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  • Writer's pictureDr Cheong Jack Pein

The Nose Knows: How Deviated Septums and Turbinate Hypertrophy Can Cause Snoring


Snoring husband keeping wife awake at night

Snoring can be a frustrating condition that affects both the snorer and their bed partner. In fact, according to recent estimates, over 400 million people in South Asia suffer from snoring, with a significant portion reporting snoring on a regular basis. While snoring may seem like a harmless annoyance, it can actually be a symptom of underlying health issues such as sleep apnea, and can lead to daytime fatigue and other health problems.


One of the common causes of snoring is conditions of the nose, such as a deviated nasal septum and hypertrophy of the nasal turbinates. The nasal septum is the thin wall of bone and cartilage that separates the two nostrils. In some people, this wall is displaced to one side, resulting in an uneven airflow through the nasal passages. This condition is known as a deviated nasal septum.


A deviated septum can occur due to a variety of reasons, including congenital defects, trauma to the nose, or natural aging. The deviation can be mild or severe and may affect one or both sides of the nasal septum. Symptoms of a deviated septum may include difficulty breathing through the nose, frequent sinus infections, snoring, and sleep apnea.


Hypertrophy of the nasal turbinates, on the other hand, occurs when the bony structures located in the nasal passages become swollen or enlarged. This can lead to partial or complete blockage of the nasal passages, resulting in nasal congestion, difficulty breathing through the nose, and snoring.


When the nasal septum is deviated or the nasal turbinates are enlarged, it can cause partial or complete blockage of one or both nostrils. This can lead to mouth breathing, which can cause the soft tissues in the throat to vibrate and produce the characteristic sound of snoring. The severity of snoring due to these nasal conditions can vary depending on the degree of deviation or hypertrophy. Mild deviations or enlargement may not cause significant snoring, while more severe cases can result in loud and persistent snoring.


One question that often comes up when discussing snoring is why nose blockage seems to get worse at night when lying down. This can be explained by the fact that when we lie down, blood and other fluids in our body redistribute due to gravity. This can cause the blood vessels in the nasal passages to dilate, leading to increased swelling and blockage. Additionally, when lying down, gravity may cause the tissues in the throat to collapse more easily, leading to increased vibration and snoring.


If you suspect you have a deviated septum or hypertrophy of the nasal turbinates, a doctor can diagnose the condition through a physical examination of the nose. Depending on the severity of the deviation or enlargement, non-surgical treatments such as nasal decongestants, corticosteroids, or nasal dilators may be recommended. Nasal dilators are devices that are inserted into the nostrils to open up the nasal passages and improve airflow.


In more severe cases, surgery may be necessary to correct the deviation or hypertrophy and improve airflow through the nasal passages. A surgical procedure known as septoplasty is performed to straighten the nasal septum and improve breathing. Septoplasty is a common endoscopic surgical procedure that is performed to straighten the nasal septum and improve breathing. This procedure involves making small incisions in the lining of the nose and using special instruments to remove or reposition the deviated septum.


Turbinoplasty is a surgical procedure that involves the removal or reshaping of the enlarged nasal turbinates to improve airflow. It is another endoscopic surgical procedure that involves the removal or reshaping of the enlarged nasal turbinates to improve airflow. This procedure is typically performed using a special instrument called a microdebrider, which uses a small rotating blade to remove the excess tissue.


It's important to note that snoring can have multiple causes, and a deviated nasal septum or hypertrophy of the nasal turbinates is just one of them. Other factors that can contribute to snoring include obesity, alcohol consumption, smoking, sleep apnea, and certain medications. Therefore, it's important to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the underlying cause of snoring and develop an appropriate treatment plan.


In conclusion, conditions of the nose such as a deviated nasal septum and hypertrophy of the nasal turbinates can contribute to snoring, but there are also home remedies that can provide temporary relief from nasal congestion and help reduce snoring. Saline nasal sprays or rinses, elevating the head of the bed, using a humidifier, sleeping on your side, and avoiding alcohol and sedatives before bedtime are all effective strategies for reducing snoring and improving the quality of sleep.


Another home remedy that can help with nasal congestion is using a warm compress on the face. This can help to open up the nasal passages and reduce inflammation in the nasal tissues. Simply soak a washcloth in warm water, wring it out, and apply it to the face for a few minutes. Repeat as needed to relieve congestion.


Another effective home remedy for reducing snoring is practicing nasal breathing exercises. These exercises help to strengthen the muscles in the nose and throat, which can help to prevent snoring. One simple exercise involves inhaling through the nose for four seconds, holding the breath for seven seconds, and exhaling through the mouth for eight seconds. Repeat this exercise several times a day to help strengthen the muscles.


Finally, maintaining a healthy lifestyle can also help to reduce snoring. This includes maintaining a healthy weight, getting regular exercise, and avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. These lifestyle factors can help to reduce inflammation in the nasal tissues and prevent the relaxation of the muscles in the throat, which can contribute to snoring.


In summary, snoring can be a symptom of underlying health issues such as sleep apnea, and can lead to daytime fatigue and other health problems. Conditions of the nose such as a deviated nasal septum and hypertrophy of the nasal turbinates can contribute to snoring, but there are also home remedies that can provide temporary relief from nasal congestion and help reduce snoring. If you suspect you have a condition of the nose that may be contributing to your snoring, consult with a healthcare professional to determine the best treatment plan for you.

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