Home HealthTopics Health Centers Reference Library Research
Join us on Facebook Join us on Facebook Share on Facebook

Sleep Disorders

Gurgling in Throat and Nasal Cavity

12/22/2010

Question:

I have a real bad gurgling sound that comes from my throat, chest and naval cavity area. It can be heard real loud. It also confusing my wife to believe that I am snoring. The veteran`s hospital prescribed me this medicine by the name of omeprazole but it`s not working. Please give me some advice because the mrs. can`t stand the sound.

Answer:

The answer to this question really depends no what you mean by “gurgling sound” and if you have any other symptoms associated with this. This will require a full history and examination to determine if this is something simple that can be treated or requires additional testing.

The “gurgling” you describe could well represent snoring, though other possibilities include post-nasal drainage and gastroesophageal reflux disease. Post-nasal drainage frequently occurs in the setting of ongoing nasal congestion, which can be related to a number of factors, and is worsened by lying down on your back. Typically, nasal sprays or other medications can effectively control this symptom.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (also know as GERD or heartburn) is due to gastric contents coming up into the esophagus and irritating the esophagus and/or the upper airway. While it is typically not a noisy condition, if it were severe, it could make you cough and feel like you are choking. This condition is often aggravated by lying supine, especially if one eats near bedtime. Treatment of GERD includes lifestyle changes, diet changes and medications, such as omeprazole, which you have apparently been on without help. As such, GERD is less likely the cause of your problems.

In terms of sleep disorders, obstructive sleep apnea (which is a condition where one's upper airway behind their tongue and soft palate collapses during sleep) can cause symptoms of snoring, gasping for air, and unrefreshing sleep. The gurgling sounds you describe are not typically seen with sleep disorders but again, if the gurgling is more of a snoring sound, then this needs to be evaluated.

As your symptoms are not straight forward, I cannot give you a definite answer to your question through this forum. I recommend you be evaluated further by your primary care physician for your complaints and, if indicated, see a Sleep Specialist for further evaluation.

For more information:

Go to the Sleep Disorders health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Meena S Khan, MD Meena S Khan, MD
Clinical Assistant Professor of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep
Clinical Assistant Professor of Neurology
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University