Snoring is caused by vibration or
flapping of the tissues lining the
upper passages. Many, if not most,
children snore on occasion, and
about 10% snore on most nights.
Loud and regular nightly snoring
is often abnormal in an otherwise
healthy child. About 1-3% of
children not only snore, but also
suffer from breathing problems
during their sleep.
Primary snoring is snoring that
is not associated with other
more serious conditions such as
obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA),
in which breathing is interrupted
during sleep. OSA is characterised
by episodes of complete or partial
upper airway obstruction during
sleep, resulting in gas exchange
abnormalities and arousals, causing
Untreated OSA is associated
with cardiovascular complications,
impaired growth, and learning and
behavioural problems. Early diagnosis
and treatment may decrease such
Snoring in most people is due to
multiple factors, such as:
Large tonsils and adenoids are the
most common cause of snoring and
sleep apnoea in infants and children.
Another factor which can influence
snoring is obesity.
Effective treatment is available for
almost all patients. The treatment
of snoring is often a combination of
medical and surgical options. The
choice of therapy will depend on the
underlying cause and the extent of the
As nasal obstruction increases the
frequency of snoring and sleep
disordered breathing, your doctor
may prescribe nasal sprays or oral
medications to help your child breathe
better through his nose during sleep.
For those diagnosed with sleep
apnoea, Nasal CPAP (Continuous
Positive Airway Pressure) is used to
supply pressurised air into the upper
airway via a nasal mask. This keeps the
upper airway open.
Surgical procedures for the treatment
of snoring may include surgery of the
nose, palate, jaw, tongue and/or neck,
depending on the location of the
tissues contributing to the snoring.
Certain nasal conditions such as
deviated nasal septum and very large
tonsils and adenoids may require
assessment by the ENT surgeon.
Surgery to remove the tonsils and
adenoids is the mainstay of surgical
treatment for OSA in children.
Another procedure, radiofrequency
thermal ablation of the inferior
turbinates (structures in the
nasal cavity that may cause nasal
obstruction), stiffens and shrinks this
nasal tissue and may additionally
be used to treat snoring in certain
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