Is there a female in your life who snores? How exactly do you approach the subject with that person? The chances are that you tread lightly and bring up the topic as delicately as possible when you are brave enough to go there. That is because women who snore tend to not believe it happens.
After all, snoring doesn’t fall under the category of lady-like behavior.
Plus, since you can only snore when asleep, it is easy for the female in question to shrug it off as something that did not happen. Well, it does and in this article, we will discuss the topic of snoring and cover what causes snoring in females - because females do in fact snore.
Causes of Female Snoring
There are several reasons why women may snore and these are explained below.
Let’s face it, snoring is not normally viewed as a female trait. To back that up, studies have proven that roughly 40% of men and just 24% of women snore but, as women age, the likelihood of a non-snoring female starting to snore increases. Menopause is one of the major factors, and we’ll look at that a little closer further down this list.
Alcohol is for sure what causes snoring in women. If you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Alcohol is a relaxant that will relax the tissue around your nose, mouth, throat, and neck. As an obstruction of any kind is the main reason why we snore, it is understandable that with the muscles surrounding your airways relaxed, the possibility of there being a collapse is a sensible conclusion to come to. When the throat muscles relax, they are drawn inward which reduces the amount of air that passes through it. In other words, these are the perfect conditions for snoring.
This is probably something you don’t want to read, but it is a major factor. Yes, being overweight can be what causes female snoring. Here’s why: for overweight individuals, there is a lack of muscle mass throughout the body. This would include the throat, neck, etc. Instead, the fat tissue in these areas is soft and can constrict which causes the vibration that we associate as being the snoring noise. Constricted airways are blocked airways and compared to someone who is in better physical health, the airways will be narrower, to begin with.
So, constriction will be easier. It is also important to remember that in sleep apnea when the airways are blocked, the person sleeping will be jolted awake and will often be gasping for air. That “waking” action is prompted by the brain that realizes there is little or no air passing through the airways. So, the brain sends a signal to the body to snap it out of deep sleep and forces the sleeping individual into forcefully breathing in the required air.
Combined Oral Contraceptive Pill
Younger women who start taking birth control pills tend to start snoring. As much as that may sound like the first line of a joke related to headaches and contraceptives, there is a very real reason why this is one of the causes of snoring in women. It is all related to the hormonal imbalance that the pill creates.
If you have experienced this shortly after starting to take birth control pills, rest assured that snoring is just a temporary side effect that should disappear once your body adjusts to the change in hormone levels. If snoring persists, check with your doctor.
When answering the question, what causes snoring in females, diabetes cannot be skipped over lightly. Research shows that there is a link between insulin resistance, glucose intolerance, and snoring. A complication of diabetes is known as diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) and one of the symptoms of DKA is labored breathing. This can develop into snoring.
We warned you that we would be visiting hormones as part of our look at what causes snoring in females. Estrogen levels play a big role in whether or not a woman snores. Less estrogen impacts muscle tone and as we have already discussed in the section on being overweight, less muscle tone will cause the throat to constrict which creates an airway blockage. You should know the rest of that story by now.
Again, we are discussing the effect of hormones on the female body. However, menopause has a notorious reputation of being the starting point where many non-snoring women end up suddenly starting to snore. Combine that with age, and you have a double whammy that is going to increase the probability of older women entering menopause and snoring than a younger women years from menopause.
Sorry, we didn’t mean to break it to you in such a way, but if you are near menopause and don’t snore at this point, don’t be all that taken aback if you suddenly pick up the habit. The reason why menopause is going to increase your chances of snoring is that your estrogen levels will drop and that will impact the serotonin production within your body. Serotonin will impact muscle tone. And we are right back to where we started with a lack of muscle tone that can result in a relaxing of the throat muscles and…you know the answer here…snoring.
Here’s an interesting fact for you: about 25% of pregnant women snore. Aside from the math, the logical reasons we’ve already gone over and include weight gain (which is a normal part of any pregnancy) and the shifting of hormonal levels. But there are also a couple of other lesser-known factors where pregnancy can influence snoring.
First, estrogen levels running high in the first trimester increases nausea which will impact sleeping habits and may contribute to snoring. Second, blood vessels in the nasal cavity expand during pregnancy which can result in a blockage of airways. Blockages of any kind in the airway lead to snoring.
There is good news and bad news regarding smoking. The good news is that it doesn’t matter what gender you are, smoking is going to increase your chances of snoring. That is because smoking irritates the airway tissues such as the nose and throat membranes. This can end up as a swelling that can turn into a blockage of the airways.
Plus, this membrane irritation is also responsible for post-nasal drip. Oh, and the bad news about smoking? Aside from all the health issues that can be associated with smoking, it doesn’t matter what gender you are, smoking is going to increase your chances of snoring.
As much as it may be a topic that you have to tiptoe around, a female who snores is a common situation. It is also important to understand that although there are many possible reasons why she snores, it all boils down to one very simple cause. A blockage of any kind of her airways will cause her to snore. Where the investigative work comes in is trying to determine what exactly is the reason for that blockage.
Typically it is related to a lack of muscle mass and the relaxation of throat muscles. But there are a few ways in which this can occur. The list above outlines several of the most common causes of snoring in female. You just have to pinpoint which one is the main cause and do what is necessary to reduce the symptoms. By reducing the symptoms, you can effectively eliminate snoring.