Infections and swelling of the adenoids and tonsils are common in children, and adults occasionally have problems as well. A doctor’s examination is usually needed to find out if there is a bacterial infection.

Enlarged tonsils and adenoids can cause problems even if they don’t get infected. Sometimes tonsils and adenoids are so large that children have problems breathing or, less commonly, eating.

Signs that adenoid and tonsil enlargement is causing problems include:

  • mouth breathing
  • excessive snoring
  • struggling to breathe or gasping to breathe, especially while sleeping

Surgery is the only effective treatment for enlarged tonsils and adenoids that are causing problems.