This week Dr Ciarán Roarty of Scally McDaid Roarty Medical Practice looks at the troublesome problem of snoring.

Snoring is a noise that is made when we breathe while asleep. Not everyone snores.

In fact, sometimes the snorer may actually be oblivious to it. But it may cause considerable distress to the person who shares a bed with a snorer. There are a lot of lifestyle factors that can contribute to snoring and thankfully we can make changes which will help.

So how do I stop snoring?

There are many proposed solutions to snoring. One thing that is generally accepted to help is weight loss if you are overweight. Even a small increase in weight can exacerbate snoring. Alcohol intake can contribute to snoring also so it makes sense to reduce intake in an attempt to reduce snoring. Sleeping on your back can put pressure on your throat and increase the chances of snoring so lying on your side may help.

I’ve heard there is this great device that cures all snoring Doctor?

There are a lot of devices out there but unfortunately, the research or evidence for their effectiveness is somewhat lacking. It is probably wise not to spend a fortune on any device you try and don’t forget the basics – weight, alcohol and sleeping on your back. Nasal dilators may help if the snoring noise mainly comes from your nose. There are devices which advance your lower jaw and tongue which may help if your snoring mainly emanates from the base of your tongue. It is probably best fitted by an experienced dentist. Chin straps may help by forcing you to breathe through your nose, particularly, if mouth breathing contributes to your snoring.

Do any medicines work?

If you have a head cold a short course of a nasal decongestant spray may help, though using them for too long may cause problems also.

Are there any operations Doctor?

Surgery is usually not the answer. But if you are at the end of your tether all things are considered. Nose operations may be tried for polyps or deviated septum (the middle of your nose). Surgery to remove the tonsils may help children who snore.. Operations on the soft palate or uvula (the dangly bit at the back of your throat) may help, but unfortunately there is very little evidence on the long term benefit of surgery.

The above information is intended as advice only and should you have any concerns please contact your own Doctor.

Dr Ciarán Roarty MB, BCh BAO MICGP DRCOG Grad. Cert. Obst. Ultrasound
is a full-time GP at Scally McDaid Roarty Medica Practice, Scally Place, Letterkenny, Tel 0749164111 http://www.scallys.ie


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