The adenoids, also known as pharyngeal tonsils, are a mass of gland-like tissue normally present in the upper part of the throat, directly behind the nasal passages.

adenoidsA small amount of this tissue is always found in the throats of newborn babies. Usually, it shrinks gradually and disappears by the time the child 10 years old. Sometimes this shrinking process does not take place; instead, the adenoid tissue increases in varying degrees to form a large growth. It is this growth that people commonly call ‘adenoids’. It forms a continuous ring of lymphoid tissue around the back of the throat. If the adenoid tissue causes repeated infections, doctors may remove it in a surgical operation called an “adenoidectomy“.

Fact File

NO ONE REALLY KNOWS THE PURPOSE OF TONSILS, BUT MANY MEDICAL SCIENTISTS BELIEVE THEY AID THE RESPIRATORY AND DIGESTIVE SYSTEMS FROM INFECTION. TONSILS CONSIST OF A TYPE OF TISSUE CALLED “LYMPHOID TISSUE”. THIS TISSUE PRODUCES WHITE BLOOD CORPUSCLES, KNOWN AS LYMPHOCYTES THAT HELP FIGHT INFECTIONS.

The tonsils are a set of soft tissue masses located at the back of the throat or pharynx. It consists of tissue-like lymph nodes, covered by pink mucosa. Running throughout every tonsil’s mucosa are pits. They are part of the system, which helps to fight infections. However, tonsils removal does not seem to increase the human body’s susceptibility to disease. Tonsils also vary in the size and sometimes swell in reaction to infection.

Types of Tonsils

Technically, there are three sets of tonsils in our body:

  • Pharyngeal tonsils

    It is commonly known as adenoids and is located on the high up in the throat (behind the nose). They can be seen through rhinoscopy when inside of the nose is examined.

  • Palatine tonsils

    It is also called tonsilla palatine. They are located on the right and left of the back of the throat. It can be seen when you open your mouth. When people refer to tonsils, though, they are usually speaking about these tonsils. They are pea-sized clusters of lymph cells in the pharynx in the opening of either side of their throat. Palatine tonsils might appear big in kids, but when they become an adult, the size of the tonsils tends to get smaller.

  • Lingual tonsil or tonsilla lingualis

    They are found on the far back at the base of the tongue.

Function of Tonsils

Though modest, tonsils have a lot of uses. They prevent foreign particles from entering the lungs. They also keep us safe us from bacteria and viruses. On top of all that, tonsils produce white blood cells as well as antibodies.

According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology, these bumps on the back of the throat are the “first line of defence as part of their immune system.” Tonsils stop virus and bacteria and flush them with lymph. The lymph is a clear and colourless liquid which comes out of the nose.

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