Most of the time, people consider snoring to be a social issue since it causes disruption to roommates and bed partners. Snoring is not only an inconvenience that wakes up other people in the house. But if you are snoring, it could indicate a chronic condition that needs treatment.
In fact, an estimated 15% of people who snore regularly are living with obstructive sleep apnea. Snoring isn’t the only symptom or indication, which is why it’s important to consult with a specialist to see if treatment is needed.
If you are wondering whether snoring is an annoyance or a potential health issue, then it’s time to schedule an appointment with a local ear, nose, and throat specialist.
What Causes Snoring?
Why do some people sleep silently while others snore while they are sleeping? The truth is that many adults snore at some point in their lives, but some people experience this phenomenon more frequently.
When a snoring sound occurs, it means that there is a vibration when the air passes between the throat and nose. The vibration usually occurs in the back of the tongue or the soft palate.
During waking hours, this vibration doesn’t occur because muscle tone keeps the structures in place and stops them from falling to the back of the throat. But everything relaxes when you fall asleep, which causes the muscle tones to go away – so the tongue and/or palate collapse and vibrate together.
If snoring occurs, then it means that the airway is partially or fully collapsed. This narrowed breathing passage makes it a struggle to pull air through.
Snoring can be caused by temporary physical problems, such as having oversized tonsils or sinus issues due to a head cold. Lifestyle factors can also be involved, including too much alcohol consumption or using certain types of sedatives.
Or, there could be chronic issues contributing to snoring, such as a deviated septum, large tongue, or oversized uvula. Patients with body weight over the standard recommendations also have a higher risk of snoring.
Should You See an ENT for Snoring?
If you have been snoring consistently, it’s a good sign that you should talk to an ENT to rule out any serious conditions. Snoring not only makes you the butt of the joke but leaving the symptoms untreated could be causing problems with your overall health.
It never hurts to consult with a medical doctor when you are wondering about specific symptoms. Your ENT can assist in minimizing snoring so that you and your partner can sleep. Additionally, the testing and diagnostics will help to rule out serious health issues.
Is Snoring an Indication of Sleep Apnea?
When you are snoring, there is a possibility that the sounds could be a symptom of sleep apnea. In this situation, snoring is more than an inconvenience: it is also a health concern.
Sleep apnea is a serious medical issue, and you should seek treatment as soon as possible. If you snore, watch for these other signs and symptoms to see if sleep apnea might be the underlying cause.
- Irregular breathing while you are sleeping
- You unexpectedly stop breathing while sleeping
- The feeling of lethargy during the day, even after a long night’s sleep
- No obvious explanation for your fatigue
- Waking up choking or gasping
- Chest pain while sleeping
Sleep apnea takes a toll on your quality of life. When your breathing is hindered while you are sleeping, it means that you are lacking in airflow and oxygen. As a result, sleep apnea can lead to a variety of other health conditions.
Treatment Options to Stop Snoring
Do you want to stop snoring? Then you can talk to your ENT about both non-surgical and surgical treatment options. The specific treatment plan will vary depending on the severity of your symptoms, how long you have been snoring, and the underlying causes.
Often, snoring occurs because of multiple causes. So, you might need to make multiple lifestyle changes to achieve the desired results.
Our team of ENT specialists at Collin County Ear, Nose, and Throat always starts with the minimally-invasive options first. Then, if you don’t achieve results from these lifestyle changes, it might be time to discuss more invasive solutions, such as surgery.
These are some of the minimally-invasive lifestyle changes that might help to stop your snoring.
- Avoiding sedatives and alcohol before bed
- Weight loss to bring the body back into healthy ranges
- Smoking cessation
- Using nasal strips, a neti pot, or a hot shower to clear the sinuses before sleeping
- Changing body position while sleeping
Additionally, it’s important to treat the underlying causes. For example, if your snoring is related to allergies, the doctor might recommend using allergy medications. Taking these pills on a daily basis can keep your sinuses clear, which has a positive benefit in reducing the risk of snoring while you are asleep.
Surgical Interventions for Snoring
When physical issues cause snoring, then surgery might be the recommended treatment. These surgical interventions not only stop snoring, but they also help with other related symptoms and issues.
The goal is to open the airways by clearing any obstructions. If you have obstructions in the nasal passageways or sinuses, it could cause the noises you are making while sleeping.
Surgical recommendations might include a tonsillectomy if the tonsils are too big. Or, it might be necessary to correct a deviated septum. Another possible surgery to stop snoring involves hardening the palate in order to reduce the vibrations of the uvula and palate.
The good news is that most surgical treatments have high success rates and are quick to complete. Depending on the treatment, it might be as simple as an outpatient procedure followed by a few days of recovery at home.
Schedule an ENT Consultation to Discuss Treatment Options
If you are looking for a solution to stop snoring, then it’s time to book an appointment with an ENT. Our team is here to help people of all ages. We offer full-service treatments to help with any conditions affecting your ears, nose, and throat.
These services are available locally if you live in Collin County or Dallas. Collin County Ear, Nose, and Throat is an award-winning clinic with a team of specialists who are available to assist.