By Dr Murray Grossan
Some children with severe snoring show poor growth. This can occur because the nose and throat are obstructed so that eating is tasteless and uncomfortable. Recall when your nose is plugged; the savory hamburger has no real taste because you can’t smell it with a plugged up nose. Worse, continued snoring can change the physiology and make snoring worse. For example, obstructive snoring can develop into acid reflux. It can even affect the shape of the chest.
Note that when a child snores from age 4 to 5, that is about 20% of her entire life span; the important part in growing and learning. Constant mouth breathing can effect the jaw/face development and may necessitate the need for orthodonture.
At Tower E.N.T. we have heard this scenario for years: “Before she snored, she was sweet, laughing, with nice breath. Now she doesn’t smile, she is cranky, inattentive, tired and sleepy. She is not thriving. Teachers complain of her poor work.”
For the snoring child, therapy consists of reducing nasal blockage and reducing blockage from enlarged tonsils and adenoids. Typically:
Judy S. age 6 was seen because of snoring, and poor appetite. Mother described her being cranky and falling asleep in class. On examination she showed sinus infection and enlarged adenoids. She was placed on Hydro Pulse™ Sinus irrigation and Clear.ease lozenges. Her nasal blockage cleared and her adenoids shrank so she no longer had any sleep breathing problem.
William age five was seen for snoring and occasional wheezing. He showed nasal blockage and enlarged adenoids. Nasal tissue showed allergy. He was positive to dust and pollen on skin tests; he was given allergy desensitization. His allergy cleared and so did his snoring. His behavior problems also cleared.
Diagnosing obstructive breathing in sleep can be done by thorough ear nose and throat examination and careful history. Clearing a sinus infection allows the adenoids to shrink.
Often parents are told not to worry about the child who snores, since they will outgrow this. At Tower E.N.T. we feel that each case must be treated for best health. This is why we take a full history and evaluate the whole child.