> Mom Knows Best : How To Tell If My Child Needs His Tonsils Removed

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

How To Tell If My Child Needs His Tonsils Removed

    My youngest son just had his tonsils and adenoids removed. The above picture is before the surgery. What I thought was just a persistent winter cough turned out to be much more. I am going to share with you the events that led up to my son needing his tonsils and adenoids removed so you can know if your child may need his removed. I am not a doctor, just a mom, so seeing a doctor is always best to get the proper diagnosis.

Coughing and snoring

 Last winter my son had a cough, that only happened at night time when he was sleeping. He would cough several times throughout the night but not during the day. I mentioned it to his doctor and she said that it was a cold and needed time to go away. I thought maybe it was asthma or the air was too dry. A humidifier did not help the cough. My son also sounded nasal, snored and was a mouth breather but he had been like that since he was 3 so I thought nothing of it.  I later found out these were symptoms of adenoid swelling. 

The cough did not go away

 When spring came and my son had his yearly doctor visit, I mentioned to the doctor that he was still coughing at night time. The doctor examined him and said with hesitation "maybe we need to see an ear, nose, and throat doctor to look at the adenoids."

Sleep study

  I made an appointment with the ENT doctor and was surprised to find out my son's adenoids were swollen. The doctor had to insert a camera in my son's nose to see the adenoids as they are behind the nose. The doctor ordered a sleep study. I later found out my son had severe sleep apnea. The swollen adenoids were causing him to stop breathing 18 times an hour, thus causing the night time coughing. The doctor also looked at my son's tonsils after his sleep study and found those to be swollen too. The swollen tonsils and adenoids were causing his sleep apnea and removal would solve the problem.

The ear, nose and throat doctor scheduled the surgery for my son to get his tonsils and adenoids out. When the surgery was over, the doctor told me that my son's adenoids were as big as his tonsils. She also told me one of the tonsils had an infection. If we had not had the surgery, my son would have had more problems like a persistent infection along with the sleep apnea.

The symptoms

Through this experience, I want to share with you some symptoms to watch out for indicating swollen adenoids and /or sleep apnea.

+ A cough that happens only at bedtime
+ Nasal congestion  
+ Speaking with a nasal sound   
+ Breathing through  the mouth
+ Snoring        
+Ear Pain
+ a Sore throat
+ Sleep problems
+ Tiredness or Hyperactivity during the day

 I am so glad my son had the surgery as now he can start getting a good night sleep. Lack of sleep was causing my son to be hyper and have some behavior problems. The surgery was not fun for my son. He was in a lot of pain afterward but pain medicine and popsicles helped that. He will have to rest and eat soft food for a week. This is all worth it as my son will not have any more of the above symptoms and his sleep apnea will go away.

So if your child has some of these symptoms, ask your doctor to refer your child to an ear, nose, and throat doctor as it just might be swollen adenoids and/or tonsils.

Feel free to ask me questions and I will try my best to answer them based on my son's experience.     
I will next post about my son's surgery experience and recovery. 

Read more

Recovery from the surgery

Surgery information


  1. Thanks for the info! I've never thought about this before....

  2. My son had his out a few years back and it made a big difference. He was constantly having ear infections and after these were removed, no problems. Weird.

  3. He will feel such a difference now that he had it done!

  4. I remember when I had this done when I was about his age. Somehow when I woke up, I was very much in pain and no amount of ice cream would help. I think they knocked me out with painkillers after that. Hope he had a better wake up experience than I did!

    1. He had an awful wake up. They had to knock him out twice with the strong stuff.

  5. Thank you so much for sharing your experience, this is a great way to help other moms out!!

  6. This is so scary! Thank you for sharing! It's so important to know what to look for! Glad everything worked out okay. :)

  7. Oh wow. Thank you so very much for sharing, I would have never put two & two together.

  8. Thanks for sharing! Glad everything worked out well for your family.

  9. Wow! Glad everything worked out. Great info! Thanks for sharing.

  10. My poor cousin went through the exact same thing when we were that age, and now one of my nephews is undergoing the sleep study thing too. It's great that you shared the warning signs, because I'm sure other people wouldn't have put those symptoms together as a sign of tonsil or adenoid trouble.

    Tracy @ Ascending Butterfly

  11. Lots of great information. I had no idea.

  12. Good information to know - I would have never known that a persistent cough could indicate something like this.

  13. I had mine removed when I was 9. My parents had no idea I had problems until I went to the dentist and he realized I was breathing out of my mouth.

  14. Great reference to have! I was not aware of what to look for exactly. We never dealt with this in our kids. Thanks!

  15. That is scary! Thanks for posting. This would not be something I would have thought of if my son was having sleeping problems.

  16. the mouths open and close, the backdrop continues to sparkle, but what should be a cacophonous sound of many voices, remains on mute.Learn More


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