Swollen adenoids and enlarged tonsils are way too common in children leading to snoring, poor sleep, and further immune problems such as glue ear and constant upper respiratory problems. As a result of the fatigue, pain and general un-wellness, daytime behavioural issues and difficulties with learning may occur.
The adenoids are located in the very back of the roof of the mouth and the tonsils at the back of the throat. When enlarged tonsils are visible as 2 balls of tissue at the back of the throat behind and above the tongue. Both are made of lymphatic tissue and their primary purpose is to provide the body’s first line of immune defence to trap bacteria and viruses that enter through the nose or mouth. Under normal healthy conditions, these tissues are invisible to the eye. The image below shows the anatomy of the ears nose and throat area really well and how connected they all are. Thanks to Saint Luke’s Health System for the image.
The question is why is a child or an adult getting infections like this?
The obvious triggers are bacterial and viral infections inhaled or ingested. Also consider a poor quality diet that weakens the immune system. Spring time allergens and everyday chemical pollutants may damage the delicate skin tissue inside the ears, mouth, nose and throat. Here is one pollutant to think about – especially in babies and children – swimming in chlorinated pools, is linked to lung problems! Environmental causes; (mould, mites, vaping, smoking, synthetic perfumes, new curtains and carpets etc) are causes that can be avoided when we know what they are.
Treating chronic tonsillitis, adenoiditis and ear infections with surgical interventions is essential in many long standing cases but waiting for the operations takes time. Sometimes years of waiting! Ear infections left untreated will likely result in grommets that help keep the eustacian tube open to avoid intense infections such as Otitis Media. That’s something everyone should avoid!
|Enlargement of the adenoid is known as adenoiditis.||Enlargement of the tonsils is known as tonsillitis.|
|Adenoiditis is common in children. Around 5 years of age adenoids will usually shrink.||Tonsillitis is common in children and can remain a problem into adulthood.|
|Symptoms: stuffy nose, ear pain, breathing through the mouth and snoring. Grey yellowish coated tongue.||Symptoms: fever, sore throat, difficulty swallowing, white or yellow spots, swelling and redness of the tonsils. Coated tongue|
|Complications: frequent episodes of sinusitis, ear and chest infections. If a ear is discharging fluid always contact your doctor and then see us!||Complications: chronic sinus infections, peritonsillar abscess. Always contact your doctor for assessment and then see us!|
What can a parent do?
This is a problem that will often affect the whole family due to interrupted sleep and the sharing of these reoccurring infections.
Thankfully natural options are available. With lots of persistence, treating the earliest signs of a cold, hay fever or allergies may reduce the likelihood of further problems such as sinusitis, otitis media (middle ear infections) general sickness and excessive amounts of antibiotics.
Herbal Tonics for children and adults
If taken very often at the first sign of a problem, gargling with and consuming these powerful antimicrobial herbs can provide relief of sore throats, and may reduce or stall the infections. You have to keep up regular doses for best results
Some of our favourite herbs
- Tinospora, Andrographis, Lomatium, Coptis – Is rich in anti-microbial properties and immune supporting properties.
- Liquorice – Rich in anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties – also tastes good!
- Sage, Thyme and Echinacea – may reduce the inflammation and fight off infections – see more below.
- Ginger – a renowned herb for its warm and anti-inflammatory properties
- Garlic – grated fresh into food or added last to a warm drink – may be the whole family takes this!
Contact us for specific product advice or drop by between 10 am and 5pm
Nutrients for oral health
- Zinc lozenges or drops – always stick to the dose we recommend. Zinc lozenges are effective at reducing infection whilst symptoms are present. Research shows Zinc is more effective when delivered directly to the site of infection. Taking zinc as a supplement will help with maintaining the immune system.
- Liposomal Vitamin C – This fights infection, supports our immune system and promotes wound healing.
- Cod Liver Oil – This essential fat in this oil reduces inflammation and infection due to the presence of complex nutrients including selenium.
- Probiotics specific for throat infections and general oral health in particular – the best choice is age dependent. Get good advice.
Home remedies for Swollen Adenoids and enlarged Tonsils
Home remedies can help to alleviate the pain and discomfort.
- Inhaling steam containing aromatherapy with thyme, peppermint, eucalyptus may reduce congestion.
- People who are hypersensitive to cold air and water should always keep their heads, ears and throat covered. Even in summer – babies are best to where a hat that covers their ears at the beach
- If the swelling leads to dryness in the mouth, you can use a humidifier or open a window providing it’s not a hot dry wind!
- During acute infections, stay home and rest.
- Take adequate fluids in sips and avoid hot liquids as it can hurt your throat.
- Avoid talking if it strains your throat.
Food and Fluids
- Consume liquids such as coconut water, unsweetened apple juice, herbal teas such as thyme, oregano and chamomile, as warm or cool drinks. Provide small amounts often well diluted for children.
- Enjoy soft stews of chicken, beef or vege with seaweeds broths and veges you love.
- Both apples and tomatoes have anti-histamine like properties so for those who love them go for it.
- Grated apple with a hint of ginger and cinnamon, butter can make a hot throat feel cool for awhile especially with older babies. Think of adding to natural full cream yoghurt.
- Soft foods such as mashed potatoes pumpkin and kumara, scrambled eggs, cream soups (not processed from a packet), Nice cold yogurt, cooked cereal like porridge or gluten free options.
- Enjoy a balanced diet with quality fats like extra virgin olive oil, butter and coconut oil, proteins, vegetables and fruits.
- Junk food that contains preservatives such as palm oil or cheap vegetable oils are not going to be good for people who are sick under any circumstances. Obviously best avoided any and every day.
- Observe reactions to peanut butter – some do contain mould!
- Take care with spices and condiments that may cause an allergic reaction if already known.
- It is best to avoid foods and snacks that are hard and crunchy such as chips, hard bread, and nuts as they can trigger allergic symptoms and be rough on the throat.
Natural Treatment for Enlarged Adenoids, Tonsils and Ear Infections
- Drinking a mix of lime or lemon juice with a little honey in a glass of warm water can soothe a sore throat and relieve nasal congestion. Make a herbal tea containing thyme, sage, oregano, manuka, kawa kawa and the all important ginger. Sip warm or cold. Also add a little fresh apple juice and make into mini–ice blocks for children and adults.
- Coconut oil pulling – is useful for yukky coated tongues the home for bugs in your mouth. Coconut oil extracted from the meat of coconuts is high in lauric acid, which appears to have antimicrobial properties and can promote better oral health. Put 1 tbsp (15 mL) – 1 tsp for children over 5 years – of oil in your mouth, swish it around for 15–20 minutes and spit it out. Get children to sit down while doing this. Then rinse with water and brush your teeth at least 2 times a day. This is a great way to remove bacteria on your tongue and around your mouth cavity. For teens and adults, use a tongue scraper gently scrap the tongue before brushing your teeth.
- Colloidal silver – Great for any infection, colloidal silver should only be used by adults. To reduce infection and ultimately swelling in the adenoids or tonsils, gargle with 2 teaspoons of colloidal silver.
- Xylitol – For people who have multiple strep throat, sinus and ear infections, this natural remedy works very effectively. We really rate products that included grapefruit extract. A powerful nasal spray that get right into the back of the throat.
- Gargling with salted warm water twice a day may soothe the pain.
Conclusion – Start early and be persistent with treating all infections.
Your child’s well-being can influence many aspects of their and your life. Remember that cold wind any season and swimming may easily trigger ear and throat infections, especially in babies and toddlers!
Treatment without surgery is often possible using the methods above and in consultation with your GP. These remedies may not be the permanent answer for some children and adults and the best treatment may be a surgical adenoidectomy and tonsillectomy. For those who do eventually have the surgery, the removal of the chronically infected tissue can greatly improve general health. Thankfully we have options!