SORE THROAT IS A COMMON COLD SYMPTOM ; usually it can be relieved by rinsing or lozenges, and after a few days it inevitably goes away on its own. True, in childhood memories, a sore throat for many is associated with horrors, from a complete ban on ice cream in winter to operations to remove tonsils or adenoids (or intimidation with these operations). We understand why a sore throat is different, what adenoids are and whether they need to be removed, when to take antibiotics and how to gargle.
What is a pharyngeal ring
In the throat are the tonsils – accumulations of lymphoid tissue; these are the immune organs that protect the entrance to the digestive and respiratory systems by being the first to react to incoming microbes. The tonsils are called the body’s first line of defense. In addition to the palatine tonsils (which can be seen by looking in the mirror with a wide open mouth), there are also the pharyngeal, lingual and two tubal tonsils, and together they form the lymphatic pharyngeal ring .
Adenoids (or rather, “adenoid vegetation”) are growths of tissue of the pharyngeal tonsil. It is impossible to see them by simply opening your mouth, for this you need an examination using a special ENT mirror or an endoscope. Normally, only children have adenoids , at the age of seven to eight they begin to decrease, and by adulthood they should completely disappear; at this stage, the immune system is already formed and the body has other defense mechanisms.
Why the adenoids grow
In 2012, data from a study conducted in India were published – it turned out that enlarged adenoids were the cause of nasal breathing disorders in 21% of cases in people aged 16 to 65 years. That is, it turned out that this is not an exclusively childish condition. The most common causes of lymphoid tissue proliferation in adults are infections and allergies, as well as smoking and environmental pollution. In children, this can happen due to frequent colds, and the predisposition to the growth of adenoids seems to be related to genetics: as it turned out more recently, mutations in the Ugrp2 gene increase the likelihood of overgrowth.
Too strong hypertrophy of the adenoids is dangerous, and if with a slight increase (first degree) there may be problems with sleep and mood, then the second degree threatens with headache, dizziness, weakness, otitis media and hearing loss. In the most severe, third degree, a person (most often a child) may lose hearing, possibly sleep apnea (cessation of breathing during sleep), developmental problems due to the fact that the adenoids block the nasal passages and the brain does not receive enough oxygen. Even in medicine, there is the concept of ” adenoid type of face “. If the child’s adenoids have increased too much, and the parents are not in a hurry with effective treatment (they do not dare to have an operation or spend time contacting homeopaths), then nasal breathing is constantly impaired. A person breathes with his mouth, which is constantly open – and as a result, the development of the jaws changes, the occlusion (bite) is deformed.
When and how they are removed
The attitude towards surgical treatment of adenoids has changed with the development of medicine. Previously, growths were removed, starting from the second degree, but now they resort to surgery when the situation is difficult: the child does not breathe through his nose, chronic otitis media develops, and hearing begins to deteriorate. The operation is performed under anesthesia or sedation, when the person is conscious, but relaxed and does not feel pain.
Most often, drug therapy is first attempted – if it helps, then the operation is not performed; This usually includes antibiotics or steroid hormone sprays and is given during an acute infection. It is important to understand that if the adenoids have grown, they will no longer decrease, so drugs can only prevent their further growth. In a child, if this succeeded, over time, the growth will become smaller relative to other structures of the neck and head and may cease to cause inconvenience.
What is sore throat and pharyngitis
Angina is another name for acute tonsillitis, or inflammation of the tonsils; with pharyngitis, the throat also hurts, but the back of the pharynx is inflamed, not the tonsils. The most common cause is viruses, sometimes a bacterial infection, less often fungi or parasites. The most dangerous sore throat is streptococcal, it can have complications from the heart, kidneys or joints. Treatment depends on the cause: with a viral infection, you can only alleviate the symptoms by using gargles, lozenges, warm or, conversely, cold drinks. With streptococcal sore throat, antibiotics are needed; ideally, its diagnosis should be made by a doctor after bacteriological culture, but now even at the pharmacy you can buy a streptotest, which will help you quickly determine if there is a streptococcal infection. Sometimes chronic tonsillitis (and other ENT diseases) are not caused by bacteria or viruses, but by the throwing of acidic stomach contents through the esophagus into the pharynx.
In acute sore throat on the tonsils, you can see light dots, similar to abscesses, and usually after an illness they disappear. But with chronic tonsillitis, ” plugs ” can form in the tonsils – accumulations of bacterial cells and cells of the tonsils themselves. Sometimes they are hardened by calcium deposits from saliva. They smell unpleasant and a person may complain of bad breath even with excellent dental hygiene. These accumulations can again and again become a source of infection, and not only local, but also in distant organs. In Russia, patients with such a problem are washed with tonsils in courses of five to ten procedures every six months or a year. True, this method does not lead to a cure and is not used in world practice – washing the tonsils is not described at least in British and American therapeutic recommendations. It is possible to radically get rid of chronic tonsillitis only with the help of an operation . It is recommended primarily for adults with severe exacerbations of angina.
How to relieve a sore throat
With the most common infections – viral – the cause of the disease cannot be eliminated, but the symptoms can be alleviated. For a sore throat, gargling is effective, preferably with antiseptics prescribed by a doctor, but salt water is also suitable . The rest of the recommendations are the same as for colds in general: rest, take ibuprofen or paracetamol, humidify the air and drink warm or cold (whichever works best) drinks.