When you open your mouth wide, you will notice two small tissue masses on either side of the back of your throat. These are your tonsils. Just above them and further back in your throat near the nasal passages lay a pair of glands known as the adenoids.
Adenoids are important glands, as they help protect the body against bacterial and viral infections. They play a key role in filtering lymphatic fluid and trapping germs that pass through the nose and mouth. But like tonsils, adenoids are vulnerable to infection as they are part of the continuously functioning lymphatic system.
If the adenoids become infected, they get inflamed and swollen, leading to a health problem known as adenoiditis.
Most adults do not suffer from adenoiditis. In fact, the adenoids begin shrinking naturally by age 5 and virtually disappear by the teen years. Thus, adenoiditis is a condition primarily occurring in children.
Apart from infections, allergies, a weak immune system, tonsillitis and tangier disease can also lead to adenoiditis.
Some common symptoms of adenoiditis are a sore throat, stuffy nose, swollen neck glands, ear pain and even an ear infection. Additional symptoms may include breathing through the mouth, speaking with a nasal tone, difficulty or pain when swallowing, difficulty sleeping, snoring and even sleep apnea.
Proper diagnosis of the problem is important. So, see your doctor if you suspect your child has adenoiditis. In many cases, antibiotic medication or even surgery is suggested for treatment.
However, before opting for a surgery or antibiotics that can come with a variety of side effects, you can try some natural remedies to reduce the size of the adenoids.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for enlarged adenoids in children.
1. Salt Water Gargle
The best and the most effective remedy for enlarged adenoids in children is gargling with salt water.
While the warm water has a soothing effect on the sore throat, the salt helps kill the microbes that cause the infection. Also, the salt will help relieve pain and bring down the swelling.
- Mix 1 teaspoon of table salt in a cup of warm water.
- Make your child gargle with the solution. Be sure that your child spits it out after gargling and does not swallow it.
- Repeat this as often as possible throughout the day for a speedy recovery.
2. Cod Liver Oil
Another good remedy is cod liver oil.
It contains several nutrients including selenium that support effective lymphatic flow. Also, the essential fats in the oil help reduce inflammation, thus helping to shrink the adenoids.
A 2004 study published in Annals of Otology, Rhinology & Laryngology notes that daily supplementation of lemon-flavored cod liver oil and a multivitamin-mineral supplement for children can help reduce upper respiratory tract infections in children over time.
Plus, vitamins A, D and omega 3 fatty acids present in cod liver oil provide anti-infectious and anti-inflammatory benefits.
Cod liver oil can be found as a supplement or liquid. For children under 12, the liquid form is best. You can give about 1 teaspoon of it to your child (age 1 years or more) daily. You can also consult your doctor regarding the dosage and how to give cod liver oil to your child.
The sulfur-containing compounds in garlic have strong antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that can help deal with enlarged adenoids.
The compounds can destroy and combat pathogenic or disease-producing bacteria. They are also effective in controlling and reversing the inflammatory process in the body.
For treating enlarged adenoids, garlic should be consumed raw.
- Give your child 1 to 2 smashed garlic cloves mixed with a little lemon juice and honey, 2 or 3 times a day.
- If your child is a fan of salad or pasta, you can also mix a healthy amount of garlic into those dishes.
Ginger is another effective remedy for treating respiratory infections in both children and adults, thanks to its antibacterial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Mix together 1 teaspoon of raw honey and 4 drops each of fresh ginger juice and lemon juice. Give this mixture to your child once or twice daily for 4 or 5 days.
- Another option is to simmer 4 or 5 slices of fresh ginger root in 1½ cup of water for 10 minutes. Strain it, then add a little lemon juice and honey. Have your child drink this ginger tea 2 or 3 times a day for a few days.
When taken daily, honey helps heal enlarged adenoids very quickly.
Honey is an effective anti-inflammatory and antibacterial agent, which can help reduce the symptoms as well as fight the cause of the problem.
- Mix 1 to 2 teaspoons of raw honey and a little lemon juice (freshly squeezed, not bottled) in a cup of water.
- Optionally, add a pinch of pepper powder to it as it helps relieve congestion.
- Give it to your child to drink twice daily for 1 week to relieve pain, swelling and inflammation.
Note: Do not give honey to children less than 1 years of age.
6. Steam Inhalation
Steam inhalation is also beneficial for children with enlarged adenoids. It helps relieve the nasal congestion caused by swollen adenoid glands, which often leads to snoring or noisy breathing.
- Give steam inhalation to your child 2 or 3 times a day until the condition improves. It is best to use a steamer for this purpose to avoid the risk of accidental burns. Do this a few times daily until the symptoms subside.
- A long, hot shower can also soothe the throat and alleviate the symptoms of swollen adenoids.
Basil is another very effective home remedy for adenoiditis, due to its antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties.
Also, its healing nature and soothing property help reduce swelling and pain as well as speed up the healing process.
- Add 10 to 12 basil leaves to 2 cups of water.
- Boil it for 10 minutes.
- Strain it, then add the juice from ½ lemon to the solution.
- Add 1 teaspoon of honey to sweeten it.
- Give your child this soothing basil tea to drink 3 times a day for about 1 week.
Turmeric contains curcumin that has antioxidant, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
This therapeutic herb can bring down the swelling of enlarged adenoids. It also helps reduce pain and facilitates healing.
- Mix 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder with enough honey to make a paste. Give this to your child to eat twice daily for 1 week.
- Another option is give your child warm turmeric milk to drink twice daily. To make turmeric milk, boil 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder in 1½ cups of milk for 5 to 10 minutes. You can also add a cinnamon stick. Strain and add honey before drinking.
Keeping your child’s body well-hydrated is very important while trying to cure enlarged adenoids.
Fluids can ease a sore throat and prevent dehydration. Also, adequate hydration is good for your immune system. Water helps ensure that all your cells and organs, including the adenoids, function properly.
Apart from fresh water, you can encourage your child to keep sipping some coconut water, cold lemon water, homemade broth, warm milk and fruit juice.
10. Foods Rich in Vitamin C
Vitamin C is an important nutrient for a growing child. This water-soluble vitamin supports the immune system and helps shorten the duration of any kind of infection, including enlarged adenoids.
A diet rich in vitamin C will greatly help your child’s body fight the infection.
Some foods high in vitamin C that you can give your child to eat are bell peppers, kale, broccoli, strawberries, lemons, grapefruits, kiwis, pineapples, blackberries, tomatoes, spinach, Swiss chard and oranges.
- Wrap some ice cubes in a towel and place the cold compress on your child’s throat to provide some relief.
- Keep your child’s head, ears and throat covered at all times.
- Stop your child from talking too much.
- Use a humidifier to moisten the air. It will help soothe your child’s sore throat.