dr. S. Chidambaranathan, BHMS, MD
24 E. New Mahalipatti Road
Tel: +91-452-233-8833 | +91-984-319-1011
www.drcheena.com / www.drcheena.in
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(Disclaimer - The contents of this column are for informational purpose only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional healthcare advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of healthcare professional for any health problem or medical condition.)