I am not sure this question belongs in biology, but I can't find a more suitable stack exchange site, feel free to delete it if this doesn't fit here.

Also, this question is going to be slightly gross, just a warning, but I promise it comes to a point.

I have read that the adenoids have a texture to them but, unlike say the palatine tonsils, they don't have crypts.

Last year my palatine tonsils became fairly badly infected and had to be removed over the summer. Before the surgery, I discovered I could reach back to the tonsils with my tongue, enabling me to remove the tonsil stones that built up. Gross, I know, but I believe it actually did make the infection noticeably better. After the surgery, and after the area had healed, I resumed discovering the back of my throat and, eventually, up the nasal cavity, all the way to the back of the nasal septum, which means I can reach the Eustachian tubes, adenoids, and posterior nares. If that sounds impossible, I assure you, it is perfectly achievable, and only mildly uncomfortable. With my tongue I can feel the texture of the adenoids but, more toward the posterior nares, this texture changes and resembles folds or crypts like I remember the texture of the palatine tonsils. Three times, always in the morning after waking up, I have discovered debris in this region strongly resembling tonsil stones but green instead of off white. The mucus, however, is always clear.

My question has several parts:

  1. What are these crypts? Are they even crypts at all? Are they part of the adenoids?
  2. Why can I not find mention to these structures in any diagrams or medical articles?
  3. Why can I not find mention to tonsil stone like debris except in the palatine tonsils? I am quite convinced that, if these are not tonsil stones of a sort, they are closely related.

The proportions of diagrams and cross sections of the nasal cavity all seem wildly different. Some of them are just blatantly wrong, depicting, for example, the Eustachian tubes coming from the roof of the nasal cavity instead of the sides. It has been very difficult to find good information on any of this. I am not even sure if I am referring to the region correctly. By nasal cavity, I mean everything between the back of the throat and the posterior nares, although I am aware the nasal cavity includes the region all the way up to the anterior nares as well.

This is the only picture I can find that shows the nasal septum. Nasal Septum

This is a better diagram of the rest of the structures. The pharyngeal tonsils are the adenoids. Adenoids

  • $\begingroup$ I would say that this question is borderline to medical advice (which is not allowed at SE Biology), especially since it is so closely related to your personal experiences. Have you discussed this with your doctor? Either way, I think it would be useful if you could post a diagram of the pharynx and nasal cavity to make your question more clear. I would also consider rephrasing it to get the question more up-front and general, with less personal details. $\endgroup$ Jun 11, 2013 at 11:11
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Well I can't seem to separate out the personal details as it's kinda hard to explain to someone what you feel in your adenoids with you tongue without a back-story! I'm not looking for medical advice. I've already had a doctor look at my adenoids. He said everything was fine but I'm afraid there wasn't time to discuss the finer points of tonsil structure. I'm looking for a good explanation or reference to medical literature that doesn't completely suck like most seems to. I've only seen one cross section of the head that shows the back of the nasal septum! What an omission! $\endgroup$
    – Void Star
    Jun 11, 2013 at 20:57
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    $\begingroup$ @BigEndian: I've tried to cut out a sentence or two that was veering towards medical advice (the bit about the infection). Perhaps you might consider putting a disclaimer near the start of the question saying that you've made some anatomical discoveries because of a medical condition, and you'd like to know more (and you've been to a doctor already who said your anatomy was normal). It's not at all necessary to have a disclaimer but someone might vote to close before they manage to read your comment, and I think that would be a mistake. $\endgroup$
    – blep
    Jun 11, 2013 at 22:23

1 Answer 1


I'm impressed to stumble upon someone who can do that with his tongue. And mainly because I can do that myself!

Looking at the images and feeling with my tongue, this rugged area you mention is definitely too close to the nose to be the adenoids.

So I googled a bit (well, more like a lot) and I found this cool webpage which details that area. http://www.theodora.com/anatomy/the_pharynx.html and I found this snippet of text:

Above the pharyngeal tonsil, in the middle line, an irregular flask-shaped depression of the mucous membrane sometimes extends up as far as the basilar process of the occipital bone; it is known as the pharyngeal bursa.

I've found stones in my tonsils but never in my adenoids. What I've sometimes found was dried mucus adhered to it when waking up in the morning. I believe those stones might be rests of food (which can't really get up there). Maybe this green mucus you found was just dried mucus? Maybe a little infection on a particular day? I hope you get the answer, since it's passed a quite long time since you asked :)

  • $\begingroup$ Well that's a heck of a lot more than I could find. Thanks. $\endgroup$
    – Void Star
    Jan 11, 2014 at 2:20

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