When you have obstructive sleep apnea, it means that something is blocking your airway while you sleep. This prevents you from breathing and causes you to wake up over and over again throughout the night. In many cases, pressure on the airway causes sleep apnea, but swollen tonsils could be another factor. Many people wonder if a tonsillectomy could cure their sleep apnea without the need for CPAP treatment or other therapies. Is a tonsillectomy the cure for your sleep apnea? 

Tonsils and Sleep Apnea Symptoms 

Swollen tonsils can occur for many different reasons, including bacterial and viral infections. For most people, tonsil swelling goes down when the cause of the issue is no longer present. In other instances, the tonsils remains swollen even when the infection is gone. Sometimes, recurrent infections happen so commonly that the tonsils seem to be perpetually swollen.  

Swollen tonsils can block portions of your airway. When you’re awake, this can cause you to feel like you have a sore throat and that you get breathless easily. When you sleep, you could experience sleep apnea. The tonsils will block your airway, which in turn makes you wake up repeatedly.  

Sleep Apnea can significantly diminish the quality and quantity of your sleep if left untreated and could lead to serious health consequences. There are several symptoms of Sleep Apnea, ranging form mild to severe that include:

  • Restless sleep
  • Choking or gasping during sleep
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS)
  • Mouth breathing which may lead (could lead to dry mouth or sore throat when you wake up)
  • Snoring or noisy breathing during sleep
  • Pauses in breathing while sleeping (this is typically observed by a parent or significant other)
  • Enlarged tonsils
  • Difficulty waking in the morning
  • Headaches in the morning
  • Memory or learning problems
  • Irritability, depression or mood swings

Tonsillectomy as a Sleep Apnea Treatment 

Swollen tonsils are more likely to cause sleep apnea in kids than adults. 79% of children with sleep apnea have their symptoms resolved through a tonsillectomy. For adults, a tonsillectomy can be effective, as long as the tonsils were swollen and causing the apnea episodes. Adults who get a tonsillectomy may not experience a complete resolution of their sleep apnea symptoms, but their symptoms may improve.  

Get a personalized treatment plan for sleep apnea with the help of the sleep medicine specialists at Sleep Dynamics. We diagnose and treat a number of sleep disorders in New Jersey, from sleep apnea to narcolepsy. Find out more or schedule a consultation by calling 732-455-3030.