Can You Snore Without Tonsils and Adenoids?

  • By: The DIG for Kids
  • Time to read: 4 min.
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You can snore without tonsils and adenoids, and many adults these days do. Enlarged tonsils and adenoids are one of the biggest reasons children snore; however, snoring is the result of a blocked airway when you sleep, meaning there are many other health concerns that may contribute to this nighttime nuisance.

So, why do people snore, and can removing their tonsils and adenoids cure this symptom? For that answer and more, continue reading this article.

Can You Snore Without Your Tonsils and Adenoids?

One of the biggest reasons people snore is due to enlarged tonsils and adenoids. Often, these parts of the throat can become enlarged and will partially block your airway, which then becomes even more of an issue once you’re lying down ready for bed.

While you sleep, your body is gasping for air, trying to get oxygen through the blocked route to your lungs. That gasping sound is snoring. 

While removing the tonsils and adenoids can reduce or eliminate snoring for some, it may have no effect on others at all. In that case, you will still snore even with the tonsil and adenoids gone, and there is another underline issue that needs to be addressed.

Why Do People Snore?

People can snore for many different reasons, however, one of the top reasons is OSA or Obstructive Sleep Apnea. This is a condition suffered by millions of people all around the world and is the result of partial or even complete blockage in your airway making causing you to stop breathing at night.

Tonsils and adenoids are the number one reason for OSA in children and can even be the cause in adults. 

The top symptom of OSA (but not always) is snoring. Often, when children are diagnosed with OSA, they are scheduled for surgery to have their tonsil and adenoids removed. After the surgery, most cases are cleared up, and the child is sleeping much more sound.

However, OSA isn’t the only thing that can cause snoring. While Obstructive Sleep Apnea is  big factors other common causes for snoring include:

  • Central Sleep Apnea
  • Complex Sleep Apnea
  • Being Overweight
  • Smokers
  • Having a large neck circumference
  • Older age
  • Medications
  • Alcohol consumption

Anything that can affect your breathing, respiratory system, or throat can lead to snoring issues.

Do You Have Your Tonsils and Adenoids Removed Because of Snoring?

If your tonsils and adenoids are the reason for your snoring, it is ideal to have them removed. While it used to be considered a bad idea for adults to have this surgery done, it is becoming more and more common as the medical field is improving its equipment and technique.

Although tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy is more permanent solution to the problem, it isn’t the only way to stop the snoring.  At the same time, your snoring my have nothing to do with your tonsil and adenoids.

How to Stop Snoring 

If your snoring has nothing to do with your tonsil and adenoids, then it may be caused by a deviated septum. This is where the cartilage in your nose is blocking your nasal passage. This is another condition that is often treated with surgery.

Not all solutions require surgical intervention or even a doctor’s visit. Here is a list with a few options to help resolve snoring on your own.

  • Lay on your side and avoid laying on your back- If you struggle to stay on your side, wear a backpack stuffed with blankets to bed or sew a tennis ball into the back of your shirt, this will keep you from rolling onto your back after falling asleep.
  • Quit smoking– Smoking will irritate your upper airway, causing it to swell and block the air from entering your lungs.
  • Lose Weight– Being overweight is a top cause of OSA and snoring. If you lose weight, your body is less likely to suffocate itself and will decrease the need to gasp for air.
  • Do not drink alcohol before bed- Alcohol is known for relaxing your throat muscles which in turn obstructs the airway leading to snoring.
  • Nasal Strips– Nasal strips are an excellent option for those who snore during allergy season or with a slightly deviated septum. It will reduce snoring by opening your nasal passages wide.

Because snoring is an indication you are not breathing while sleeping, you should consult a doctor if you are suffering from serious signs and symptoms of OSA or sleep deprivation.

Alternative Options to Tonsillectomy and Adenoidectomy

Surgery isn’t for everyone, and some people aren’t even a candidate for it even if they wanted to. If your snoring is due to oversized tonsils and adenoids and you are unable to have them removed, you can always see a sleep specialist who can refer you to a respiratory therapist and have you set up on a CPAP machine.

You may also be prescribed medications or nasal sprays to reduce the inflammation and open your airways.

What is a CPAP machine?

A CPAP or Continuous Positive Air Pressure is a device you use at night while you sleep. You place a mask over your nose and mouth, and a steady flow of air is pushed into your nose, providing you with oxygen throughout the night.

The pressure can be adjusted by your doctor depending on how you are feeling and whether or not your OSA and snoring are under control.

While these machines may take a little bit of getting used to, they are very popular with many adults and elderly patients, and there are many models and masks you can choose from in order to make it a comfortable fit.


Although having your tonsils and adenoids removed can be a good way to help reduce or eliminate snoring altogether, unfortunately, it isn’t a cure-all option, and you can still snore even after they are gone. If you are struggling with snoring problems and your tonsil and adenoids are gone, you should contact your physician to discuss future treatments.