Problem Snoring

For the evaluation and treatment of sleep disorders our comprehensive facility, the Portland Snoring Clinic of Mt. Scott ENT, expert staff is second to none. If you feel that you are suffering from a sleep disorder of any kind, contact us today.

To some degree or another we all at times will snore. Factors that will lead to occasional snoring include use of medications that induce relaxation of muscles (such as sleep aids), alcohol consumption especially right before bed (the most common culprit), and allergies and colds. While there certainly can be many causes for mild or intermittent snoring, when that snoring can be described as “habitual,” along with potentially acting as a “social issue” (to those around the snorer), it may also be a sign of the more serious medical condition of sleep apnea. As habitual (nightly) snoring is a true medical problem, a comprehensive examination can identify the causes of the problem and determine what options are appropriate for treatment.

The most common causes of habitual snoring are simple anatomic abnormalities leading to partial obstruction. The most common sites for this are the roof of the mouth including the palate, uvula, and tonsils; the throat; and the nose. Another two possible sites of obstruction that may contribute to snoring and should be evaluated are the base of the tongue (which can become enlarged and impede airflow) and the nose. In the nose, a crooked or deviated septum (the bone and cartilage wall which divides the nose internally) may cause obstruction. In addition, common structures that protrude from the lateral wall known as turbinates can become chronically enlarged and block airflow. Weight gain can also amplify an existing anatomical problem that before caused only mild and unobservable obstruction. Most of the above-mentioned conditions are persistent and will continue to worsen with age.

If snoring is habitual, full evaluation by a physician is necessary. This examination may include a full sleep study to determine causes and if sleep apnea is present. Once a diagnosis is completed, treatment may include eliminating outside factors that may be factors including such possible recommendations as weight loss, the avoidance of alcohol or other medications, or treatment of nasal congestion with medications and/or nasal dilating strips. These efforts, however, are rarely successful in patients with a significant level of snoring in which case a variety of options such as radiofrequency reduction and surgery can be explored with our expert staff.