Snoring is a common condition that can affect anyone, although it occurs more often in men and unfortunately worsens with age. Research reveals that twenty percent of men snore at the age of twenty and approximately sixty percent of men snore at the age of sixty.
An unpleasant situation occurs when the snoring problem becomes so excessive that your sleeping partner is constantly disturbed when trying to sleep. It is usually at this stage that both sufferer and sleeping partner will be impacted by poor quality sleep patterns. Medical assistance is often needed for habitual snorers and their loved ones in order to get a good night’s rest.
Snoring usually occurs when the flow of air through the mouth and nose is physically obstructed. This can be caused by factors such as: obstructed nasal air passages, poor muscle tone in the throat and tongue, bulky throat tissue or a long soft palate at the back of the mouth that can narrow the opening from the nose to the throat.
Lifestyle is also a contributing factor. The consumption of alcohol at night and the use of drugs such as marijuana will suppress your respiratory drive and put you into a deeper sleep which will cause your snoring to increase. A person generally snores more excessively when they are very tired.
The good news is that all of the above factors are reversible by simply making a few adjustments to your lifestyle. However, there are certain causes of snoring that can be assisted by judicious surgery only. Difficulties usually arise in three areas: the nose and sinuses, the nasopharynx and throat, and the oral cavity and oropharynx.
The ENT (ear, nose and throat) surgeon has unique expertise in identifying snoring concerns and can recommend a suitable treatment for snoring.
Nasal and sinus concerns are usually addressed first. Thereafter advice regarding a lifestyle change is given and nasal sprays are recommended. If medical therapy does not initially work, a further analysis is undertaken to determine whether possible surgical treatment for snoring is required. This could include the management of a deviated nasal septum or nasal polyps.
The nasopharynx and throat may also require surgery, typically in the form of the removal of adenoids and possibly tonsils.
Concerns related to the oral cavity and oropharynx are dealt with in a variety of ways:
- surgery to the palate under local anaesthetic making use of a laser
- surgery to the palate and uvula under general anaesthetic
- Oral prostheses utilized to keep the tongue forward while sleeping
Depending on your particular concern, the above remedies for snoring are presented after which you will be guided with regards to your treatment options.