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Snoring: Treatment, Procedure, Cost and Side Effects

Last Updated: May 11, 2022

What is the treatment?

The vibration of the respiratory structures and the resulting sound caused due to the obstruction in air movement during breathing while sleeping is called snoring. Snoring can be soft or loud and unpleasant. The main cause for snoring is the physical obstruction of the air flow through the nose and mouth.

Although snoring is a very common condition, many people think that it’s a condition that cannot be treated or will get treated on its own. However, there are a number of treatments for snoring depending on your condition and sleeping pattern. Decongestants are the most common medicine available in the market. Another common treatment is using nasal strips or external nasal dilator. A deviated septum, both natural and caused by injury, can also cause snoring. Surgery can be performed to correct the misalignment of the wall to treat this condition. You can also use oral appliances called dental mouthpiece which helps in keeping your air passage open. CPAP or continuous positive airway pressure machine is a pressurized mask that is also used to keep your airway open during sleep. Palatal implants and radio frequency tissue ablation (somnoplasty) are also used in some very rare cases. UPPP or uvulaplatopharyngoplasty that can also be laser assisted (LAUPPP) is a type of surgery that is also used to reduce snoring.

Is snoring bad for your heart?

Snoring sounds to be normal, but severe snoring often indicates obstructive sleep apnea in the individual. It serves as a predisposing factor and increases risks for certain cardiovascular health problems such as stroke, hypertension, heart attack, heart failure, obesity, etc.

In people who snore, chemicals released for breathing often fail to work. It results in a drop in oxygen levels in the body. This causes a surge in the release of hormones such as cortisone, adrenaline, etc. which contributes to cardiovascular health issues.

Summary: Snoring is common and may be associated with the occurrence of cardiovascular health problems such as heart attack, heart failure, hypertension, etc. Hence, it should not be ignored.

What are the symptoms of Snoring?

Snoring is accompanied by harsh sounds resulting from the passing of the air through the relaxed tissues of the throat. It causes tissues to vibrate while breathing. It can be chronic and associated with certain underlying health issues.

Snoring symptoms mainly include:

  • Headaches, especially in the morning
  • Lack of concentration
  • Restlessness while sleeping
  • Sleepiness during daytime
  • Hypertension
  • Pain in the chest
  • Paused breathing while sleeping
  • Behavioral issues or poor performance in children
Summary: Snoring may be normal in some cases, but there are certain symptoms associated with it that should not be ignored. Chest pain, paused breathing, restless sleep, lack of concentration, etc. are some of the serious snoring signs and symptoms that need medical consultation.

What causes Snoring?

Snoring causes may include a number of factors that affect our respiratory pathway. Some of the important conditions that contribute to snoring include:

  • Anatomy of the mouth: A unique mouth anatomy such as the presence of a thick and low soft palate and elongated uvula or soft palate can make our airway narrower. This results in obstruction in the airflow.
  • Consumption of alcohol: Taking an excessive amount of alcohol, especially before bedtime, can increase the risk of snoring.
  • Insufficient sleep: Lack of sleep or insufficient sleep duration can also be a contributing factor to snoring.
  • Wrong sleeping position: Sleeping on the back is not good in case of snoring.
  • Obstruction in the nasal passage: Nasal congestion when occurs on a chronic basis, contributes to snoring.
Summary: Snoring is associated with the narrowing of the respiratory pathway and can be caused commonly due to some factors. Common snoring reasons include inappropriate sleep position, abnormal mouth anatomy, insufficient sleep, etc.

How is Snoring diagnosed?

Snoring is not a serious concern always, but in certain cases, it might indicate signs of sleep disorders like obstructive sleep apnea. These can increase the risks of cardiovascular diseases, thus it is important to undergo a proper diagnosis and treatment of the condition.

Steps involved in the diagnosis include:

  • Detailed examination by the doctor: This includes a physical examination of the patient. The patient is also asked a few questions about frequency or volume of snoring, sleeping positions, symptoms such as lack of concentration or weakened memory, etc.

    Any history of paused breathing is also important to be explained to the doctor.

  • Examination by ENT specialist: Ear, nose, and throat specialists should do a proper examination of the throat, neck, and nose to check for any abnormality.
  • Asleep study or diagnostic tests: Specific tests or sleep studies may be performed the confirmation the condition.
Summary: Early and timely diagnosis is important for snoring treatment as the condition may be associated with serious sleep disorders as well as cardiovascular complications.

How is the treatment done?

Decongestants are the most common and the first line of defense against snoring. It comes in both liquid and tablet which can be use as drop or can be taken orally. Nasal strip or external nasal dilators are adhesive bandages that are applied on top of the nose across the nostrils to increase the space in nasal passage. A simple surgery can help correct the deviated septum to treat the condition. Oral appliances or dental mouthpiece are also made according to the face structure that helps in keeping your air passage open. CPAP are pressurized masks that you can wear over your nose while sleeping. CPAP helps in keeping your airway open and is most often used to treat obstructive sleep apnea. Wearing palatal implants also called the pillar procedure are done by injecting braided strands of polyester filament into the soft palate of your mouth which stiffens and reduce snoring. Somnoplasty is done to reduce the tissue on your soft palate by using low intensity radio waves. UPPP is a surgery that is done to tighten your throat tissue which in turn reduces snoring. UPPP or uvulaplatopharyngoplasty can also be done by laser. The laser assisted uvulaplatopharyngoplasty is called LAUPPP.

Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)

Snoring is very common condition and can develop at any age due to a number of reasons. If you are experiencing loud and unpleasant snoring everyday then you must consult a doctor for treatment. Although snoring is treated as a minor condition but it can lead to other serious health issues such as obstructive sleep apnea or OSA.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

If your snoring is not persistent and is due to some underlying condition such as allergies then you are not eligible to take medications for snoring. Excessive workload, alchohol, smoking and sleep inducing pills can also cause snoring but temporarily.

What position is best to stop snoring?

Snoring is closely related to sleeping positions as an inappropriate sleeping position is one of the important snoring reasons. Sleeping on the back is not good. It may cause narrowing of the respiratory pathway due to the effect of gravity.

It is more likely to cause snoring and related consequences like sleep apnea. Side sleeping is considered to be the best position for snoring prevention as it minimizes compression of the airways.

Summary: Sleeping position is considered one of the common snoring reasons. The right position for sleeping should be preferred. Side sleeping is good to prevent such conditions.

Can Snoring go away on its own?

If snoring is caused due to any temporary factor such as a cold or allergy, it gets resolved spontaneously with time. However, when snoring is chronic, long-term obstruction of the respiratory airways is the main factor involved.

Obstruction may be caused due to abnormal mouth anatomy, inappropriate sleeping positions, obesity, etc. In such cases, snoring will not be resolved without treatment under medical supervision.

Summary: Snoring can be resolved on its own when it is caused due to temporary factors like cold, allergies, etc. But when long-term obstruction of the airways is involved, it becomes chronic and needs medical treatment.

Are there any side effects?

Decongestants used to cure snoring has almost no side effects. As for other mode of treatment such as dental mouthpiece, nasal dilator and CPAP that does not involve surgery are also very safe and have no possible side effects. As for surgical procedure such as somnoplasty, palatal implants, UPPP and LAUPPP there are some possible side effects that last for some days. Some of the most common side effects are bleeding from the surgical site, difficulty in swallowing, talking and breathing, uneasiness in mouth and affected area, sore throat and itchiness. These side effects don’t last for more than a couple of weeks.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

The post treatment guidelines remains the same as for any surgical procedure. You should have total and complete rest along with a balanced and healthy diet. Along with that you should also avoid dust, talking for a long time, eating boiled foods and sleeping while keeping your head in an elevated position.

How long does it take to recover?

It totally depends on your condition and the mode of treatment. Some minor surgeries will only take a day before you are back to normal. While some complicated conditions and surgeries can take 2 to 3 months to recover. In some very extreme cases, the recovery time can also go up to 6 months.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

The price of treatment in India depends on various factors such as your condition, your mode of treatment and the place you are living in. Medicines start at INR 100 and can go up to INR 400. As for complicated surgeries, I can range anywhere between INR 200000 to INR 400000.

What to eat in Snoring?

Snoring is not a disease but one of the consequences of some serious health issues like obstructive sleep apnea, obesity, cardiovascular diseases, etc. Certain food items are there which help to recover from such conditions. Some of them include:

  • Soy milk: Soy milk is preferred in people with lactose intolerance as cow’s milk aggravates nasal congestion.
  • Onion: Onions are rich in anti-inflammatory as well as natural decongestant properties which effectively help to treat snoring.
  • Peppermint: It is rich in antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties, thus reducing swelling in the nasal passage.
  • Honey: is anti-inflammatory in nature.
  • Fishes: Being rich in good fatty acids, it helps to reduce inflammation in the respiratory pathways.
  • Turmeric: It helps to minimize inflammation in the throat.
Summary: Snoring can be treated by incorporating certain food items into the diet. These foods are rich in anti-inflammatory as well as decongestant properties which can provide relief from obstruction in the respiratory airways.

What not to eat in Snoring?

There are certain food items that aggravate conditions like snoring. Some of them can loosen the throat muscles while some can trigger inflammation and stimulate mucus production. Such foods can worsen the condition and need to be avoided strictly.

Food items to be avoided in case of snoring include:

  • Wheat
  • Sugar
  • Meat
  • Dairy products
  • Alcohol
Summary: Food items that trigger inflammation in the respiratory airways and stimulate mucus production should be avoided in case of snoring. These can worsen the condition, leading to serious sleep disorders.

When should I see a doctor about snoring?

At certain times, snoring can be a serious health issue. One should not ignore such conditions and undergo medical consultation and treatment. Some serious symptoms may include:

  • Disturbed breathing while sleeping.
  • Sleepiness during daytime.
  • Restlessness while sleeping.
  • Disturbed levels of concentration.
  • Loss of memory.
  • Gaining weight abnormally.
Summary: Snoring is normal. But it may be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea in some conditions. One should undergo medical consultation and treatment without ignoring such conditions.

What kind of doctor should I see for snoring?

Snoring is normal while it may be related to obstructive sleep apnea in some cases. A proper diagnosis, followed by appropriate treatment is necessary for such conditions. One should consult a respiratory medicine specialist or Pulmonologist for the treatment of snoring.

An ear, nose, and throat specialist i.e Otolaryngologist is also involved in the diagnosis for a proper and detailed examination of the throat, neck, and mouth of the patient.

Summary: Snoring should be treated under the supervision of a Pulmonologist or respiratory medicine specialist. Consultation with an ear, nose, and throat specialist is also important.

Does honey stop snoring?

Although snoring is common, it can be an indication of some serious underlying health conditions such as heart diseases. It may also be responsible for causing insomnia, irritability, and disturbed sleep cycles. There are certain natural ways to stop snoring.

Honey is considered to be an effective home remedy that helps to stop snoring naturally. It is rich in anti-inflammatory properties. It helps to ease the obstruction in the respiratory pathway. It also serves as one of the best medicines for snoring by lubricating the throat and breathing passage.

Summary: Taking honey is one of the common ways to prevent snoring as it helps to reduce the obstruction and swelling in the respiratory pathway. It also helps the lubrication of the throat.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

The result of the treatment are mostly permanent. However in some cases there are chances of the condition developing again.

What are the mouth and throat exercises to help stop Snoring?

Snoring may be caused due to an abnormality in the mouth anatomy such as poor positioning of the tongue, loose airways muscles, and mouth breathing while sleeping.

Exercises are the best ways to prevent snoring as they tone the muscles of the airways as well as facilitate nose breathing. Some of them are:

  • Exercises for the tongue: Tongue slide, tongue push up, and tongue push down are some of the exercises for the tongue.
  • Face exercises: These exercises mainly include cheek hooks.
  • Exercises for practicing nose breathing
Summary: Exercises are important during the treatment of snoring. They help to tone up the muscles of the tongue and airways and also facilitate nose breathing to prevent conditions like snoring.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

Homeopathy had several medications that can be used as an alternative for treating snoring. Some of the most common homeopathic medicines are Opium, Lemma minor, China, Kali sulph and nux vomica. Ayurvedic or herbal treatment can also be used for treating snoring. Some of the most effective herbal medications are ginger, honey, amla, wild yam and lemon.

Which is the best medicine for Snoring?

Snoring can be treated in certain ways such as sleep study, application of oral appliances, upper airway surgery, lifestyle changes, home remedies, etc. However, there are certain medicines for snoring that can be used as a more effective way of treatment.

Important medicines to stop snoring mainly include:

  • Antihistamines - This helps to reduce nasal congestion, thus alleviating snoring-like conditions.
  • Anti-muscle relaxants
Summary: Certain medicines including antihistamines and anti-muscle relaxants are preferred during the treatment of snoring. These medicines are more effective than other remedies and therapies.

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Written ByDr. Mool Chand GuptaMD - Pulmonary,MD PULMONARY,DTCDPulmonology
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