Medical Q&As

Snoring - help?

My wife has told me now for some time that I snore excessively at night in bed. My children who are in other rooms also say they have heard me snoring. This results in my wife having to leave the bed and go to another bed in the middle of the night quite often. It is beginning to cause serious problems for me at this stage. Some years ago I had an operation on my nose to repair the nasal septum, which was damaged when I was about 16 years of age. This was a success at the time and it solved the problem that I had at that time. Any help of a practical kind would be most appreciated. I am 52 years of age and am in good health otherwise.

The sound that we describe as snoring is produced by an obstruction to the free flow of air through the passages located at the back of the mouth and nose. This obstruction occurs when the tongue and upper part of the throat touch against the soft palate, which then vibrate during the act of breathing. The first suggestion to you is that if you are overweight you should try to get your weight down. This measure alone can eliminate the problem for some sufferers. If you have a stuffy or blocked nose this can also contribute to snoring. Therefore if you have a problem with nasal allergy such as hay fever treating that problem can also relieve snoring. You have already mentioned deformities of the nose such as a deviated nasal septum, which can also cause snoring. Since you have already had this problem attended to it is probably reasonable to eliminate it from our considerations. Treating snoring effectively very much depends on making a precise diagnosis of the cause. Therefore since this problem has become a major issue for you it would be worthwhile attending your GP for an assessment of your problem. It is also worth stating that your problem of snoring could be associated with sleep apnoea. You might like to learn more about snoring and apnoea by reading our special features on these conditions. You can read about snoring at: http://www.irishhealth.com/index.html?level=4&id=124 and you can read about apnoea at: http://www.irishhealth.com/index.html?level=4&id=127.