Snoring in women: causes and treatment
What are the causes of snoring in women
In general, snoring occurs in women for the same reasons as in men. Due to the characteristics of the female body, the most common culprits for snoring are:
The increase in body weight is often a consequence of changes in hormonal levels. This happens due to diseases of the endocrine and reproductive systems, pregnancy or menopause. But in recent years, obesity in women has been prevalent due to malnutrition.
Fat deposits, accumulating around the pharynx, mechanically narrow its lumen, which leads to snoring during sleep. Often, patients do not realize that their weight has caused sleep problems, because it seems to them that “a few extra pounds” cannot cause such dire consequences. But even with mild obesity, the risk of obstructive sleep apnea increases 10 times.
- Taking medications.
Women who have a hard time coping with stress often resort to taking tranquilizers and sleeping pills. Prescription sleeping pills lead to excessive relaxation of the throat muscles, which can lead to snoring or even sleep apnea.
- Age-related hormonal changes.
As menopause approaches, the production of sex hormones decreases. Among other consequences, this causes thinning of the mucous membranes and a decrease in muscle tone. As a result, the walls of the pharynx, when falling asleep, vibrate, snoring, or collapse. Therefore, the percentage of snoring women increases dramatically as they approach the climacteric period.
What are the consequences of snoring
Statistics show that the number of snoring men and women is approximately the same. But because of the awkwardness, women are less likely to see a doctor with this problem. Unfortunately, patients are not sufficiently informed about the danger they face, believing that snoring is just annoying sounds.
First of all, you should know that snoring is complicated and uncomplicated. The latter, as a rule, “only” does not allow to fully relax both the patient himself and his relatives. But the complicated one is a serious threat to health. If snoring is accompanied by cessation of breathing during sleep, then this may indicate the presence of OSAS – obstructive sleep apnea syndrome. With this disease, a person’s breathing in a dream periodically stops for certain periods of time. If the stops are frequent, it turns out that the person does not breathe in total for several hours per night. Such a significant lack of oxygen is especially detrimental to the brain and heart. Therefore, people with OSAS develop severe hypertension, cardiac arrhythmias, and memory impairment. The risk of stroke, heart attack and sudden death during sleep also increases dramatically.
Prolonged respiratory arrest can usually be seen by the patient’s family. It looks like this. The patient snores, then abruptly subsides. After a pause, she makes a “snoring” sound, trying to breathe in more air after the pause, and then continues to snore, sometimes even louder.
But short episodes of apnea may not have such a vivid picture. Therefore, not all patients are aware of the reasons for their deteriorating health.
If sleep apnea is suspected, somnologists suggest performing computerized pulse oximetry . And to clarify the diagnosis and assess the severity of OSAS, polysomnography is used .
How to prevent snoring
Snoring, like other diseases, is easier to prevent than cure. For the prevention of snoring in women, it is necessary:
- Monitor your weight – even mild obesity can cause snoring.
- Visit a gynecologist regularly and prevent hypoestrogenism in time .
- Give up bad habits and sleeping pills.
- Monitor thyroid function – snoring patients often have hypothyroidism.
- Timely treat diseases of the ENT organs (rhinitis, polyposis, curvature of the nasal septum and others).
- Follow sleep hygiene recommendations (monitor humidity, sleep on your side, use an orthopedic pillow).
How to cure snoring in women
The tactics of treating snoring depends on its causes and the presence of complications.
If a woman snores due to anatomical changes in the nasopharyngeal cavity, minimally invasive surgical intervention – laser or radio wave surgery, Pillar implants will be the most effective .
If the changes in the pharynx are reversible, good results can be achieved with the non-surgical treatment described in the article Treating snoring without surgery.
If the snoring was caused by a change in hormonal levels, then the treatment of hypoestrogenism will greatly contribute to getting rid of snoring. After the examination, if there are no contraindications, the gynecologist may recommend hormone replacement therapy or phytoestrogens. But such treatment can cause serious side effects, so it should be prescribed by a specialist.
A dubious or temporary effect is given by the treatment of snoring with folk remedies. Among the many recipes women are trying to treat snoring at home, only sea buckthorn oil can be considered safe.
What are the causes and treatment of snoring in pregnant women
If a woman has had trouble sleeping before pregnancy, then her condition may worsen.
But for some women, snoring first appears only during pregnancy. This happens as a result of hormonal changes.
First, a pregnant woman gains weight significantly – many exceed the normal weight gain of 10 kg. Fat deposits increase everywhere, including in the tissues of the pharynx.
Secondly, pregnancy is always accompanied by edema, including the nasopharyngeal mucosa. Physiological edema is less conducive to snoring, in contrast to pathological edema that occurs with late gestosis of pregnant women.
Both factors lead to a narrowing of the lumen of the pharynx and the occurrence of snoring. In severe cases, pregnant women may develop obstructive sleep apnea, which is dangerous for both the mother and the child.
Another common cause of snoring is vasomotor rhinitis during pregnancy. Due to swelling of the nasal mucosa, congestion, itching and clear discharge occur. Due to difficulty in nasal breathing, the quality of sleep worsens in a pregnant woman and snoring appears.
The pregnant woman also complains of poor sleep, morning fatigue and headache.
Computed pulse oximetry and polysomnography will help determine the presence and severity of obstructive sleep apnea and snoring . Both methods are completely safe for mother and baby.
When choosing treatment tactics, the risk that is possible for the fetus is taken into account. Treatment of mild to moderate OSAS is usually postponed until the baby is born.
Snoring during pregnancy usually goes away after childbirth. For severe obstructive sleep apnea with symptoms suggestive of eclampsia, CPAP therapy is recommended.
The following remedies are good for rhinitis of pregnant women:
- Rinsing the nose with saline solutions ( AquaMaris , Salin, No-salt).
- Anti-snoring plaster ( Breath strips , BreatheRight ).
- Steam inhalation with plain or mineral water.
- Using a household humidifier.
- Sleep on a special pregnancy pillow, which will help you to take a comfortable position that makes breathing easier. It is not necessary to buy – any woman can sew such a product.
With a runny nose of pregnant women, it is contraindicated:
- Instill vasoconstrictor drops into the nose.
- Use honey and essential oils – they can cause allergies.
- Use onions and garlic – harsh odors can worsen rhinorrhea.
Getting rid of female snoring is not as difficult as it might seem at first glance. The most important thing that a woman should do is to contact a competent sleep specialist as soon as possible.