Treatments and drugs

By Mayo Clinic Staff

To treat your condition, your doctor likely will first recommend lifestyle changes, such as losing weight, avoiding alcohol close to bedtime, treating nasal decongestion, avoiding sleep deprivation and avoiding sleeping on your back.

For snoring caused by obstructive sleep apnea, your doctor may suggest:

  • Oral appliances. Oral appliances are form-fitting dental mouthpieces that help advance the position of your jaw, tongue and soft palate to keep your air passage open.

    If you choose to use an oral appliance, visit your dental specialist at least once every six months during the first year, and then at least annually after that, to have the fit checked and to make sure that your condition isn't worsening.

    Excessive salivation, dry mouth, jaw pain and facial discomfort are possible side effects from wearing these devices.

  • Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). This approach involves wearing a pressurized mask over your nose while you sleep. The mask is attached to a small pump that forces air through your airway, which keeps it open.

    CPAP (SEE-pap) eliminates snoring and is most often used to treating snoring caused by obstructive sleep apnea.

    Although CPAP is the most reliable and effective method of treating obstructive sleep apnea, some people find it uncomfortable or have trouble adjusting to the noise or feel of the machine.

  • Palatal implants. In this procedure, known as the pillar procedure, doctors inject braided strands of polyester filament into your soft palate, which stiffens it and reduces snoring. Palatal implants don't have any known serious side effects; however, the benefits and safety of the procedure are still being studied.
  • Traditional surgery. In a procedure called uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP), you're given general anesthetics and your surgeon tightens and trims excess tissues from your throat — a type of face-lift for your throat. The risks of this procedure include bleeding, infection, pain and nasal congestion.
  • Laser surgery. In laser-assisted uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (LAUPPP), an outpatient surgery for snoring, your doctor uses a small hand-held laser beam to shorten the soft palate and remove your uvula. Removing excess tissue enlarges your airway and reduces vibration. You may need more than one session to get your snoring under control.
  • Radiofrequency tissue ablation (somnoplasty). In this outpatient procedure, you'll be given local anesthetic. Doctors use a low-intensity radiofrequency signal to shrink tissue in the soft palate to help reduce snoring.

    The effectiveness of this newer procedure needs further study. Generally, this procedure is less painful than other types of snoring surgery.

Sept. 26, 2015