Do you suffer from excessive snoring? It can be much more of a problem than people realize. Snoring can put a strain on your relationships, and is a major contributor to marital arguments. It can also lead to disturbed sleep or be a symptom of sleep apnea. Disturbed sleep can have a significant impact on your overall health, and increases your chances of suffering from conditions such as heart disease and depression. If you’re looking for a solution to a snoring problem, here are 5 possible treatments.
Some people choose to use oral appliances to control their snoring. These appliances are made of plastic or acrylic and look like a mouth guard used in contact sports. They work by forcing the lower mandible forward, thus reducing the chance of oral soft tissues collapsing and then obstructing the airways. These can be effective, but they can bring unpleasant side effects such as facial and jaw pain, and excessive salivating. For this reason they should only be used under the direction of a medical practitioner.
Septal Deviation Treatment
The septum is the cartilage that runs down the miple of the nose and separates the 2 sides. When there is a nasal source to a patient’s snoring, surgical correction may help. Septoplasty may open up the airway to increase smooth airflow and decrease the turbulence that leads to snoring. Not all snoring has a nasal source, so this should be specifically discussed with your physician prior to surgery. Also, although patients will often feel well rested and report a better sleep after nasal surgery, septoplasty is unlikely to cure patients of their sleep apnea.
Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) and the Pillar Procedure
RFA is a minimally invasive treatment that uses radiofrequency energy to shrink and minimize obstructions in the nasal and oral airways. These radiofrequency treatments are usually performed in the office under local anesthetic, and recovery times are quick, with minimal pain. The Pillar Procedure is another office procedure for snoring and sleep apnea. Under local anesthetic, small implants are placed in the soft palate in order to promote scar tissue and stiffening. This will often lead to decrease in snoring and apneic events. Deciding if RFA or the Pillar Procedure are a good fit for you requires discussion with your physician who will make recommendations after a thorough physical examination.
Allergic Rhinitis occurs when airborne allergens cause swelling in the nasal lining. This swelling leads to obstruction and consequent turbulent airflow. It is this turbulence which manifests as snoring in many patients. When patients’ allergies are identified they can often be treated in an effective fashion. Treatments range from prescription nasal sprays, oral medications, allergy shots and – more recently – allergy drops that can be placed under your tongue. Allergy treatment leads to a more open nasal airway, and often a decrease in snoring.
The inferior turbinates stretch from the front of the nose, all the way to the back of the nasal airway. If they become enlarged and swollen, they can cause a significant obstruction. Submucosal resection of the turbinate can remove submucosal tissue, thus reducing the size of the turbinate as a whole without compromising the turbinate function. Advances in surgical procedures have made this a much less invasive procedure, and it can be a very effective way to clear the nasal airways and prevent snoring. In some cases, RFA may also be used to open up the nasal airway by shrinking the turbinates.
If your snoring is a problem, you and your partner don’t have to suffer. Contact the Penn Medicine Becker ENT & Allergy Center, and arrange a consultation that will find the ideal treatment for you. It can make a huge difference to your life.