Hypertrophy, or, more simply, enlarged tonsils is quite common in children under 10–12 years old. Adults suffer from this pathology much less often.
Before we talk about hypertrophy of the tonsils, we must understand what the tonsils are and what role they play in the body.
What is the tonsils
These are formations from lymphoid tissue that form the pharyngeal lymphatic ring before entering the respiratory system. A person has four types of tonsils: paired palatine and tubal and single nasopharyngeal (pharyngeal) and lingual.
The tonsils perform a very important function in the body – they protect it from the penetration of viruses and bacteria. This is the first barrier to infection. In addition, the tonsils are involved in the process of blood formation.
Tonsils grow intensively in children from a year to 10-12 years. It is during this period that the tonsil hypertrophy mainly occurs – the growth of lymphoid tissue under the influence of certain factors. This mainly concerns the nasopharyngeal tonsil, or adenoids, and palatine tonsils, which are otherwise called glands.
Causes of tonsil hypertrophy
A very common occurrence in young children is adenoiditis, or inflammation of the adenoids. In the chronic course of the process, the adenoids begin to grow rapidly, and then they often have to be removed (see Operation to remove the adenoids).
Palatine tonsils grow more slowly, as a rule, this happens with frequently repeated tonsillitis. It is cold diseases caused by pathogenic microbes that are considered the main cause of enlarged tonsils in children. Why is this happening? In response to the disease, the lymphoid tissue increases, and then returns to its original size upon recovery. This process takes about 2-3 weeks. But if the disease follows without a break: only one is over, as the other begins, the tonsils do not have time to recover and must protect the body again. They are increasing in size more and more, which is already a pathology.
But frequent colds are not the only cause of tonsil hypertrophy. These can be endocrine disorders of the adrenal glands, caries, and a tendency to allergies. Sometimes the growth of the glands is associated with hereditary insufficiency of the lymphoid system.
In adults, the causes of tonsil hypertrophy are the same as in children — primarily chronic infectious diseases of the nasopharynx and caries. Immunological disorders and pathologies of the endocrine system are also possible.
How hypertrophied tonsils appear
First of all, parents should be alerted by the fact that the child breathes all the time through the mouth (which is always ajar), snores in his sleep, he has nighttime breath holdings – apnea. Speech suffers, voice becomes nasal. Hearing deteriorates. It is difficult to swallow the baby.
Often, in small children, mental development is slowed down due to enlarged tonsils, which is explained by a lack of oxygen due to the overlap of the respiratory tract with overgrown tonsils.
There are also headaches, confusion, sleep disturbances, a slight fever. In advanced cases, the cardiovascular system may suffer, and nocturnal incontinence develops.
In adults, the manifestations of tonsil hypertrophy are less pronounced. These are frequent headaches, hearing loss, decreased performance. A person suffers from frequent tonsillitis, chronic rhinitis. The risk group includes people with frequent diseases of the respiratory system.
The degree of hypertrophy of the tonsils
Depending on the size of the growth, there are three degrees of hypertrophy of the palatine and nasopharyngeal tonsils.
1st degree – the distance from the bow to the middle of the pharynx is blocked by the amygdala by no more than one third;
2nd degree – the distance is covered by two thirds;
3rd degree – glands in contact.
1st degree – the upper part of the opener is slightly closed – the posterior part of the nasal septum;
2nd degree – opener blocked by two thirds;
3rd degree – opener completely blocked.
Diagnosis of tonsil hypertrophy
In order to make an accurate diagnosis, several studies are conducted:
pharyngoscopy – direct examination of the oral or nasal cavity, as well as taking biological material for analysis;
examination of the nasal passages – rhinoscopy;
roentgenogram of the nasopharynx.
Treatment of hypertrophied tonsils
If the disease is not advanced, conservative treatment is indicated, including:
gargling with antiseptic solutions, decoction of medicinal herbs;
receiving lymphotropic drugs;
physiotherapy (UHF, ultrasound therapy, ozone therapy).
In some cases, according to the testimony of doctors recommend surgical treatment – removal of overgrown tonsils, partially or completely.
Gland removal, or tonsillectomy, is performed either by the classical method under general anesthesia, when the tonsils are cut off with a scalpel or loop, or using a laser, or using radio waves.
Indications for removal of the child’s glands are:
frequent sore throats – more than 4-5 cases per year;
serious complications of chronic tonsillitis – abscesses, rheumatic disease, kidney problems;
persistent difficulty in swallowing and breathing through the nose