How To Stop Adenoids From Growing And Prevent Adenoidectomy
The Buteyko Breathing Method helps children improve their respiratory and overall health and avoid adenoidectomy naturally. This holistic method was developed in Russia by K. P. Buteyko MD-PhD, and A. E. Novozhilov, MD, and has been in use for over thirty years. It helped thousands of children to stop adenoid growth and become healthy again. Since 2009, Adenoids Without Surgery program, which is based on this method, has been exclusively available in the United States and throughout the world through the Breathing Center and Clinica Buteyko in Moscow. This educational program contains two primary elements: breathing exercises and lifestyle changes. It helps parents to learn and apply the Buteyko Breathing Method to strengthen the breathing of their children and prevent adenoid removal surgeries.
Natural Treatment For Adenoids
Sasha Yakovleva, the founder of the Breathing Center, interviews A.E. Novozhilov, MD, Medical Director of the Buteyko Clinic in Moscow and the founder of the program, Adenoids Without Surgery.
Sasha: 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?
Doctor Novozhilov: No, of course not. Surgical removal of the adenoids often improves a child’s condition, but only in the beginning, sometimes 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.
Sasha: Then why do physicians recommend adenoid removal? They must be aware of the limited effectiveness of this operation.
Doctor Novozhilov: 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 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. Steroids? Yes, they are able to eliminate the swelling of nasal mucous membranes, as well as restore one’s ability to breathe 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.”
Sasha: Is the cause of adenoid growth known?
Doctor Novozhilov: Mainstream 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 adenoid enlargement and the edema of the mucous membrane; that is to say, a chronic stuffy nose is unavoidable. When respiratory canals are constricted, the amount of air that a child exchanges in the lungs is reduced and, accordingly, the child’s body does not sustain a high level of damage.
Sasha: Which is to say that the cause of adenoid growth is hyperventilation. But can removing the adenoids actually halt hyperventilation?
Doctor Novozhilov: 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 the body’s defense mechanism against hyperventilation, and eliminating this defense reaction entails the development of more serious health problems. 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 remain but sometimes even intensify, since they have to take on the function previously performed by the adenoids. Removing the adenoids often leads to more serious defense reactions-for example, the child begins to experience bronchial spasms, which can ultimately lead to the development of asthma.
Sasha: There is a prevailing belief that it is difficult for a child to breathe because his 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 adenoids are removed.
Doctor Novozhilov: Yes, that is frequently what happens. In other cases, prolonged hyperventilation leads to a serious lowering of immunity and the development of more serious illnesses.
Sasha: And what would the result be if parents flatly refused surgery, but at the same time, did not follow Dr. Buteyko’s approach?
Doctor Novozhilov: More than likely, the lowering of immunity and development of new illnesses. As time goes by, if a child’s nose becomes completely blocked and he is only able to breathe through the mouth, degradation may set in. The child’s skull bones could become deformed; his face might change and be transformed into an idiot face, 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 the 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’s method, it cannot yield long-term results.
Enlarged adenoids can change the face of the child
Sasha: Okay, but what would Buteyko breathing specialists be able to propose in the event of enlarged adenoids?
Doctor Novozhilov: 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.
Sasha: 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.
Doctor Novozhilov: 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 Buteyko Breathing Method 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, adenoids block the flow of air through the nose; while on the other hand, it is blocked by the swelling of the mucous 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 when the child reaches age twelve.
Sasha: But what happens if the edema does not go away?
Doctor Novozhilov: As a result of edema, normal air circulation of the nasopharynx (ears, nose, and throat area) is impaired, and so is natural fluid drainage (discharge). As a result of this, the adenoids become inflamed, and if microbes enter the picture, pus is produced. Edema starts to spread, gradually engulfing the entire ear, nose and throat area and affects the ventilation openings of the 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 ears are stuffed up, as is the case, for example, in an airplane. Eliminating the mucosal edema through breathing exercises often prompts children to say 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 their child to a physician, and a surgeon cuts out their 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! 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 often has to face adenoid removal again.
Sasha: 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 the mucous membrane.
Doctor Novozhilov: That’s exactly right!
Sasha: And how is this done?
Doctor Novozhilov: 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 hyperventilation, and the child is given the chance to continuously breathe 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 enlarging, or, as is sometimes the case, even get smaller due to the elimination of the mucous membrane and tissue puffiness.
Sasha: And so, it is my understanding that parents go to an ENT doctor, who measures the adenoids and then on that basis says that surgery is no longer necessary for this child.
Doctor Novozhilov: Yes. In the majority of cases, Dr. Buteyko’s breathing improvement makes it possible to avoid adenoid removal surgery.
Sasha: And what, on the whole, happens to a child’s health when he starts to apply the breathing improvement program?
Doctor Novozhilov: 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 stops hurting. His memory and ability to focus improves, and in addition, the child becomes calmer. It usually becomes easier for teachers and parents to work with a child and his 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, parents should pay attention to Dr. Buteyko’s approach for treating bed-wetting. If a child had sustained 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.
Sasha: How do children respond to the breathing exercises?
Doctor Novozhilov: We primarily work with the children in motion and use various physical exercises, which they like very much. The child sees the treatment as a game and develops a trusting relationship with the specialist, which helps achieve the desired results faster. The alleviation of a child’s condition frequently occurs during the first or second lesson and the children think of this as a positive experience.
Sasha: What is the role of the parents?
Doctor Novozhilov: 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 their 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. 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 the Buteyko Breathing Method is the key to a child’s recovery.