Menopause is certainly not the cause of snoring, but nocturnal noises often begin at this time of life. Here is a picture of the situation and how to try to solve this nuisance.
This article was written in collaboration with our medical staff
We have already mentioned the reasons why menopause could interfere with life as a couple : mood swings and irritability, painful intimate relationships , incontinence problems and a loose pelvic floor , insomnia .
There are so many reasons why it can happen that the partner finds himself experiencing some discomfort of the period , so much so that some doctors and specialists speak of couplepause (couple menopause).
However, there are also other discomforts that the partner may feel and which can occur more frequently after a certain age. For example if you start snoring .
We are not referring to a sporadic episode perhaps due to a cold (and the consequent difficulty in breathing well in the supine position) but to the actual snoring (ie constant snoring).
In this article we will talk about:
- “Pathological” snoring: what is snoring
- Because in menopause you can start snoring
- If the woman snores: the causes
- Do you snore frequently? Here are the most common risks
- What can be done to stop snoring and when to see a doctor
“Pathological” snoring: what is snoring
Snoring is considered a purely male disorder but can also affect women of mature age. It is caused by a problem that affects the upper airways (those behind the throat) which, by narrowing, for various (physiological) reasons, obstruct the passage of air, causing the tissues to vibrate . The often very unpleasant consequence is the production of typical nocturnal sounds.
Snoring can really be unbearable for the partner and, in the long run, cause a feeling of chronic fatigue, both in those who snore and in those who suffer the consequences and are often forced to frequent awakenings.
Because in menopause you can start snoring
Let’s clear away any misunderstanding: menopause is not the cause of snoring and, in any case, we are not talking about a disease for which there is not much to fear, if not the lack of restful sleep. The reduced production of hormones (especially estrogen) in the years before the last menstruation has nothing to do with this disorder. Or at least to date no correlation between menopause and snoring has been demonstrated .
The significant drop in hormone production, however, could be linked to sleep disorders : hormonal imbalances, in fact, have effects on the sleep / wake mechanism and can cause frequent awakenings, difficulty falling back asleep or even insomnia . It is clear that this scenario, combined with the frequent awakenings that snoring or sleep apnea (a phenomenon often associated with snoring) cause, can cause serious difficulty in resting and managing daily activities.
If the woman snores: the causes
For some women , menopause can be a period full of physical and psychological changes and therefore challenging to manage. So when your partner “scolds” you about a noisy night during which you snored, you respond by attributing the causes to excessive fatigue , as if snoring was the consequence of a particularly deep sleep.
But this is not the case and we have seen it explaining that this disorder is caused by an airway problem (behind which there can be several causes). And, moreover, when you snore it is the quality of sleep that suffers . Snoring, in fact, causes a lighter sleep .
Let’s see the main causes of snoring.
Why did you start snoring in menopause?
- Overweight: in menopause the tendency to put on a few pounds becomes more pronounced. It is easier to accumulate fat especially in the waistline and it becomes difficult to lose it. So the extra pounds can really lead to breathing difficulties during the night that culminate in a tendency to snore .
- Cigarette smoking : smoking, in addition to being a bad habit to be abandoned as soon as possible, irritates the upper airways , precisely those involved in the act of snoring. Therefore, statistically, those who smoke snore more than those who do not have this habit.
- Age matters: over the years the structures of the upper airways narrow and the passage of air becomes more difficult. That’s why you might start snoring right after menopause .
- Too big a dinner before bedtime could cause a particularly noisy night. Furthermore, eating a lot in the evening, now that you are in menopause, is a very bad habit: it makes digestion more difficult and tiring at night. Prefer a “light” dinner, concentrating more, perhaps, on a good breakfast to start the day well.
Do you snore frequently? Here are the most common risks
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most important risk of snoring . They occur when the act of snoring is followed by interruptions in the breath that can last several seconds . These occlusions, in addition to frequent awakenings and sleep that is constantly interrupted , sleep apnea can cause cardiovascular and pulmonary fatigue, in addition to cerebral damage.
However, we must specify: if you only have one disorder, sleep apnea is a real pathology (“submerged” because many people suffer from it without knowing it). In Italy, it is estimated that one out of two men and one out of four women suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (source Ansa).
But while in men the phenomenon can be associated with snoring in the long term (10 or 20 years after snoring), in women who start snoring after menopause, sleep apnea can manifest very quickly (source: Luigi Ferini Strambi, director of the Center Sleep Medicine of the San Raffaele Hospital in Milan).
What can be done to stop snoring and when to see a doctor
Some attention must never be missing:
- Avoid overweight
- Avoid smoking
- Avoid large meals especially in the evening
- Avoid alcohol consumption
- Sleeping on your side instead of on your back
These are all valid precautions but they may not be enough to stop snoring or at least to keep the disorder under control. When snoring becomes a real problem (both for yourself and for the person with whom you share the bed) it is necessary to consult a specialist .
If you are concerned that you have started snoring, you can talk to your doctor who will be able to direct you, if he deems it appropriate, to a specific center for sleep disorders . It might be useful to undergo all ‘ examination of sleep (called polysomnography ) to record the performance and investigate any apneas associated with snoring.