CPAP is still considered the most effective treatment for sleep apnea, but it does have a number of unfortunate side effects. One of these is that the treatment can make you gassy. Because CPAP is constantly forcing pressurized air into your body, some of it air can force its way into your stomach or be swallowed in your sleep.
This can make you feel really uncomfortable when you wake up. People report bloated feelings, burping, flatulence, and air vomiting, an uncomfortable experience similar to dry heaves but expelling a significant quantity of air from the stomach.
Don’t let gassiness keep you from treating your sleep apnea — here are some ways to get sleep apnea treatment without gassiness.
Adjust Your Pressure
One of the simplest ways to reduce gassiness is to turn down the CPAP pressure. With lower pressure, less air will be forced into your stomach. Talk to your doctor about adjusting your CPAP pressure, and remember that it might take a few tries to find a setting that is high enough to prevent apneas but low enough that it doesn’t cause gassiness.
Check the Fit of Your Mask
If you’re having trouble finding the right setting for your CPAP, it might be because your mask isn’t fitting properly. If your mask has a poor seal, you might have to set the pressure up higher to maintain treatment all night, and this leads to more air being forced into your stomach when the mask is on.
Try a Different Mask
The style of your mask shouldn’t make that big a difference in the amount of air you’re getting, but in some situations it can influence the amount of air you’re swallowing. For some people with nose-only masks, swallowing outside air can be a problem, while for those with mouth-covering masks, they might swallow more air from the CPAP.
Get Treatment for GERD
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is common in people with sleep apnea. One potential cause of GERD is a weak sphincter at the top of the stomach, which allows stomach acids to escape. While stomach acids are escaping air from CPAP may be making its way into your stomach.
Some people report that GERD treatments reduce CPAP-related gassiness.
Change Your Sleeping Position
Sleeping on your back makes you swallow more air, just like it makes snoring worse. Try sleeping on your side. If that doesn’t work, elevating your torso may help because it narrows the esophagus.
CPAP has a continuously high level of air pressure (it’s even in the name!). BiPAP stands for bi-level positive airway pressure, and it uses two different levels of air pressure to simulate a more natural breathing pattern. Because the air pressure isn’t constantly high, it can also decrease the amount of air being forced into your stomach.
Switch to Oral Appliance Therapy
If gassiness or other problems are making life with CPAP intolerable, there are other options for sleep apnea treatment. Oral appliance therapy is a sleep apnea treatment that doesn’t involve the forced air that leads to gassiness.
To learn whether oral appliances or other treatment options can relieve you of CPAP difficulties in River Edge, NJ, please call (201) 343-4044 for an appointment with a sleep dentist at the River Edge Dental.