Recently, my daughter was found to have mild sleep apnea and we were referred to an ENT (ear, nose and throat) specialist for a surgery consultation. I was very apprehensive about this visit, because I am strongly against removing body parts – particularly important ones! But still, I went to the appointment with an (somewhat) open mind.
The tonsils and adenoids, which are typically removed in cases of pediatric sleep apnea, are composed of lymph tissue and are part of your immune system. They serve as the first line of defense versus airborne illnesses and pathogens that enter through the mouth. Removing them just doesn’t make sense to me.
Upon examination, we learned that while my daughter’s tonsils had decreased in size from a 4 to a 0 (more on that soon!), her adenoids were enlarged and causing a partial blockage. I thought the recommendation would surely be to operate. Thank goodness, I was wrong.
We learned during our visit, that removing the adenoids can cause hyper nasal speech (or velopharyngeal incompetence). Hyper nasal speech occurs when too much air goes through the nose while talking. In other words, it can sound like a child is talking through their nose.
My daughter, non-verbal until about 5 years ago, still has apraxia of speech which makes communication a challenge. Her doctor was concerned that an adenoidectomy would cause further speech problems and make it even more difficult to communicate. Therefore she did not recommend surgery. We were very relieved! We are now concentrating my daughter’s herbal treatments on reducing the inflammation in her adenoids so that she can breathe easier on her own…naturally.
For more about keeping the lymph system healthy, check out our recent entry “The importance of exercise.”
Coming next…an herbal alternative to tonsillectomy.