Snoring is noisy breathing during sleep that happens when tissue vibrates in the upper airway. It is a common problem that affects most people at some time during their lives.
During waking hours, the tissues in the throat and upper airway are open for easy air intake to the lungs. During sleep, the soft tissues and tongue relax, and can partially block the airway. If the air coming in and out of the airway meets enough resistance, vibration, or snoring, can occur.
If snoring is severe or is linked to sleep apea, a doctor may offer treatment.
Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP)
For people with moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea, treatment includes the delivery of pressurized air through a nasal or face mask.
Severe snoring may benefit from medical attention. If other remedies do not work, there are several surgical procedures that can help reduce snoring.
- Tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy: This is to remove enlarged tonsils and adenoids.
- Pillar procedure: A surgeon inserts small plastic implants in the soft palate to stiffen loose tissue.
- Septoplasty: This repairs a deviated nasal septum.
- Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP): This removes excess tissue from the soft palate and uvula.
- Somnoplasty: This procedure aims to stiffen flabby tissue by applying radiofrequency energy to the base of the tongue.
- Laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty (LAUP): A laser is used to shorten the uvula, which is the hanging soft tissue at the back of the throat. The laser also makes small cuts in the soft palate. As the cuts heal, the surrounding tissues stiffen to prevent the vibrations that trigger snoring.Surgery has a low success rate, and there are potential health risks, so it should only be considered as a last resort.
Snoring can be a sign of a serious medical condition, but it can also be embarrassing and disruptive to the individual, the sleep partner, and other members of the household.
Seeking treatment may be a step in the right direction toward overall good health.