Snoring is one of the common issues affecting millions of people worldwide, but most cases are not life-threatening. It occurs when the muscles in your throat relax and narrow during sleep, causing airflow to be obstructed or interrupted, resulting in snoring sounds. The noise often comes from your nose because it vibrates as you try to breathe around the obstruction. Thankfully, there are several treatments available for snoring that range from lifestyle changes to medical interventions. This article will discuss how snoring can be treated depending on severity levels and symptoms.
What conditions are associated with snoring?
Snoring can be a symptom of many conditions, including enlarged adenoids, nasal congestion, sleep apnea, tonsil stones, sinusitis, and more. It's essential to have your doctor diagnose the underlying condition that may be causing your snoring.
（Quick Link: The Causes Of Snoring）
What tests will my doctor do if I have problems with snoring?
There are several tests that your doctor will do if you have problems with snoring. Your doctor may order the following;
- Imaging test:
Imaging tests like X-ray scans can help doctors identify the cause of a person's snoring problem. For example, they can identify a structural abnormality in the airways, such as a deviated septum or tonsils blocking the throat and causing obstruction during sleep, leading to loud snoring and breathing difficulties. A doctor might also want to assess the severity of any obstructive sleep apnea symptoms.
- Computerized tomography scan:
Computerized tomography scans (also known as CT) can help doctors diagnose any structural problem in your throat and nose. During a CT scan, you will lie on a table that slides into a tunnel-shaped scanner. You will be asked to take a few deep breaths and hold your breath for several seconds to allow time for several pictures of your chest and throat to be taken from different angles.
- Magnetic resonance imaging:
Magnetic resonance imaging (also known as MRI) can also be used to look for any physical abnormality in your airways that might be causing your snoring. An MRI uses powerful magnets and radio waves to produce detailed images of your body's internal organs. It does not use radiation, so it is safe for pregnant women.
There are four snoring levels
- Mild, which is A low-frequency single burst of sound or syllable snore.
- Moderate or Duplex sounds characterized by low and middle frequencies.
- Moderate or duplex sound with low and high frequencies.
- Severe or Triplex sounds with middle, low, and high frequencies. The treatment of these snoring levels varies significantly.
Treatment for mild snoring might be as simple as changing sleep position or wearing a night splint that holds the tongue forward to open up the airway. The treatment for moderate or duplex snores will most likely involve surgery to remove excess tissue in the throat. As for severe or triplex, surgical procedures to remove excess tissue in the throat, tonsillectomy, and adenoidectomy will be needed.
Here's a quick overview of these treatment methods:
- Oral appliances:
This device works by moving the lower jaw slightly forward and stabilizing it so that the tongue can't fall back into the throat. They work well for people who only have one type of snore but not so well for those who have different types. They also can't be used when you have dentures because they won't fit properly over them. They don't work for people with breathing difficulties and may worsen obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) if it was previously diagnosed. And while they're designed to move your lower jaw forward, they can still cause TMJ (temporomandibular joint) problems like soreness and clicking.
- Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP):
For people with mild to moderate sleep apnea, a CPAP machine can be effective at reducing or eliminating snoring. Your doctor will determine if you're a good candidate for CPAP by running a sleep test and ruling out other sleep disorders. Some of these include OSA and restless leg syndrome, which are also characterized by loud snoring. If there are more than two symptoms, doctors should do an evaluation.
- Upper airway surgery:
Tonsillectomy, adenoidectomy, and uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) are used for patients with moderate to severe sleep apnea. UPPP surgery involves a combination of removing tissue from both your tonsils and soft palate. OSA, in which excess tissue causes obstruction, can also be treated by reducing or removing excess tissue in your mouth, throat, and nose through a series of operations.
Other treatment options: Treatment of snoring also includes changes in lifestyle habits, such as quitting smoking, weight loss, and avoiding alcohol consumption before bedtime. What follows is information about what you need to know before going under the knife. After surgery, follow up with your doctor regularly and maintain a healthy lifestyle to avoid getting another episode of snoring.
Snoring may indicate an underlying health problem, so if you think you or your loved one may have another condition causing the noise, talk to your doctor. The following are some precautions you need to take if you're on the journey of treating and fixing your snoring.
- Avoid sedatives before bedtime as they make it more difficult for people with sleep apnea to breathe well when sleeping.
- Sleep on your side instead of your back. If this doesn't work, try elevating the head end of your bed 6-8 inches (or two pillows). It's also helpful to place a tennis ball between a mattress and box spring to create space between the neck and lower spine while lying down.
- Using nasal strips can help prevent snoring from occurring by applying pressure that keeps the nostrils open during sleep. They come in various sizes and can easily be purchased over-the-counter at drugstores or online.
- - Using a CPAP machine may fix breathing problems caused by obstructive sleep apnea, but there can be discomfort associated with wearing it all night long.
- - Stop smoking and taking alcohol before bedtime because these substances cause inflammation and interfere with quality sleep.
- - Maintain your weight. Being overweight makes you more likely to snore due to having excess tissue in your throat and mouth, which restricts airflow. Lose weight gradually through dieting and exercise.
The Bottom Line
In a nutshell, snoring is a widespread problem and a disorder. The snoring treatment depends on the severity of your snoring and other symptoms. Just see your doctor for more information about the tests you need and how to treat or fix your snoring, depending on the severity of it.