Adenoids and the Causes of Sinus Infections

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Facial pain, stuffy nose, fever, cough, discolored nasal discharge, and/or a headache are all indications of a potential sinus infection. Sinus infections (sinusitis) can result from bacterial or viral infections. In children, infected and/or swollen adenoids might be to blame.

Adenoids

  • The immune system includes adenoids, which consist of lymphatic tissue. Adenoids are located behind the nose, in the back of the throat, where they can intercept incoming bacteria and viruses.

Sinus Infection

  • Sinus infections can occur from either a bacterial or viral infection. Sinusitis stemming from bacterial infections typically requires antibiotic treatment for resolution, while symptoms of a viral infection often resolve after about a week. In adults, sinus infections typically follow a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract, or occur as a result of allergies.

Adenoids and Children

  • Enlarged and/or infected adenoids are relatively common in children. Enlarged or infected adenoids can obstruct the sinuses, causing nasal secretions to accumulate, which frequently leads to chronic sinus infections.

Adenoids and Adults

  • Sinus infections resulting from enlarged adenoids are rarely a problem in adults because adenoid tissue atrophies as you age. Enlarged adenoids in adults might stem from allergies, or even a tumor.

Considerations

  • The sinuses of children are quite small and easily obstructed and/or inflamed. Your doctor might suggest removing your child's adenoids if they are causing chronic sinus infections. However, removal of the adenoids is uncommon unless there is an ongoing health problem linked directly to their presence.

References

  • Photo Credit Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Abdullah Khan
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