Adenoids are small lumps of tissue at the back of the nose, above the roof of the mouth. You can't see a person's adenoids by looking in their mouth. Adenoids are part of the immune system, which helps fight infection and protects the body from bacteria and viruses.

Only children have adenoids. They start to grow from birth and are at their largest when a child is around three to five years of age. By age seven to eight, the adenoids start to shrink and by the late teens, they're barely visible. By adulthood, they'll have disappeared completely.

Adenoids can be helpful in young children, but they're not an essential part of an adult's immune system. This is why they shrink and eventually disappear.

Adenoids may need to be removed if your child has:

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