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Should I Go to an ENT for Snoring?

If this is something you routinely hear in the morning, “You snored so loud last night!” or if you often get woken up during the night with a stern “Stop snoring!” message, you are not alone. According to John Hopkins Medicine, it’s estimated that “45% of adults snore occasionally, while 25% snore regularly.” But is snoring really a condition to be worried about?

Why Do People Snore?

To decide whether or not you need to see an ear, nose and throat doctor for snoring, you need to understand some of the reasons why people snore. The reason for snoring is because the airways through the nose and mouth have become narrowed. As air flows through these passages, the tissues inside the airway vibrate, causing that loud, annoying sound to emit as you sleep. There are different reasons why this can occur:

  • Drinking alcohol: alcohol causes your breathing and jaw muscles to relax, causing your airway to collapse
  • Being overweight: neck fat can collapse your airway
  • Infections/allergies: tonsils can swell when they are fighting infections, narrowing the airway
  • Nasal polyps: benign growths that block the airway
  • Deviated septum: asymmetrical nostrils that can block the airway
  • Aging: throat muscles naturally relax and sag as we age
  • Pregnancy: expansion of blood vessels can narrow the nasal passageway
  • Sleeping position: sleeping on your back can cause your airway to narrow due to gravity pulling on your tongue, palate and tonsils
  • Obstructive sleep apnea: throat muscles relax as you sleep, causing your throat to close so you can’t take a breath; your body will wake briefly to engage those muscles and you may emit a gasping sound

If you only snore occasionally, you probably don’t need to see a doctor. However, if you have been told that you snore frequently, it is recommended that you have your condition assessed by a professional. Obstructive sleep apnea can be a serious condition that can disrupt the oxygen supply to your brain and body, increasing your risk of developing a cardiovascular disease.

Even if your snoring problem isn’t caused by obstructive sleep apnea, conditions such as nasal polyps and a deviated septum can be treated. You can also change your lifestyle habits to improve your sleeping patterns: stop drinking alcohol, lose weight, change your sleeping position, etc.

If you sleep alone and don’t realize you snore, there are daytime signs that snoring might be disrupting your sleep: headache, fatigue, irritability, mood swings, dry mouth or lack of concentration. If you experience any of these symptoms or if you wake up many times throughout the night, there may be problems with your airways that are affecting your sleep.

To speak with a doctor about your snoring in Phoenix, AZ, contact the team at Biltmore ENT, Facial Plastics & Allergy. Our team of ear, nose and throat specialists in Phoenix will work with you to diagnose the root cause of your snoring and recommend treatments or lifestyle changes. To schedule an appointment with us, please call (602) 956-1250 or visit our website at www.biltmoreent.com.

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