- Find a Doctor
- Medical Services
- Patients & Visitors
- Classes & Events
- Health Library
- Why Choose Sharp?
Is loud snoring a medical problem?
If we have a patient who has loud snoring, and frequently the process is that the patient usually goes to their family doctor with a complaint of very loud snoring they will usually question the patient. Well do you have sinus problems? Do you have allergies, hay fever? If the doctor looks at their nose and he says he sees some deviated nasal septum anything that interrupts the airflow, he will usually send the patient then to an ear, nose and throat doctor.
What will this doctor do to treat the problem?
The goal is to correct any anatomical abnormality of the nose and the back of the throat. It may well be surgery, sometimes it can be just medications like specific decongestants, maybe an anti-allergy decongestant. Or a steroid nasal spray which if they have allergies, will work. They come back and they’re not any better, he may decide well, I think we need to do surgery. At that point he may well want to get a sleep study in order to confirm they also have sleep apnea.
Do Breathe Right strips work?
The Breathe Right strips generally don’t work. A lot of people will try that as the first treatment. You go to the pharmacy, buy the Breathe Right strips, and when they first put them on, they feel like they can breathe better through their nose. If it's very mild snoring, it may help. But in general they don’t usually work very well. If you have a lot of snoring with obstruction further back in the throat they won’t help too much. If you Google snoring you’re gonna find 101 different recommendations, none of which is scientifically proven to help.
What should I do if I'm concerned about my snoring?
In this day and age most people will go to a ear, nose and throat doctor and they would look at it and say well, you have snoring but there’s nothing here in your nose and throat that would really eliminate the snoring. Your problem is further down near the windpipe and so they would say you probably need to have a sleep study and probably be on a machine called Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) when you sleep.
What does the CPAP do?
It just keeps the airway from collapsing and that eliminates the snoring and that eliminates any breath holds. CPAP is preset based on sleep study results. You sleep with this at night, some people use it also during the day if they take naps because they find if they don’t wear it when they sleep, the problem will reoccur. They’re about in size maybe 12 inches by 8 inches by maybe 6 inches in height. And people take them on the planes, so they’re not a problem and they have an electrical outlet and they’re not big or that heavy.
What other things can I do to help prevent snoring?
Elevating the head of the bed may often result in decreasing the severity of snoring as well as any associated sleep apnea. Because the airway in the back of the throat is stented more open by the body position and that is the key to decreasing the relaxation of the tissue and the vibration.
Just about everyone snores from time to time. When does it become a problem?
Snoring is something that should be taken seriously especially if you’re having symptoms of sleepiness during the day, and or someone has told you that when you sleep your snoring is very dramatic, associated with pauses in breathing. That’s a reason for evaluation for sleep. If you think you’re having symptoms, discuss it with your primary doctor and if they feel it's significant, refer you onto either an ear, nose and throat doctor or perhaps a specialist in sleep disorders medicine.
For More Information
Sleep assessment is provided with physician referral only. To learn more, contact the Sleep Disorders Center directly, please call 619-740-4488.
To find a Sharp-affiliated physician, search for San Diego doctors or call 1-800-82-SHARP (1-800-827-4277), Monday through Friday, 8 am to 6 pm. To find general information about sleep disorders, visit Sleep Problems in Adult Health or read the Sleep Disorders News archive.