Enlarged Adenoids and Dr. Buteyko's Breathing Normalization Method:
The experience of medical doctors at Clinica Buteyko Moscow and Breathing Normalization specialists at BreathingCenter.com have demonstrated that the enlargement and inflammation of adenoids in children is always associated with the presence of excessive breathing or hyperventilation. By restoring normal respiratory function, it is possible for children to avoid the surgical removal of adenoids.
Take a look at a child with enlarged adenoids. What do you see? Yes, he or she looks pale, often weak and overexcited. What else do you see? What is going on with the child’s breathing? You will notice that the child breathes through their mouth; their breathing is deep, noisy and very obvious – especially when the child is talking.
This over-breathing (or pulmonary hyperventilation as doctors call it) causes edema and excess mucus and gives rise to the development of an inflammatory reaction of the nasal and pharyngonasal mucosa. In addition to this, hyperventilation creates oxygen deficiency in the various organs of the body (the Bohr effect) and disrupts the functioning of metabolism. Consequently, a child’s immune system becomes suppressed, which leads to a diverse series of health issues.
Many parents are aware that other symptoms often accompany enlarged adenoids - such as lingering or chronic colds, sleep disturbances, snoring, a nasal twang, frequent ear infections, hearing impairment, a change in the shape of the face (an open mouth and a sluggish, indifferent expression – an adenoidal face), recurring headaches, nocturnal urinary incontinence, facial muscle grimacing, asthma attacks, poor appetite, repeated vomiting, and weight loss.
According to Dr. Buteyko, enlargement of the adenoids is a compensatory mechanism created by the immune system as a reaction to over-breathing, especially through the mouth. Since hyperventilation can be extremely dangerous, the child's body reacts by physically narrowing the air passages. It increases the size of the adenoids in order to force the child to breathe less. Additionally, the child's body begins to produce an increased amount of mucus, which partially covers the respiratory passages for this same reason – to force the child to breathe less and reduce hyperventilation.
Knowing that enlarged adenoids can lead to more serious health problems, physicians frequently suggest that this vital immune organ be removed. However, often this does not solve the underlying problem. While a short-term improvement is noted after surgery, the adenoids often grow back. The child's immune system again attempts to protect the body by enlarging the adenoids, and again, this is diagnosed as an illness. Another operation is often recommended - and a vicious cycle takes shape. Both Clinica Buteyko Moscow and BreathingCenter.com continually encounter children who have undergone multiple (as many as four) surgeries. Repeated adenoidectomy is not only physiologically and psychologically traumatic for a child, it is often ineffective at resolving the enlarged adenoid problem and leads to a further development of respiratory issues such as bronchitis, coughing, allergies, and asthma.
According to Dr.Buteyko, enlarged adenoids and the illnesses that accompany them will remain until the child's breathing has been normalized. He or she must learn how to consistently breathe gently and shallowly through their nose only. Once this has been accomplished, the main cause of the illness – hyperventilation – is eliminated. The child's body no longer needs to protect itself through enlargement of the adenoids. Thus, the adenoids cease growing, and in many cases, even decrease in size. Additionally, the child's immune system restores to its normal function, and the colds, coughing, and other symptoms of enlarged adenoids go away. A child's breathing must be restored under the supervision of a certified Breathing Normalization specialist; usually it is not possible for parents to accomplish this on their own.
A Breathing Normalization specialist works with the child, but also with their parents helping them to understand how to create an environment conducive to healthy breathing. The majority of the breathing exercises take place in the form of a game and in motion, which often makes children perceiving them as entertainment. Most children love the Buteyko breathing exercises and find them to be fun.
Since the normalization of breathing significantly improves the supply of oxygen to the brain and other organs, breathing exercises improve children’s abilities to concentrate and they become calmer. As a result, their performance in school usually improves, and their family relations begin to be considerably easier and more pleasant. That’s what many parents notice when they are trained by Breathing Normalization specialists how to train their children to breathe healthy!
Adenoids Without Surgery: Questions and Answers:
Question: My son’s adenoids are significantly larger than they are supposed to be. He catches cold and flu often, and he always has a runny nose and a cough. His doctor told us that adenoid surgery is unavoidable. Is there any alternative?
Answer: Years of clinical experience show that Buteyko's breathing normalization method helps children restore their breathing to its medical norm; when a child brings over-breathing to an end, the adenoids not only stop obstructing nasal breathing, but in many cases become smaller in size. At the same time, the immune system becomes stronger, and the child becomes less receptive to cold or flu. The typical hyperventilation symptoms of stuffy nose or cough gradually disappear as well. We suggest that you and your child start learning the Breathing Normalization Method as soon as possible in order to improve your child’s breathing. Please continue visiting your child’s physician. Only a medical professional can officially confirm that your child’s adenoid condition has improved, and that the surgery is no longer necessary (please consult an E.N.T. for this diagnosis). After that, all you need to do is support your child in maintaining healthy nasal breathing.
Question: Do you suggest we reject the surgical removal of adenoids?
Answer: Absolutely not. Breathing Normalization Specialists are not medical doctors; we are educators, and therefore cannot make a decision regarding surgery. We teach children and their parents how to normalize breathing by eliminating hyperventilation. Usually, this significantly improves a child’s health, and as a result the surgery becomes unnecessary. However, this must be confirmed by a medical doctor. The final decision regarding surgery should be made by parents and their child’s physician.
Question: How does the program Adenoids Without Surgery work?
Answer: A Breathing Normalization specialist teaches a child how to normalize breathing by doing breathing exercises. At the same time, the Specialist examines the child’s lifestyle, and makes recommendations to the parents on how to modify it – to support light nasal breathing. This normally helps the child to avoid adenoidectomy, and significantly improves the function of his respiratory, immune and nervous systems, as well as metabolism.
Question: Adenoidectomy is not the only way to deal with adenoids. There are other options such as medication, laser treatment, acupuncture, and homeopathy. How effective they are?
Answer: Those modalities can improve the condition of the adenoids; however, if a child still over-breathes, the results will only be temporary. It is hyperventilation which makes adenoids pathologically enlarged. To stop this situation completely, it is necessary to stop hyperventilation.
Question: My grandson does not sleep well at night since he cannot breathe through his nose. Will the Breathing Normalization Method help? He does not have a problem with adenoids.
Answer: The Breathing Normalization Method will help to restore his nasal breathing, and reduce his breathing to its medical norm. Usually, when this happens, children start sleeping very peacefully. We recommend you take our Individual/Family Breathing Normalization course right away, since your grandson’s current situation could lead to adenoid issues. If you address this now, it will prevent the development of more serious health issues such as adenoids, bronchitis, or asthma.
Question: My son’s adenoids were already removed, but I’ve heard they can grow back.. Will Breathing Center's work prevent the re-growth of adenoids?
Answer: Our experience demonstrates that breathing reduction prevents adenoids from growing back.
Question: The doctor told us that my 4-year old daughter needs an adenoidectomy. He said that if her adenoids are not removed, her health might worsen. Do you agree?
Answer: Pathologically enlarged adenoids can have a very negative effect on overall health; however, the Breathing Normalization Method prevents adenoids from further growth, and in most cases reduces their size. After a few months of Buteyko breathing exercises, medical doctors usually observe a considerable improvement of the adenoid condition and often change their opinion regarding adenoidectomy.
Question: I was told that enlarged adenoids could weaken the mental capacity of a child. Shouldn’t adenoids be removed to prevent this?
Answer: It is not the adenoids, rather it is hyperventilation that can damage mental capacity and brain development. To prevent this and other negative impacts of hyperventilation, a child’s body creates a defense mechanism to make them breathe less – in this case, enlarged adenoids. It does not make sense to fight against this defense mechanism, but it is necessary to eliminate the root cause of the problem, which is over-breathing. The Breathing Center assists children and their parents in doing this.
Question: Are breathing exercises going to be difficult for my child?
Answer: Most children enjoy them as much as physical activities or games.
Question: How I can find a Breathing Normalization specialist to work with my child?
Answer: You will need to take Buteyko Breathing Normalization Program Level 1. We will find a practitioner in your area, or recommend somebody who will work with your child via Skype. Avoid choosing an unknown practitioner through the Internet, as they may not be certified by the patent holders of the Buteyko Method.
Question: I am going to enroll in the Breathing Normalization program for my son, who is having issues with enlarged adenoids. But I am also concerned about my daughter, who seems to be developing asthma. Can my daughter attend the course as well? Will we have to pay the tuition twice?
Answer: Families may enroll in our Individual/Family Breathing Normalization course as a group, while only paying one tuition. All children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian during their sessions. This parent or guardian will become the child's teacher and mentor outside of the formal sessions and support them in their progress with Dr. Buteyko's method. We welcome other young family members to attend these sessions, or other adult family members, who wish to support the primary student, or who have their own health issues they wish to address with the Breathing Normalization method.
Stories of Our Clients:
Written by Rachel Newton
Kathy, age 6 Kathy is my ‘Sweet Pea.’ She is 6 years old and has terrible allergies and a blocked nose. Her breathing difficulties caused me to feel increasingly concerned so I took her to a number of Doctors. Finally, we went to an Ear, Nose and Throat Doctor who told us that she had enlarged adenoids that needed to be removed surgically.
Kathy is very sensitive, and knowing how traumatic this would be for her I had to search for other options. I soon discovered BreathingCenter.com and learned of an alternative to adenoidectomy, a program called Adenoids without Surgery. Our teacher taught Kathy and I the Breathing Normalization Method, explaining that pathologically enlarged adenoids are caused by hyperventilation. After a little while of practicing Dr. Buteyko's breathing exercises I noticed Kathy was sleeping better, and saw her petting the neighbor's cat – the same cat she usually stays away from because of her allergies!
With each week, she seemed better and better, and when we went back to the E.N.T. for “pre-op,” he said she didn’t look like she needed surgery anymore! Sometimes it is difficult to motivate Kathy to practice, but she is always better when we do, and slowly but surely, I notice her allergies are getting better. She still has allergies, but she was able to avoid surgery, and we will keep practicing knowing that her health will continue to improve!
Rachel and Kathy Newton. Westfield, Massachusetts
Written by Julia Williams
Daniel, age 8
In September I took my 8 year old son Daniel to an Ear, Nose and Throat Doctor because he had been experiencing headaches, frequent earaches, pain in the back of his throat and he was having trouble breathing. He told us that Daniel’s adenoids were enlarged and would have to be removed. At first I felt somewhat relieved, because his breathing was gradually getting worse and I was worried he might develop asthma.
His surgery was scheduled for October, and I was hoping that he would be back to good health for his birthday in December. Out of curiosity, I did a web search for alternative adenoids treatments and stumbled upon the Adenoids without Surgery Program taught at BreathingCenter.com So I called and spoke with Thomas Yakovlev-Fredricksen, who explained to me that enlarged adenoids are the result of chronic hyperventilation (over-breathing). I decided to sign up for Adenoids without Surgery because I learned that adenoids can come back even after surgical removal. Thomas described that practicing the Breathing Normalization Method will effectively and permanently treat enlarged adenoids without the risk of putting Daniel through multiple surgeries at a young age.
So I postponed Daniel’s surgery in order to try Dr. Buteyko's approach and see if it would work. We soon started working with Jesse Steinberg at Breathing Center’s office in Woodstock, NY. Jesse connected with us right away and explained the theory of the method then led Daniel and I through some breathing exercises. On the ride home from the first session I noticed that Daniel’s breathing was not as noisy as usual, and he said that he had fun learning with Jesse.
We continued working with Jesse and at home I would guide Daniel through the breathing exercises. Sometimes it was difficult to get him motivated, so we had to take a creative approach. Day by day, his symptoms began to dissipate!Two weeks later, we saw the E.N.T. again. He was surprised to find that Daniel’s nose was now in much better condition (it was now clear with no discharge), as were his ears and throat. His adenoids were still enlarged at that point but surgery had become optional! I was so thankful!
Daniel has since lost his symptoms, is generally calmer and more focused, no longer has headaches, and now has healthy quiet breathing. And, on the last visit to the E.N.T., he said surgery is no longer recommended! I am so grateful to Jesse and Breathing Center, you have helped my family in a way that I didn’t think possible!
Julia and Daniel Williams. Davenport, New York
Interview with Andrey Novozhilov, MD:
Click Here to Read this Interview in Russian
Adenoids Without Surgery
An Interview with A. Novozhilov M.D., Medical Director of Clinica Buteyko Moscow
Interviewed by Sasha Yakovleva-Fredricksen
- As a rule, children who have enlarged adenoids are plagued by colds and their noses run constantly. In addition, they have periodic earaches. Sometimes, enlarged adenoids can lead to asthma. Is it really possible to alleviate these problems in children by removing the adenoids?
A. N.: No, of course not. Surgery to remove the adenoids often improves a child's condition, but only in the beginning, occasionally for only a few weeks, after which the child begins to get sick again. Furthermore, it often turns out that the adenoids start to grow back after surgery. In one of our young patients, the adenoids were removed four times and each time they came back again.
- Then why do physicians recommend adenoid removal? They must be aware of the limited effectiveness of this operation.
A. N.: Physicians certainly know that an adenoidectomy is not a panacea; however, in many cases, by temporarily improving a child's condition, it postpones the development of more serious illnesses. Aside from that, the physicians cannot offer anything. What else can be done in order to restore proper nasal breathing in a child? After all, the disruption of nasal breathing, ongoing nasal congestion, and the transition to breathing through the mouth are the very things that constitute the root of all evil in this instance. Hormonal preparations? Yes, they are able to eliminate the swelling of the mucus membrane of the nose, as well as to restore breathing ability through the nose, and this frequently proves to be a stepping stone to a child's successful treatment. However, placing a child on hormones isn’t the best idea... For this reason, physicians say: "It's better if we cut out the adenoids, especially since they might become inflamed."
- Is the cause of adenoid growth known?
A. N.: Formal medicine does not know the reason that adenoids grow, but in this regard, Professor Buteyko felt that adenoid growth is a defense mechanism of the body that is brought on by the disruption of the respiratory function. Have you ever noticed how a child with enlarged adenoids breathes? Usually, breathing in such a child is noisy, deep, and through the mouth. This excessive respiration, or in other words "hyperventilation", is capable of inflicting tremendous damage to a child's body, since it causes oxygen starvation (the Verigo-Bohr effect), disrupts metabolism, and impairs immunity. A child's body needs to protect itself against hyperventilation. It does this by blocking the respiratory canals by way of the enlargement of the adenoids and the edema of the mucus membrane; that is to say, a chronic stuffy nose is unavoidable. When the respiratory canals are constricted, the amount of air that a child uses is reduced, and accordingly, the child’s body does not sustain a high level of damage.
- Which is to say that the cause of adenoid growth is hyperventilation. But can removing the adenoids actually halt hyperventilation?
A. N.: No, never. That is why Professor Buteyko called adenoid removal surgery a crime against children. I also believe that, in most cases, the adenoids are removed in vain. Enlarged adenoids are nothing more than a defense mechanism of the body to hyperventilation, and eliminating this defense reaction entails the development of more serious health problems. By the way, other problems that also constitute a defense reaction frequently accompany enlarged adenoids – for example, a stuffy nose, a cough, and so forth. If the adenoids are removed, hyperventilation persists; thus, these symptoms not only don't go away, but sometimes even intensify, since they have to take on a function that the adenoids previously performed. Removing the adenoids often leads to the origination of more serious defense reactions – for example, a child begins to experience bronchial spasms, which can ultimately lead to the development of asthma.
- The belief exists that it is difficult for a child to breathe because his or her adenoids are enlarged, and that if they are cut out, it will then become easier for the child to breathe. But, listening to you, it appears that exactly the opposite is true: it may be that it becomes even more difficult for the child to breathe after the removal of the adenoids.
A. N.: Yes, that is frequently what happens. In other cases, prolonged hyperventilation leads to the serious lowering of immunity and the development of more serious illnesses.
- And what would the result be if parents flatly refused surgery, but at the same time, did not follow Dr. Buteyko's approach?
A. N.: More than likely, the lowering of immunity and the development of new illnesses. As time goes by, if a child's nose becomes completely blocked and he or she is only able to breathe through the mouth, personal degradation may set in – the child's skull bones could be deformed, his or her face might change, and he or she might be transformed into an idiot in the medical sense of this term. Incidentally, the expression "adenoid face" even exists in medical circles. The adenoids may also become inflamed and infected; frequent ear infections (otitis) could set in, as a result of which a child might lose their hearing at least partially. It is important to understand that surgery to remove the adenoids is imperative in such advanced cases; however, without using Dr. Buteyko method, it cannot yield long-term results.
- Okay, but what would Breathing Normalization specialists be able to propose in the event of enlarged adenoids?
A. N.: We approach this problem in a different way. The cause of enlarged adenoids is hyperventilation; consequently, it is necessary to eliminate the cause of the illness, then its symptoms will go away on their own. The primary objective of a specialist is to normalize a child's breathing, first and foremost, by restoring breathing through the nose. A child who is not able to breathe through the nose will never be healthy.
- That's easy to say: to restore breathing through the nose! But, after all, a child with enlarged adenoids is scarcely able to breathe through the nose.
A. N.: You are right, Sasha: the restoration of nasal breathing in a child is quite a difficult task, and therefore, it must be accomplished under the supervision of a specialist. Indeed, it is hard for a child with enlarged adenoids to breathe through the nose. This is true for two reasons: on the one hand, the adenoids block the flow of air through the nose, while on the other hand, it is blocked by the swelling of mucus membrane in the nose. Edema severely constricts the respiratory passages and can ultimately cover the adenoids themselves, at which point the nose ceases breathing altogether. That is to say, the problem consists of two parts: enlarged adenoids, which cannot be reduced in most cases once they grow, and edema of the mucosa, which can be reduced. If the edema goes away, a child will once again be able to breathe through the nose, while the adenoids themselves atrophy by the age of 12.
- But what happens if the edema does not go away?
A. N.: As a result of edema, the natural ventilation of the nasopharynx (ears, nose, throat area) is impaired, and so is natural fluid drainage (discharge), as a result of which the adenoids become inflamed, and if microbes enter the picture, pus is created. The edema starts to spread, gradually engulfing the entire ear, nose and throat area and affects the ventilation openings of ears. When edema covers these openings, inner ear inflammation then sets in, frequently accompanied by hearing loss. But this is not a true deafness: the child is in a condition such that his or her ears are "stuffed up", as is the case, for example, in an airplane. Eliminating the mucosal edema leads to a situation wherein children say during their breathing exercises that their "hearing has returned." To the parents, this usually sounds like a "miracle cure." But it has to be wistfully observed that parents, through lack of knowledge, often take the child to a physician, and a surgeon cuts out the inflamed adenoids. Consequently, a sort of "hole" is shaped within the nose and it becomes easier for the child to breathe. However, the edema is still there... in a certain amount of time, it will again cover this hole and the child's nose will again be clogged. History repeats itself! By the way, edema also makes it very difficult for a surgeon to cut out the adenoids completely, as a consequence of which, a small piece of tissue is occasionally left behind and it re-grows. Therefore, in six months or so, the child will again face adenoid removal.
- So, it turns out that the most important thing for the successful treatment of a child with enlarged adenoids is to eliminate the swelling of mucus membrane.
A. N.:That's exactly right!
- And how is this done?
A. N.: There are two ways. One of them is the use of steroids, which ultimately inflict considerable damage on a child's health. But the second method is safe and does not have any adverse consequences – that is to get rid of hyperventilation or "deep breathing" through the use of Dr. Buteyko's approach. We teach a child how to eliminate the excessive ventilation of the lungs; that is to say, how to eliminate hyperventilation and to normalize the respiratory function as a whole. Thus, the body no longer has to produce an excessive amount of mucus, which defends against "deep breathing", and the child is afforded the opportunity of continuously breathing through the nose. Nasal breathing restores the natural ventilation of the ear, nose and throat area, as well as natural drainage, and the inflammation of the adenoids is halted. In addition to this, the adenoids stop getting bigger in size or, as is sometimes the case, even get smaller due to the elimination of the mucous membrane and tissue puffiness.
- And so, it is my understanding that parents go to an E.N.T. doctor, who measures the adenoids and then on that basis says that surgery is no longer necessary for this child.
A. N.: Yes, Sasha, that is so. In the large majority of cases, Dr. Buteyko's breathing normalization makes it possible to avoid adenoid removal surgery.
- And what, on the whole, happens to a child's health when he or she starts to apply the Breathing Normalization program?
A. N.: Dr. Buteyko's method is holistic; that is to say, it restores health in general and does not just eliminate a specific symptom. When the respiratory function is normalized, the child's immune system begins to recover and he or she stops hurting. His or her memory and ability to pay attention improves, in addition to which the child becomes calmer. It usually becomes easier for teachers and parents to work with a child and his or her progress in school improves. Moreover, other problems also dissipate – for example, bed wetting (nocturnal enuresis), from which many children with adenoids and impaired nasal breathing suffer. Incidentally, the attention of parents should be drawn to Dr. Buteyko's approach for treating bed wetting. If a child has sustained a partial hearing loss as a result of ear infection, it then begins to be restored. As previously stated, it often happens that during the first few breathing exercise lessons, a child will say with astonishment: "I can hear again!” This occurs due to the fact that the periods of Buteyko breathing exercises clear up the edema of the ears, nose and throat. I already mentioned it but the effect is so striking that I can speak about it over and over again.
- And how do children take the breathing exercises?
A. N.: We primarily work with the children in motion and use various physical exercises, which the children like very much. The child sees the treatment as a game and develops a trusting relationship with the specialist, which helps achieve a desirable result quite a bit faster. The alleviation of a child's condition frequently occurs during the first or second lesson and the children perceive this as favorable experience.
- And what is the role of the parents?
A. N.: There will always be parents who are looking for an alternative to surgical intervention and who are willing to fight for a child's health. These parents take part in a child's breathing lessons without question, learn the Method, and continue to use it at home. In this instance, success is inevitable! Sometimes, however, we get other parents, who say something like: "I have paid you, and in return, you must give me back a healthy child, and however he becomes healthy does not matter to me – I don’t care whether it is through surgery or breathing exercises." These apathetic parents often prove to be an impediment to the healing of their child, therefore the participation of the parents in learning Dr. Buteyko's method is the key to a child's recovery.
Back to Top