Snoring and Sleep Apnoea

Snoring and Sleep Apnea: Breathing Problems During Sleep

When the soft palate and the tissue in your nose or mouth vibrates, snoring can occur. Snoring is a problem experienced by people of all ages, although it is surprisingly common in children. If your kids are snoring, the cause of the snoring could be different than the reasons why adults snore. If your child snores often, you may wish to speak with an ear, nose, and throat specialist to find out if the snoring is normal or if there is a condition causing the snoring to occur.

Infections and Allergies

A cold, flu or other infection could be the cause of snoring, as could an allergy. A blocked nose due to cold, flu, or allergy problems can cause restriction in the airways which leads to a rattling sound when your child breathes. When the allergic reaction has passed or your child has recovered from a cold, the snoring will usually stop. While most colds and other related infections go away on their own in most cases, you may wish to get a course of antibiotics to help your child feel better more quickly.

If your child is suffering from allergies, talking to our ear, nose and throat specialists may be advisable. Our specialists can diagnose the specific cause of you child’s allergies and snoring and can recommend the best treatment options.

Tonsil or adenoids that are infected or enlarged

The tonsils consist of two small glands located at the back of the throat, while adenoids are also found at the back of the throat but are a lumpy tissue. Tonsils and adenoids trap bacteria that is inhaled in order to prevent the bacteria from going into the rest of the body. Children generally inhale more bacteria, which helps to explain why they are so much more likely to get tonsillitis than adults are.

When either the adenoids or the tonsils become infected as a result of your child inhaling bacteria, they can become swollen and inflamed. This inflammation can affect airflow, causing snoring. The snoring should stop after the infection has gone away, and the infection should go away either on its own or with the help of antibiotics. However, if your child has recurrent infections of the tonsils, removal may be advised to permanently stop the snoring and make your child more comfortable. Our ear, nose and throat surgeons are experienced in tonsil removal and can help you to determine if this is the best choice.

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea refers to breathing problems during sleep, which cause you to stop breathing for just a moment. Snoring is a symptom of sleep apnea, and sleep apnea can be frightening although a child usually does not remember it happening.

Sleep apnea in kids may be caused by infected tonsils or adenoids. Antibiotics or removal of the tonsils can stop the sleep apnea, and cause the snoring to end. In some cases, a sleep study may also be recommended by our ear, nose and throat specialists. The sleep study will involve your child spending the night overnight in a hospital where specialists will provide continuous monitoring of the child’s heart rate and breathing. The sleep study can provide information necessary to make an accurate diagnosis of your child’s sleep apnea.