Occasional snoring is usually not problematic, but if your snoring is habitual or affecting your day-to-day functioning it’s important to figure out the cause.
While you or your partner may be able to diagnose your snoring at home, it’s important to visit an ENT (ear nose and throat doctor) or primary care physician to figure out why you, specifically, are snoring. Most often, snoring affects men, people who are overweight, and those who sleep on their back. It tends to worsen with age. For others, snoring is frequently caused by:
1. Mouth Anatomy
Some individuals are genetically predisposed to snoring, including those who have low, thick soft palates; large tonsils or adenoids; or elongated uvulas. These conditions can cause airway obstructions or narrowed airways, resulting in increased snoring. A soft palate tightening surgery like UPPP (short for Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty) can easily correct the problem.
2. Nasal Obstructions
Chronic nasal congestion, a sinus infection, or seasonal allergies may be the cause of your snoring. Additionally, nasal deformities like a deviated septum or nasal polyps may contribute. Marvel Clinic offers a variety of minimally invasive surgeries to help correct these issues: Endoscopic Septoplasty, which helps correct septal deviation; Balloon Sinuplasty, which reshapes the sinus passages; and Turbinate Reduction, which shrinks swollen turbinates (found inside the nose) that can cause pressure, congestion, and breathing difficulties.
3. Alcohol Consumption
Alcohol relaxes the muscles in the throat, which weakens your body’s natural defense against airway obstruction. Consuming too much alcohol too close to bedtime can be a major cause of snoring. The effects of smoking over a long period of time can also cause similar problems.
4. Weight Gain
Weight gain means extra and more bulky tissue in the throat, which narrows your airway and increases the tissue vibration that causes snoring.
5. Certain Medications
Some sleeping pills and/or muscle relaxers can have much the same effect as alcohol, which causes the throat and tongue muscles to become too relaxed, allowing them to fall back into the airway and make snoring easier.
Whether your snoring is caused by a genetic abnormality or a habit, there is usually an easy fix. Snoring is associated with a variety of health problems, many severe, so it’s important to have even minor snoring assessed by a healthcare professional. For more information on sinus health or to schedule a consultation, call Marvel at 1-931-455-2005.