When you have obstructive sleep apnea, it means that something is blocking your airway while you sleep, preventing you from breathing and causing you to wake up over and over again throughout the night. In many cases, the muscles in the neck put pressure on the airway to cause sleep apnea, but swollen tonsils could be another cause. This leads many people to 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. However, in other instances, the swelling of the tonsils remains even when the infection is gone, or recurrent infections happen so commonly that the tonsils seem to be perpetually swollen.
When the tonsils are swollen, they 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 over and over again during the night to gasp for air.
Tonsillectomy as a Sleep Apnea Treatment
Swollen tonsils are more likely to be the cause of sleep apnea in kids than adults, and many 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 (848) 217-0240.