Snoring is caused by an obstruction that interferes with the free passage of air through the airways. This obstruction may be in the throat or the nasal passages. There are a number of treatments that can address the causes of snoring and lead to a permanent solution.
Just as with obstructive sleep apnea, conservative treatment options are recommended. These include:
- Weight loss
- Positional therapy – sleep on your side
- Treat allergies, including use of a nasal steroid spray
- Mandibular Advancement Appliance
- Nasal strips or internal nose splint
- Elevate the head of your bed 4 to 6 inches
The soft palate of the mouth may be large or redundant. In this case, it can interfere with air flow and produce snoring. This condition can be improved.
One technique are radiofrequency treatments performed as outpatient procedures. You are given a local anesthetic, and a small radiofrequency probe is positioned to deliver a flow of energy to the tissue of the palate. This energy causes shrinkage and scarring of the tissue, which, over time, will reduce the size of the palate. Radiofrequency treatments are usually repeated over several visits to maximize the effectiveness of the procedure. Sometimes a small amount of the lining of the palate is removed or an agent that causes scarring and shrinkage of the soft tissue is injected.
A second cause of snoring is when the uvula is enlarged and protrudes into the airway. This condition often produces multiple symptoms, including difficulty in swallowing and general irritation of the throat.
An enlarged uvula may be partially removed, improving snoring and any other related symptoms. This procedure is called a uvulectomy. Depending on the patient’s individual circumstances, the uvulectomy may be performed using either general or local anesthetic.
Sometimes snoring is not caused solely by an obstruction in the throat but is made worse by obstruction of the nasal passages. There are structures in the nasal cavity called nasal turbinates, and they can become enlarged, blocking the airway.
There are multiple methods that can be used to reduce the size of nasal turbinates. Radiofrequency treatments can be used to shrink the tissue, leaving a more open airway. These treatments may be performed with a local anesthetic as an outpatient procedure or under general anesthetic in a hospital, depending upon the individual patient.
Another method that can be used to open the nasal passages is microdebriding. This technique uses a device called a microdebrider to precisely target and remove the tissue of the nasal turbinates.