You know that adults can snore. You may even have a spouse that does. However, did you know that children can snore as well? If you hear your little one breathing with difficulty at night, you may become very concerned that something is wrong. Occasional snoring during a cold or allergies can be quite normal and doesn’t mean anything other than your child is congested and having trouble breathing. However, if you notice the problem several nights every week, then you may need to talk to an ear, nose, and throat specialist since there could be a more serious underlying condition.
The Common Cause of Chronic Snoring
Generally, when a child snores regularly, this is a sign of a tonsil or adenoid problem. If anyone has chronic infections or tonsillitis, then the tonsils and adenoids can actually become permanently enlarged. When this happens, the airway is just too tight and it causes snoring. Some people just don’t equate snoring with any serious condition, but it can have serious side effects.
When children snore regularly, they will not get restful sleep and may even wake up several times during the night. When a young child is not getting enough sleep, they can suffer from such problems as:
- Exhibiting symptoms of ADHD, giving a false diagnosis.
- Problems in school for older children.
- Issues with irritability or fussiness.
- Problems with bed-wetting.
If your child is snoring regularly, then don’t just ignore the problem. Instead, make an appointment with an ENT.
Managing Snoring Problems
Since there could be different issues contributing to the problem, you must take your child to the ear, nose, and throat doctor. This is the only way to determine a diagnosis and correct the issue. In most cases, the problem goes back to enlarged tonsils or adenoids. In these situations, a surgical procedure will be recommended.
Surgery to remove the tonsils is a minimally invasive procedure that only requires a short recovery time. Generally, once the tonsils and adenoids have been removed, the child will have no other problems with snoring unless they are currently suffering from a cold or the flu.
However, don’t just assume that your child has enlarged tonsils. There are some cases when an underlying condition could be responsible for the snoring problem and other types of treatments may need to be used. Not all chronic snorers automatically need a tonsillectomy.
Choosing an ENT
To determine the real problem causing your child’s chronic snoring; you need to find the right ENT. It is best to choose an ear, nose, and throat doctor that specializes in working with young children. They will be able to provide specific information about your child’s condition. Don’t depend on a pediatrician or family physician to make the diagnosis either. If your child is having chronic problems, you definitely need the help of a specialist.
Snoring is not just an adult condition. Some children tend to snore if they have a cold or other type of nasal congestion, but this habit usually clears up when the illness gets better. For children who have a snoring problem more than three times a week, there could be something else wrong. In the case of chronic issues, you will need to see an ear, nose, and throat doctor. The snoring could be related to enlarged tonsils or adenoids or there could be underlying conditions. Snoring shouldn’t be ignored since it can have negative side effects when children aren’t able to get the restful night’s sleep they need.
Dr. Michael Barakate is a pediatric and adult otolaryngologist located in Sydney, Australia. For more information on ENT surgery and ENT disorders, visit ENT-Surgery.com.au.