usually something that is
nothing to worry about.
Occasional snoring is usually something that is nothing to worry about.
However, frequent and loud snores can get in the way of your relationship and life, in general. Snoring is often dismissed as a common sleep issue but beyond worrying about the state of your relationship, you need to think about your own health, too.
Snoring solutions are widely available these days. From oral devices to surgery and other treatments, medical experts recommend a solution based on the extent of the snoring problem and the accompanying symptoms.
Before you look at the possible treatment options for snoring, it is recommended that you see an expert first. They will be able to assess your symptoms and if there are any other medical conditions that it could be a symptom of.
This is an important step – ruling out more serious cases – because you want to be able to use the right treatment approach.
Understanding the Cause of Snoring
Snoring can be caused by many different things. In most cases, your doctor will recommend lifestyle changes first, such as:
- Treating nasal congestion
- Losing weight
- Avoiding alcohol before bedtime
- Sleeping on your side
- Avoiding sleep deprivation
If you have identified the cause of snoring, below are some of the treatment options currently available for snorers.
Over-the-counter remedies (OTC) are good for mild to moderate cases of snoring. Doctors may recommend OTCs to help lessen snoring, such as the following:
- Oral appliances – These can be over-the-counter and self-fitted or done professionally. The oral devices can also be administered by an ENT (ear, nose, and throat) physician, otolaryngologist, or even a dentist. Though oral appliances usually work, they can be uncomfortable and could take a while to get used to.
- Nasal resistance valves – Provent and Theravent are the two most common OTCs of this kind. They help alleviate snoring by adding resistance in the breathing out process of the nose, making pressure in and behind the nose. These are single-use snoring solutions, though, and need a new valve for nightly use.
- Nasal dilator strips – These strips work by expanding the nasal valve. Also, wearing a chin strap to keep the mouth closed is a common solution in many cases.
- Positioning “bumper” devices – For people who sleep primarily on their back, positioning such as vests, shirts, and air-filled or foam filled belts can help. There are also electronic necklaces or belts that detect when you’re sleeping on your back and vibrate gently to remind you to sleep on your side. Using wedge pillows can also reduce snoring by elevating the head.
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure or CPAP is a device that works by ventilator. CPAP therapy involves wearing a mask over your mouth and nose while you sleep. The device pumps mild air pressure continuously, keeping your airways open throughout your sleep. This approach eliminates snoring and is often used for treating people suffering from Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) and other breathing problems. It’s also used for preterm infants whose lungs have yet to develop fully.
Though this is a viable and effective treatment, many find the mask uncomfortable, or bothered by the noise of the machine.
There are many procedures that can open the upper airways and keep it from narrowing during sleep using different techniques. Different cases may require different types of surgical treatments and their effectiveness can also vary.
Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty or (UPPP) is one example. This surgery requires general anesthetics and works by tightening and trimming the excess tissue around the throat (like a face-lift for the throat).
Maxillomandibular Advancement (MMA) is another upper airway surgery for treating snoring. It opens the airways by moving the upper and lower jaws forward.
Radiofrequency Tissue Ablation is another surgical treatment used for treating snoring. It shrinks tissues around the soft palate, tongue, and/or nose using low-intensity radiofrequency signals.
Hypoglossal Nerve Stimulation is quite a new treatment method, which works by applying a stimulus to the nerve that controls the tongue’s forward movement. This will keep the tongue from blocking the airways when breathing.
Your doctor will assess the extent of your snoring problem and the cause to choose which type of surgical procedure to undergo.
Laser Snoring Treatments
Some uvulopalatoplasty involves the use of lasers (laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty). Laser surgical treatment requires local anesthetic (sedated to unwanted issues such as gagging or incontinence). It works by correcting the anatomic cause of snoring. It trims the uvula and the soft palate. They can be done at the doctor’s office, with the patient fully awake on a chair.
On average, the procedure takes less than an hour, including the pre-operative preparation. Depending on your case, a complete laser surgical treatment can take one to three sessions. Each session is done four weeks apart. You can expect significant reduction in your snoring after just one session. About 85% of patients report that this procedure definitely helped their problem.
The good thing about laser treatment is that you can fully get back to your daily routine after the procedure. You can also speak or eat without any issues. Some patients may experience sore throat, which may require medications to alleviate the discomfort.
However, it’s important to note that a laser treatment is not a cure-all for snoring. For patients with sleep apnea, it can reduce the intensity of their snoring up to 70%, but it doesn’t eliminate all the snoring or cure obstructive sleep apnea for good.
is a great way to have your symptoms
assessed by a professional.
See a Sleep Specialist
Snoring is a pretty common condition. However, if it becomes bothersome for you (and those around you), or if it’s accompanied with symptoms that suggest sleep apnea, then it’s best to speak with your sleep specialist. They are the only ones who can provide you with the right diagnosis and snoring solutions to get the quality sleep you deserve.
The use of a sleep clinic, in particular, is a great way to have your symptoms assessed by a professional. It will give them accurate information to determine the cause of snoring and the most effective way to combat it.
The aforementioned solutions are designed to address the specific causes and symptoms. Make sure that they are recommended by your doctor or else the problem will persist if you do not treat the cause.