Snoring/Upper airway Resistance Syndrome (UARS)
In the living of our daily lives, few health conditions are as universally loathed, yet generally curable as snoring. However, because most individuals who snore do not feel they “suffer” from doing so, many do not seek treatment when needed.
At Tejas Ear, Nose and Throat, we’re well-versed in dealing with snoring and other sleep-related issues. Our professionals are knowledgeable and ready to help you (or those around you) sleep soundly.
Causes of snoring
The main source of snoring is a vibration of the uvula and soft palate at the top of the throat. When we sleep, the throat and jaw relax in such a way that they lose the natural tension of position they have when we are awake.
Causes of snoring include:
- Sinus infection
- Deviated septum
- Thick throat tissue
- Too much soft tissue in the neck
- Tonsils and adenoids (primarily children)
Additionally, there are medical conditions that contribute to snoring, including:
- Frequent sore throats
- Nasal drainage and congestion
- Itchy, watery eyes and sneezing
- Frequent fatigue and drowsiness
- Nose bleeds
- Mouth breathing
If you have any of these symptoms, particularly if they are chronic, it is crucial to seek the help of an ENT doctor to be tested and receive a treatment plan if necessary.
Snoring and sleep apnea
One of the serious causes of snoring is sleep apnea, in which the person periodically stops breathing during sleep for about 10 seconds because the airway collapses. This causes strain on the heart and can lead to other health problems. Sleep apnea is commonly treated using a breathing machine (called CPAP, for continuous positive airway pressure) that pressurizes the airway so it does not collapse.
Some simple solutions for snoring take care of the problem, or at the very least, mitigate it greatly. For those who tend to sleep on their back, try training yourself to sleep on your side and elevate your head with another pillow. This changes the angle of the back of the throat.
Regular exercise and regular sleep times also help. Also, studies show avoiding sleep aids, alcohol and smoking can greatly decrease your snoring.
Surgery can help
In more severe cases, surgery may be recommended. Two procedures that help snoring have had great success: Pillar Procedure and genioglossus/hyoid advancement. The Pillar Procedure involves implanting plastic rods in the soft tissue at the soft palate. It is done with local anesthesia in one visit to the ENT. The procedure helps both snoring and sleep apnea.
Genioglossus advancement is a general anesthesia surgery for obstructive sleep apnea. It involves moving the largest anchor of the tongue muscle forward in the mouth. The procedure makes the breathing airway larger and prevents collapse of the airway in sleep.
Snoring is a problem with many causes and many cures. Not every solution is right for everyone. Contact Tejas Ear, Nose and Throat today about breathing and sleep problems. We want your rest to be safe and sound!