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How Nasal Polyps Might Be the Cause of Your Snoring

Problems with the nasal passages, such as having nasal polyps, are thought to be one of the leading causes of snoring. In fact, even if your snoring comes mainly from the throat and not the nose, nasal passage problems such as polyps could still be the reason you continue to snore.

Most types of snoring, even those which are caused by sleep apnea, are related to problems in the mouth, nose, or throat that restrict a person's breathing while sleeping. The general conception was that people whose snoring emanates mainly from the throat was being caused by problems in the mouth or throat that caused restrictions in breathing.

However, most experts know agree that this may not necessarily be the case.

The reason for this is that human's are meant to breathe through our noses while we sleep. Our bodies are simply designed this way, as the hairs inside our nostrils are meant to filter the air coming into our lungs

In contrast, our mouths have no effective means to filter air, which is why our bodies are designed to breathe through our noses during sleep. Nonetheless, when there are problems that cause our nasal passages to be restricted, we will revert to mouth breathing which usually leads to excessive snoring.

There are many different reasons for our nasal passages to become constricted during sleep, some of which, like a stuffy nose due to illness or allergies, are only temporary and can simply be treated with medications. 

nasal polypsStill, there are other, more serious problems that can also lead to restricted nasal passages, and nasal polyps are one of the more common ones.

When a person has constricted nasal passages, it takes more force to breathe in properly, and this extra exertion of force typically causes one or both nostrils to collapse in on themselves, making it nearly impossible to breathe through the nose. 

When this happens, there can be two different results, although both things usually result in snoring. Either the person will just start breathing through their mouth or they will continue to try and force air through their nasal passages, causing them to vibrate.


These vibrations of the nose or throat are what actually cause the sounds we hear when a person snores, and therefore constricted nasal passages, whether caused by polyps, allergies, etc., almost always result in increased snoring.

What Are Nasal Polyps?

Polyps are basically small growths of the mucosa tissue that lines the inside of our nasal passages and sinuses. These growths appear as small sacs in x-rays, and are generally considered to be harmless. However, they do tend to lead to constricted nasal passages as they can restrict the amount of air that can pass through the passages at any one time.

Polyps are very soft, so often people with smaller polyps will not even notice that they have them. Still, larger polyps can sometimes be felt inside the nose, and it is these larger polyps that are usually responsible for blocking the nostrils or sinuses.

What Causes Polyps to Form?

nasal polypsThere are many different things that can actually cause polyps to form inside the nose, but most often they develop in people who suffer from constant inflammation of the nostrils and sinuses due to chronic allergies, infections, or asthma.

Smokers are also more likely to develop polyps, as smoking also leads to inflammation. There doesn't seem to be much evidence to show why some polyps develop larger than others, but typically it seems that the more often the inflammations occur and the worse they are, the more likely it is a person will develop larger polyps that constrict their nasal passages or sinuses.

Signs That You May Have Polyps

If you constantly suffer from inflammation of the nasal passages, the odds are fairly good that you may end up developing polyps. Still, there are some signs to watch out for that will help you to determine whether or not you indeed have them.

One of the most common symptoms is when people complain about having cold like symptoms that last for months and months. If you constantly have a runny or stuffy nose that makes it nearly impossible to breathe through your nose, it may actually be polyps that are causing the problem. 

One other thing to watch out for is partial or total loss of your sense of smell, as this is one of the main signs that you have polyps. These growths can also cause loss of your sense of taste as well, but this problem is much less common.

Diagnosing and Treating Nasal Polyps

nasal polypsIf you have any of the above symptoms that last for weeks or months, you may want to make an appointment with your doctor to determine if you have polyps. The first step towards diagnosing this condition is to take a CT scan, where the polyps will show up as small, opaque growths inside the nasal cavity.

 If the CT scan shows you do have polyps, then your doctor will then see how much of a problem they are causing for your breathing. If the polyps are large, then surgery may be necessary to remove them. 

This surgery is usually considered quite safe and effective. However, in many cases the polyps will begin to grow back within a few years, making additional surgeries necessary.

If the doctor decides the polyps aren't serious enough to warrant surgery, then they will most likely prescribe medication, such as steroids to help control the inflammation. Additionally, many doctors also are now turning towards different anti-snoring devices such as nasal dilators, which will not fix the problem, but will still allow the person to breathe more freely through their nostrils while sleeping. 

If the problem isn't serious, then the recommended method is to simply try to reduce the constriction as much as possible to make sure the person's sleep doesn't suffer as a result of their polyps.

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