Dear doctor, my husband’s snoring is driving me insane! Can anything be done?

24 October 2017

Q: My husband’s snoring is driving me absolutely insane! It’s become intolerable over the last 6 months and we’re on the verge of having to move into separate bedrooms. Is there anything that can be done?

A: I understand the difficulties that intrusive snoring can cause, from marital disharmony to affecting your professional and social life. It’s extremely common in adults, particularly from middle age onwards – usually more prominent in males than females, and by the age of 60, half of all men are known to experience it. There are some simple lifestyle changes that could help:

  • Sleep on your side
  • Lose weight and try to maintain a healthy lifestyle
  • Avoid alcohol, smoking and sedatives
  • Nasal strips and sprays could help open your nasal passages
  • Ear plugs or a separate room

Snoring is caused by vibrations of the tissue (as you breathe in) at a variety of levels in the nose and throat. It is much more common in people who are overweight (BMI over 30), and in such people would be a priority to treat.

In a few people the vibration becomes so severe that the airway blocks temporarily, causing a drop in oxygen levels, leading the body to wake up in order to breathe more effectively. This results to poor sleep, thus feeling tired and irritable in the morning. The condition is called Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) and if left untreated, OSA can lead to high blood pressure, increasing the chances of heart and lung problems as well as the possibility of stroke.

It is vital to try and assess the level at which the vibration or blockage is occurring before considering therapy as each case is completely individual and there is no “one size fits all” approach.

An Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Consultant will be able carry out an assessment of your snoring and determine whether you are suffering from OSA. There a number of treatment options to consider before surgery is recommended.

Mr Costa Repanos is a Consultant ENT Surgeon practising at Spire Portsmouth Hospital.

Reserve your place on our next Snoring and Sleep Apnoea information evening on 02392 456 172. 

The content of this article is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the professional medical advice of your doctor or other health care professional.

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