Snoring is the harsh rattling noise made by some people when they sleep. Snoring occurs when the soft tissues in the mouth, nose and throat vibrate when the person is asleep. The structures such as the tongue, the soft palate (the back part of the roof of the mouth), uvula (the tag that hangs at the back of the mouth), the tonsil area and the sides of the throat vibrate and this creates the noise.
Causes of snoring include: nasal obstruction (nasal polyps or a deviation in the nasal septum (the partition running down the middle of the nose), large tonsils or adenoids, jaw problems, a floppy palate. General causes of snoring include weight gain and obesity, increasing age, alcohol at night and sedative medication at night.
Snoring can be treated by correcting the general causes and directing treatment to the particular areas that are noted to be the problem. Some people need CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) devices. This works by pushing a steady stream of air into the throat through a mask worn at night. Surgical treatment of snoring is aimed to correct the particular areas that are causing the snoring and may involve nasal surgery, adenoidectomy, tonsillectomy and palate surgery. All the general causes have to be looked at, especially weight control and alcohol consumption.