Enlarged adenoids can make it difficult to breathe through the nose. Patients often snore and may suffer from sleep apnoea.

What are adenoids?

Adenoids are found at the back of the nose. They are composed of lymphoid tissue which is similar to the tonsils. They form part of the immune system and help to fight infection.

They start growing from birth and are at their largest between 3 and 5 years old. They start to shrink again around 7 years old and by early adulthood they have usually disappeared.

They can become swollen or enlarged due to upper respiratory tract infections or by allergies.




  • blocked nose
  • ear infections
  • reduced hearing (due to glue ear)
  • snoring
  • sleep apnoea


The adenoids can be removed through the mouth under general anaesthetic (Adenoidectomy). The operation takes about 20 minutes and can be performed as a day case. There is a small risk of bleeding. This is reduced by using a special technique called Suction Diathermy.

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