Snoring in women can often be an embarrassing dilemma. After all, snoring is an act that's more associated with men, making women who snore appear more masculine than desired. Although most causes of snoring apply to both genders, there may be specific conditions that lead to snoring in women. Some of the causes of snoring in women include pregnancy, hormones, menopause, genetics, lifestyle habits and possibly medical conditions.
There are three theories about why some women snore more often when pregnant: increased body weight, altered sleeping positions and hormones. Increased body weight leads to snoring in women if excess fat accumulates in the neck area. This constricts the body's airways, making it more likely for the uvula and the soft palate to vibrate with every breath taken.
Pregnant women also tend to sleep in different positions because of their growing abdomens. In some cases, this leads to angles where the airways are squashed, causing the woman to snore. In these scenarios, it often is enough either to tilt the snorer's head or to lower the head's position to achieve snoring relief.
Hormones also might be responsible for snoring in women. The exact mechanisms have not been determined by research. Some women, however, have reported that hormonal therapy has drastically decreased their snoring habits.
Menopause also is believed to cause snoring in women. In addition to weight gain and hormonal changes, menopause arrives at an age when the body's muscles are more relaxed. This includes the uvula and muscles that support the soft palate.
Genetics also might play a role in snoring. One reason that snoring in men occurs more than in women is because men tend to have narrower airways. It's highly possible that some women simply inherit this quality from their parents and end up snoring more than the average woman.
Certain lifestyle habits can lead to snoring in women, as well as in men. Drinking alcohol relaxes the muscles around the throat, so heavy drinkers are more prone to snoring. The same is true for smoking cigarettes and for some drugs and medications. Many individuals find that avoiding these substances for a few hours before sleeping greatly reduces the odds of snoring.
Lastly, snoring might be a symptom or effect of some preexisting medical condition. A cleft palate, for example, can alter the flow of air within the mouth and throat and lead to snoring. In such a case, it actually is possible to get corrective surgery that will reduce or eliminate snoring.