Enlarged Tonsils in My 6 Year Old Daughter

Updated on February 26, 2010
L.T. asks from Gainesville, VA
10 answers

My daughter snores like a man, is extremely tired and still wets the bed. I took her for her 6 year check up and discussed this with her doctor. The doctor says the tiredness and bed wetting are probably related to her snoring. She said her tonsils are enlarged and sent us to get an xray of her adnoids which are normal. She will call me in the morning and I'm pretty sure she'll send us to an ENT. Does anyone know if having her tonsils removed will help stop the snoring which in turn will help with her getting a good nights sleep?

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answers from Norfolk on

I know of a girl tht had it done at age 10ish...it helped her so much to get better sleep her grades and sluggishness.

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answers from San Diego on

Adnoids aren't discrete organs... they blend into the surrounding tissues (unlike a liver or heart, most glands, etc.) so the rule of thumb that they're teaching in med and nursing schools is to leave them in unless they're life threatening.

Here's why: They grow back, unless you remove a great deal of tissue from the surrounding area. Even if only a few cells are left, the adenoids will regrow. Sometimes harmlessly, sometimes creating more problems. The rate of regrowth, as well as the pattern is extremely varied. It can take 5, 20, or even 40 years for them to regrow... and as far as anyone has been able to tell me, no one knows why.

I also know many thoracic surgeons & endocrinologists who recommend leaving them in (again, unless they're life threatening)... because they catch bacteria, viruses, & molds that otherwise make it much deeper into the system and create far larger problems... since the systems that they affect aren't as equipped to deal with them, because that was the adenoids job. While I wasn't actually taught this in school, when I asked one of my profs specifically when we were on adenoids, I got the "Duh!" response, and a short lecture about cause and effect. Sigh. Gee, thanks.

There are, of course, reasons to remove them. Cancer, extreme swelling or encroachment making breathing difficult/labored, etc... but it's nowhere near as cut and dried (just pop them out) as it was 20-40 years ago for things like snoring or tonsilitis... since there have been 100,000s of patients to study as to what happens when you remove them. So be prepared for series of testing, and looking at other options before the surgery option gets presented.


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answers from New York on

my daughter had them taken out when she was 4. she snored a bit and the doctor assumed they were big. we had them taken out and doctor comes in and says they were falling apart. the reason we had them taken out was not so much the snoring but the fact that she kept getting sick every few weeks. when she gets sick she gets and ear infection. i have to say she has rarely gotten sick since we had them taken out. i am glad we did it



answers from Portland on

Hello L.-

I'm a parent coach and yes large tonsils can cause snoring and sleep apnea. I just wrote a newsletter article about this issue. Sleep apnea can be very dangerous so have this taken care of right away.

On a peronal note, my doc as a child didn't remove my tonsils, even though they should have been. It was the mid 1980's when docs were not doing that as much. Today I wish he had. I get strep throat/ sore throats very easily, and my tonsils always hurt when I'm sick. Having my tonsils out now i my 30's is much more dangerous than if it was done when I was smaller, because there are more mini blood vessels.

If your child's doc says take out the tonsils, do it. FYI- They may or may not remove the adnoids too. It depends on if they effect the snoring.

Good Luck-

R. Magby



answers from Seattle on

Thats what the ENT told us, my son is scheduled to get his tonisls out next month. That he will be able to sleep restfull.



answers from Washington DC on

My 3 year old daughter was snoring and mouth breathing so loudly even while awake that we took her to the ENT, who recommended the surgery (even though he tends to be on the conservative side for a surgeon). When her tonsils were removed, he told us they were the size of golf balls. That was four years ago, she's been fine ever since, and bonus is that she doesn't remember a thing because she was 3! It gets more difficult as you get older from what I understand. We were in and out of an out-patient surgical center in about three hours. Took a week to heal and back at preschool. The worst thing about the whole process was the medicine they must take to fight infection -- make sure to get it flavored because the original taste was horrible and she tried to refuse it all week after her first sip.



answers from Charlottesville on

Well, I would spend some time in her room after she goes to sleep to see if she is, not only snoring, but stopping breathing b/c she is obstructing (obstructive sleep apnea). If she has episodes of 'not breathing' then make sure you tell dr. and ENT dr. about it. My son had huge tonsils and we saw ENT twice before telling him our son had apnea. Tonsils came out as did adenoids which were a lot bigger than expected. Hope that helps and good luck.


answers from Norfolk on

My son had huge tonsils just before he turned 4. His were so large they looked like huge fleshy marbles at the back of his mouth. They could almost touch each other from opposite sides of his throat, and he could practically chew on them. He snored something awful and he had a hard time eating and swallowing. He never had a temperature over this and they were not infected. We went to an ENT and we tried 2 weeks of steroids to reduce the swelling, and it worked until he was off the steroids, then they swelled right back up again. We just couldn't go on like this. As soon as he turned 4, we had both his tonsils and adenoids out. It was an out patient procedure at the hospital and we brought him home the same day. He took 2 weeks to heal up (most kids heal up in 1 week, but I babied him a lot), and then he was absolutely fine. His pre-school sent him a cute hand made get well soon card that everyone signed. The snoring was gone, he could sleep and eat and drink and swallow with no problems. His 4th year was the first year he had a 4 inch growing spurt. We've never regretted having them taken out.



answers from Washington DC on

Getting rid of the tonsils should resolve the problem. My son also snores like crazy and he is getting his adenoids out in a few weeks which the doctor says should solve the problem. Definitely see an ENT.


answers from Charlotte on

My son snored so loud at age 3 we could hear it through the walls. He also had a deep voice and mummbled his speach. His pediatrician sent him to the ENT and the ENT said his tonsils were enlarged. The ENT removed his tonsils and adnoids. He is 4 now and has not snored since. His voice is a normal pitch and his speech is a lot clearer. Enlarged tonsils can be dangerous to little ones' airways, so I hope the ENT can help your son. Good luck :)

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