15 answers

Adenoid and Tonsil Issues with 3 Year Old!!

Hi Mama's. I have a 3 year old little girl. She is perfect in every way. Our issue is that she wakes up several times a night. Once usually to go potty and the other times are just random, but it's EVERY night and has been for months. Her Dr. told me that her tonsils are huge but that is normal in little ones and not cause for concern. However, I had wondered if the large Tonsils were giving her sleeping/Breathing problems at night. She snores and sleeps with her mouth open (which is related to Adenoids from what I understand). I took her to a Tonsil Specialist and within 5 minutes (after looking in her throat for litterally one second), he said "I'm recommending a FULL Tonsil and Adenoid Ectomy, when would you like to schedule that surgery?" I thought he was crazy. I just don't believe Surgery is necessary. He didn't even ask me if she was having sleep issues, or how her breathing was, etc. She has never had strep and never has sore throats. She just snores and wakes up at night (which might be totally unrelated to the Tonsils). I'm just looking for advice on this and if anyone else has had this problem. I will be getting 2 more opinions on the Tonsil and Adenoid removal. Thanks Mama's for your help.

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WOW!!! I cannot thank you all enough for your advice and support. I've got a Well visit with our daughters Dr. on Monday and to discuss this situation and I'm going to get a few more opinions from some of the Dr.'s you guys have referred. I am pretty sure we are going to do the surgery because after these stories, I almost can't wait for it to just be over so we can all sleep better. Thank you so much for your advice and your stories. I'll post later after the surgery (which will probably happen).

More Answers

As hard as is it to think that our precious little ones might need any type of surgery - we need to sometimes look at the big picture. What you are describing is not only harmful to her now - but in the future. As she gets older, this problem could potentially get worse - especially as she goes to school. This surgery is relatively "easy" on a 3-5 year old, and gets worse and worse as we age. Children regound mich quicker when they are younger.

If you weren't pleased with your doctor - find another one. I'd definately recommend a Pediatric ENT - and there have been some mentioned here. We go to Dr. Courtney Noell - who's not only an ENT, but a mom as well, so she understands the real fears that we all have.

I hope that your little one gets better, and that you get her some kind of relief.

J. (mom to a 3 1/2 year old little girl who NEVER sleeps!)

Oh girl! If her tonsils are as big as you say be glad she has not has strep or sore throat because when I was little mine were big and they would almost swell shut which was hard for me to breath. Getting those removed would totally change alot of things for her. There is a doctor in Ft. Worth named J. Mark Palmer that is wonderful!!! His office is by Cook's. He has done surgery on all 3 of my kids! He got my son's hearing back (failed hearing test at school). The other 2 had sinus issues. He is great with kids!!

dr strange at cooks said the said thing about my daughter.. she was waking up many times a night which was apnea, she would stop breathing , startle then wake up.. she would also get sick ALOT and stay sick for much longer than the typical child.. SNORED LOUD!! she had her tonsils and adenoids removed at 18 months of age.. it was a hard week but has been heaven since!!!!!

Hi M.,

My son Kyle (now 8) was a very healthy baby & toddler. When he was 3, he suddenly began snoring HORRIBLY, to the point where I could hear him all the way in my room, and I would lay there scared he wouldn't take another breath since it sounded like he would stop breathing sometimes. When we took him to the ear, nose, & throat dr, we had the same experience as you - all he had to do was glance at Kyle's throat to see that they needed to come out. I was surprised, since he never suffered from infections or anything, but the dr. said sometimes they just swell up for no reason. The surgery went fine, and the dr. told us that Kyle's throat was now opened up 500% more (no, that's not a typo - his tonsils were almost touching, they were so huge). Our only problem after, aside from the normal soreness, was that he essentially had to relearn how to swallow, since everything was coming down at a much faster rate since the tonsils were no longer in the way. He got choked a lot a first, but quickly learned. I'm so happy we did it, and he's been healthy ever since, with no sleep problems, and I sleep better, since I'm not listening for him to take the next breath.


My youngest daughter, now 5, had her adenoids removed and tubes put in her ears. She only had 1 ear infection. She never complained about her ears hurting but she would tell me they weren't working. It turned out that she had a lot of fluid in her ear (not necessarily infected).

I said that to say that her surgery went fine she had it when she was 3. She woke up and recovered fine. She didn't even cry when she woke up.

So if you are comfortable after you get some more opinions just know the surgery itself isn't bad.

Thanks and God bless!

The adenoid and tonsil issues can also cause other problems. The sleeping issues are a big deal - and can get worse down the road. Sleep apnea is a very serious condition that can be caused by enlarged adenoids and tonsils. I would schedule the surgery and get them out. Here is an article that I would recommend reading. I have a friend whose daughter had this exact issue and it got so bad that she was waking up gasping for air and choking. Good luck - just know that it is very serious and could be the reason for her sleep issues.

Dr. Timothy Trone at Medical City is an absolutely fabulous pediatric ENT; he saved my daughter's life. You might consider another consult if you are not comfortable. At any rate, my other daughter had the huge tonsils and adenoids. She had also been having some real behavior issues. She had the snoring and waking issues, also. Dr. Trone explained that her condition was almost as bad as sleep apnea. He also explained about a study that was done on children with enlarged tonsils and adenoids. 800 children were included in the study. The children were all tested for ADD and related problems. The number of children that tested positive for ADD was almost double the normal average. Due to the sleep problems, the kids were just not getting enough sleep. Many of the parents in the study elected to get the tonsils & adenoids removed. A follow up testing was done later and, of the families that had the tonsils removed, the percentage that tested positive for ADD had dropped back to the normal rate. He told me that before I commented on my daughter's behavior problems. It's been about a month since the surgery, she's sleeping much better and her behavior is greatly improved. The younger the child has the tonsils removed, the easier it will be for her. One twin had them removed at 3 by Dr. Trone and I swear she was dancing down the hallway when we left the hospital the next day. The other twin had it at 4, and recovery was longer (but still pretty easy). So, based on how they look, it's probably going to have to happen some time; so do it now when it will not hurt as much. good luck. hope this helps.

I'm not sure what ENT you saw, but I highly recommend Dr. Mehendale ###-###-#### in Frisco. He is at Centennial Medical Pavilion at Coit and 121. He was recommended to me by an overwhelming majority of Moms on here. We went and he was more wonderful than I could have hoped for!!

Getting a 2nd opinion is always a good idea.

My son had his tonsils and adenoids taken out right before he turned 6. The doctor and the specialist also said that both were huge. He also snored and always breathed through his mouth. He also spoke like he was stuffed up all the time. I think I remember them explaining that bacteria and allergens can get attached to the tonsils and adenoids. He had alleries which he was on medication for but after his surgery we have rarely had to give him any allergy medication. He is now almost 8. I had this done myself when I was around the same age. I was always sick and then I was totally different afterwards, according to my mom.

I would follow the direction of the Specialist, he should know smiply by looking what is needed. My sister did not have her tonsil and adenoid removed when her doctor recommended and now she had a hearing loss. Get a second opinion if you tin but a specialist does not usually recommend unnecessary surgery for a child.

Hello, M.. My 5 YO daughter just had her anenoids removed in February. It has been the best thing since. She was having sleep issues like snoring, waking several times, gasping for air sounds, just wasn't sleeping well. Which had behavioral side effects. We went do Dr. Mark Hardin and he recommended the surgery.... I too was VERY nervous about surgery, etc. but we did it and I am so glad we did. She is like night & day. We all can sleep better. She hasn't been sick, I can't even hear her coming anymore : ). Not breathing well caused her to have this thick coating on her tongue which made her have bad breath. That has been cured as well. It helped a lot of things. There were no side effects and she was up playing the next day. Her tonsils were okay so it's a little different from your situation. But think about the future and how better she/you all will sleep and not have any sleep apneas in the years to come, etc.
Do get more doctor's opinions so you can get your questions answered.


I'm with you on not always having surgery, but this is something that as a parent I would really consider. This happened to my Brother, and my Mom and Dad had them taken out when he was five. Before they did he was sick all the time, and after he was hardly ever sick. The doctor also told them that he could choke in his sleep because of it. I hope that this helps some. I'm sorry that your family has to face a decision about surgery on your little one, that must be really hard. Please keep us posted.

My situation is a little different from yours. My oldest son (almost 3 and a half now)has had tubes put in his ears...TWICE. Two surgeries, and he has matched me on home many surgeries I have had in my life. The first time they just put the tubes in, and with in a year they had to go back in and do the tubes and remove the adnoid. Personally, I would have much rathered that they remove the adnoid and tonsils at that time, but the doctor would not do it. Now my 9 month old has already had a ruptured ear drumb and fluid on his ears that is not going away. It is starting look like he is going to have to have the tubal surgery as well. I will tell this, WE (my husband and myself) will not put him through mulitple surgeries as we had to do with my oldest. We are going to search high and low to find a doctor that will do the tubes, take out the adnoid and tonsils... You do not need your adnoids or tonsils. It will not hender or hurt you to not have them. Personally if the doctor feels it is necessary to remove them, I would let him. This way she will not remember the discomfort from the surgery,like she would if you waited till she was 10. Good luck to you and your family. I hope all goes well no matter what your decisions are.

My son had his tonsils and adenoids out when he was 7. It has made a huge difference for him as well. He didn't get throat infections very often. However, he always had these really bad sinus infections. He also would snore bad, and was a mouth breather constantly. Our Speech Therapist was the one that recommended us having him evaluated. Now that he has had the surgery, he can breathe better overall, sleep better, and he rarely gets sick anymore. Plus, we have had people tell us that they can understand him better when he talks. Totally worth it!

If you are not happy how the first dr. evaluated her, then I recommend a second opinion. We saw Dr. Wayne Kirkham at Medical City. He is one of the best (if not the best) ENT in the US. He sees big stars like Celine Dion and LeeAnn Rhimes. Don't let that scare you...he is not that hard to get into. In fact, it took me just 3 weeks to get my 4yo into him last year. He is great with kids. The first thing he tells them, is "I am not going to hurt you. And, there are not going to be any shots." By the time, your child leaves, they are covered in stickers. Kids love him and so do the parents.

Now, let me tell you about my 4yo son. I figured that he was going to need the same surgery as big brother, since his tonsils are gigantic. However, Dr. Kirkham told us to try this first...we were to stop giving him all antihistamines period. Then we had to give him an antibiotic everyday for a month. When we went back for our check-up, my 4yo's tonsils had shrunk. No surgery needed at this time. So, go check out Dr. Kirkham. We highly recommend him.

Good luck,


Oh, I understand your pain. My son, who is now 5, has never been a “good” sleeper and always ended up in bed with us. He would sleep walk and have night terrors as well. In March my otherwise very healthy son (he went once a year to see the doc for a sinus infection and once for his checkup) got a Peritonsillar Abscess. From then until we took his tonsils & adenoids out 6/6 he was sick every other week, if not every week.

Having surgery was not something I was looking forward to at all, but it worked out really well. Our ENT (Dr. Dryer in Abilene – LOVE HIM) suggested at the 1st visit that Trenon’s adenoids were probably as much of a problem in a hidden sort of way as the tonsils were. He said that the adenoids were probably disturbing his sleep just enough to rouse him out of a deep sleep and to sleep walk and have the night terrors. He said that after the surgery he felt like those problems would go away. God Bless him… They did. Since 6/6, my son has gotten in bed with me twice! It was literally an every night thing before. He’s not slept walked or had any terrors either. Also, his ears used to drain wax out of them daily (gross) and they no longer do that. Also, after his tonsils became englarged, we started having behavorial issues with him because of his poor sleep quality at night – which the surgery fixed as well.

Having said all of that, I don’t know if I would have done the surgery just for those benefits. On the other hand, my husband will be the type that dies in his sleep sometime in the future from sleep apnea because his tonsils and I’m guessing adenoids are HUGE and he snores horribly bad! His mom was told several times to have them removed when he was a child, but she never did (that’s another story). I don’t think he would ever consider now it because the recovery for an adult to have it done is horrible, whereas my son had his surgery on Friday, quit taking the Rx pain meds by Sun and quit Tylenol by Wed. His recovery was EXCELLENT.

Definitely do get a second & third opinon, and maybe even wait until she is a little older to see if anything changes. I know people who go through life with huge tonsils and survive, but I know my hubby’s sleep quality (which sets how you feel) would be so much better had his mom had it done.

Best of luck to you and your little girl.

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