Snoring can be a very troublesome complaint. A bed partner kept awake by a snorer night after night suffers sleep deprivation, restless sleep and daytime tiredness.

Noisy nocturnal breathing may also be more than just an annoyance to a bed partner, but can also cause significant health problems to the snorer.

Snoring may be the only sign of sleep apnoea which is well known to have other serious health side effects. When someone snores it generally means they have an airway narrowing or obstruction. Hence the fluttering of the palate or other areas of the airway when you sleep as your breathing is drawn through a narrowed  oropharynx or nose.

The causes for snoring or airway narrowing are individual and often numerous.

A blocked nose , nasal allergy, polyps, large tonsills ,adenoids and obesity are all causes of snoring.

Diagnosis

A thorough upper airways examination is essential to diagnosing the causes of snoring, sleep apnoea and sleep disordered breathing.

This is usually performed in the rooms after a thorough history is taken and the results discussed with the patient and family immediately.

Treatment

Treatment is then discussed centred  around improving the individual causes of a narrowed or collapsing airway.

Improving the nasal airway is often discussed which may involve medical or surgical treatment .

Surgical improvement to the nasal airway often involves a septoplasty or septorhinoplasty with or without turbinate surgery.

Sometimes tonsillectomy and or adenoidectomy is required – this can be combined with palatoplasty in selected cases.

At Southern ENT our practice is to perform staged surgery  assessing the improvement after each operation to minimise potential complications.

Some patients unsuitable for surgery  are refered for CPAP mask treatment.

If a  CPAP mask cannot be used due to nasal obstruction a septoplasty may be performed first to enable the mask to be used.

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