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About Snoring » Treatment

Almost all treatments for snoring revolve around clearing the blockage in the breathing passage. This is the reason snorers are advised to lose weight (to stop fat from pressing on the throat), stop smoking (smoking weakens and clogs the throat) and sleep on their side (to prevent the tongue from blocking the throat). A number of other treatment options are also available, ranging from over-the-counter aids such as nasal sprays, nasal strips or nose clips, lubricating sprays, oral appliances and "anti-snore" clothing and pillows, to such unusual activities as playing the didgeridoo.[11] Specially designed laser treatments can also be utilized to reduce the inflammation and elevate the soft palate and uvula.[12]

 

Dental appliances

 

One style of mandibular advancement splint

Specially made dental appliances called mandibular advancement splints, which advance the lower jaw slightly and thereby pull the tongue forward, are a common mode of treatment for snoring. Such appliances have been proven to be effective in reducing snoring and sleep apnea in cases where the apnea is mild to moderate. Mandibular advancement splints are often tolerated much better than CPAP machines.

 

Positive airway pressure

Main article: Positive airway pressure

A continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine is often used to control sleep apnea and the snoring associated with it. To keep the airway open, a device pumps a controlled stream of air through a flexible hose to a mask worn over the nose, mouth, or both.

 

Surgery

Surgery is also available as a method of correcting social snoring. Some procedures, such as uvulopalatopharyngoplasty, attempt to widen the airway by removing tissues in the back of the throat, including the uvula and pharynx. These surgeries are quite invasive, however, and there are risks of adverse side effects. The most dangerous risk is that enough scar tissue could form within the throat as a result of the incisions to make the airway more narrow than it was prior to surgery, diminishing the airspace in the velopharynx. Scarring is an individual trait, so it is difficult for a surgeon to predict how much a person might be predisposed to scarring. Currently, the American Medical Association does not approve of the use of lasers to perform operations on the pharynx or uvula.

 

Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a relatively new surgical treatment for snoring. This treatment applies radiofrequency energy and heat (between 77 °C and 85 °C) to the soft tissue at the back of the throat, such as the soft palate and uvula, causing scarring of the tissue beneath the skin. After healing, this results in stiffening of the treated area. The procedure takes less than one hour, is usually performed on an outpatient basis, and usually requires several treatment sessions. Radiofrequency ablation is frequently effective in reducing the severity of snoring, but, often does not completely eliminate snoring.

 

Bipolar radiofrequency ablation, a technique used for coblation tonsillectomy, is also used for the treatment of snoring.

 

The Pillar Procedure

The Pillar Procedure is a minimally invasive treatment for snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. This procedure was FDA indicated in 2004. During this procedure, three to six+ dacron (the material used in permanent sutures) strips are inserted into the soft palate, using a modified syringe and local anesthetic. While the procedure was initially approved for the insertion of three "pillars" into the soft palate, it was found that there was a significant dosage response to more pillars, with appropriate candidates.[citation needed] As a result of this outpatient operation, which typically lasts no more than 30 minutes, the soft palate is more rigid, possibly reducing instances of sleep apnea and snoring. This procedure addresses one of the most common causes of snoring and sleep apnea — vibration or collapse of the soft palate (the soft part of the roof of the mouth). If there are other factors contributing to snoring or sleep apnea, such as conditions of the nasal airway or an enlarged tongue, it will likely need to be combined with other treatments to be more effective.[citation needed]

 

Pharmacological treatment

An open label non-randomized study in 30 patients found benefit from pseudoephedrine, domperidone, and the combination in the treatment of severe snoring.

 

Proposed alternative remedies

There are occasions wherein snoring is the result of a wrong sleeping position. Sleeping with too many pillows can stretch and narrow the air passage. Use one pillow to avoid it. Also, lying on the back can cause snoring. So, a change in sleeping position can be a help.[citation needed]

 

Among the 'natural' remedies are exercises to increase the muscle tone of the upper airway, and one medical practitioner noting anecdotally that professional singers seldom snore,[20] but sufficient study of this area remains to be undertaken.

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