Snoring is a common problem, it is believed that around 20% of adult males habitually snore. Snoring can cause major sleep disruption as well as making things more difficult within a relationship as your partner may not get regular sleep.
Why do we Snore?
Snoring occurs for a variety of reasons resulting in turbulent airflow through the upper airway (mouth & nose), causing vibrations in your nose/throat. The most common reasons for snoring are
- A congested nose: allergies & cigarette smoking causing you to breathe through your mouth
- Nasal polyps
- Bent Nasal cartilage
- Large Tonsils
- Excess weight bearing down on your throat
- Over-relaxed muscles due to alcohol/sedatives
Who suffers from Snoring?
Snoring can occur for a number of reasons, the most common being a lack of exercise and a rich diet. Men are more likely to snore, as are those who smoke and drink. Snoring might not merely be a by-product of certain lifestyle choices, but can also indicate larger health problems such as hypothyroidism or sleep apnoea.
How is Snoring treated?
At the Sleeping Disorders Centre you will undergo a series of tests and assessments before the most suitable form of treatment is recommended.
Changing your Lifestyle
It may be possible to use specially fitted guards to wear at night that prevent your jaw from falling backwards, so keeping your airways clearer. These can be bought over the counter but it is much better to get these specially fitted by a qualified specialist dentist . Mouth-guards can be a good solution to your snoring problem.
Some snoring is due to low amounts of the thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism). This can be determined by taking some blood samples. If this is the case then you will need to take daily doses of thyroxine to stop the snoring.
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
It is not known precisely how snoring and hormones are linked, but during research breathing problems have a direct link to hormone imbalances. This would indicate that a hormone imbalance can also be a reason for your snoring. Hormone Replacement Therapy can rectify this, especially in post-menopausal women with mild cases of snoring or sleep apnoea. HRT generally does not work for male sufferers with hormone imbalances.
Nasal sprays are available on prescription if it is thought that a blocked nose is the main reason for your snoring or can be bought over the counter from many chemists. The sprays basically act as a decongestant so that while you sleep you do not revert to using your mouth to breathe. You can also buy sprays for the throat. These keep your soft tissues moist so allowing the vibrations of your snoring to be lessened, and as a result, become less noisy. The benefits tend to be limited except for nasal steroids.
Surgery for Snoring
There are many options if surgery is deemed the best answer to your snoring problem. These procedures will alter the state of your upper airway through surgical means. This can include having your tonsils or adenoids removed, stiffening certain parts of your soft tissues or having small areas of your soft tissue removed. The end result is that your airway is kept clearer, so allowing you greater ease when breathing. Surgery is thoroughly discussed with your surgeon and should only be seriously considered when other options have been tried but have failed.