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Snoring Problem
June 2002

Q. I am a 34-year-old female who has suffered with snoring all my life. I have heard that snoring could be corrected with the removal of the adenoids. Is this true? I wake up every day with dry mouth and drool. The snoring is so horrible that my spouse can hear me in the living room with the bedroom door closed. If you have heard of this type of surgery, what is the estimated recovery time and hospital stay time?

A. Snoring, although often joked about, can be an indication of more serious medical matters. It can be quite disruptive of a couple's relationship as well, and it is often the partner who demands the snorer get treatment. Anything causing obstruction of the nose and throat passages can lead to the loud sounds and grunts that are characteristic. For example, allergies such as hay fever, may be contributing, and anatomical factors involving the tonsils, adenoids, and palate may be involved.

In addition, being overweight, and late evening food or alcohol ingestion are frequent contributing factors. The snoring may be an indicator of sleep apnea, in which the person stops breathing for 10 seconds or more, then seems to gasp for the next breath, often accompanied by jerking muscles. This is usually associated with daytime drowsiness and can place serious stress on the heart and blood vessels.

This possibility needs evaluation by a specialist and may involve study in a "sleep lab", although portable devices can now be used to test at home in many locations. Surgery may be needed but all contributing factors must be addressed or the surgery only approach will not solve the problem.



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