Most often, swallowing air is the result of breathing through your mouth. If you use a nasal cpap mask and a chin strap, you may find that nasal breathing stops you from swallowing air. Also, if you are new to CPAP therapy, you will find that this problem goes away after you get acclimated to using your CPAP.
People with sleep apnea stop breathing many times during the night. The very mildest case involves stopping breathing five times per hour and people with severe sleep apnea stop breathing as much as 400 times per night.
When this happens there are sometimes irregular heartbeats. And oxygen levels to the heart and brain sometimes drop and sometimes dramatically. This is a very serious medical condition. CPAP therapy is not easy but it is still the best therapy. Be patient, have courage, and be persistent. If you fail at this therapy ask your doctor to help you get a dental device, upgrade to a bi-level CPAP, or see if you’re a candidate for surgery.
Left untreated, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) or quitting CPAP can lead to dangerous heart problems, stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure and other serious health risks.
CPAP side effects bloating, burping and gas are some of the common side effects of CPAP therapy. The medical term for these side-effects is Aerophasia. Fortunately these issues can usually be managed with persistence and help from your CPAP therapy company.
If your stomach feels bloated or you burp a lot after using your CPAP, you may be swallowing excess air during your sleep. Sometimes it’s simply a matter of getting accustomed to relaxed, regular breathing with your CPAP. This is especially true if you are new to CPAP therapy.
Other times CPAP side effects Bloating, Burping and Gas are related to breathing through your mouth while using a full-face CPAP mask. If you are using a full face mask and feel that mouth breathing might be the issue, try a nasal mask or nasal pillows mask with an accompanying chin strap to keep your mouth closed while sleeping. We cover strategies for reducing or eliminating mouth breathing extensively on our Troubleshooting Guide – Dry Mouth page available to CPAP TotalCare members within their account.
It’s also a good idea to have your pressure setting checked. If you can get effective therapy at a lower pressure, it might help reduce CPAP side effects bloating, burping and gas. If you want help checking and adjusting our settings, you can work directly with one of our CPAP therapists who will analyze your therapy reports and work with your physician to modify your prescription.
Another simple way to reduce or eliminate aerophasia is to use an extra pillow to elevate your head. By lifting your head, you are putting a ‘bend’ in your airway which helps reduce or eliminate the amount of air that gets through your airway and into your stomach.
In any case, CPAP side effects bloating, burping and gas can usually be eliminated once the cause is addressed. If the problem persists, or is accompanied by ear discomfort, inform your doctor.
Tips & Notes Related to CPAP Side Effects Bloating, Burping and Gas
- Bloating and burping are common CPAP side effects caused by swallowing excess air during sleep
- Often goes away for new CPAP users after getting accustomed to therapy
- Check CPAP pressure and adjust if necessary
- May be related to mouth-breathing while wearing a full-face mask – try a nasal mask with chin strap
- Use an extra pillow to position your head higher and put a ‘bend’ in your airway
CPAP side effects bloating, burping and gas. What can you do?
The first place to go is to your CPAP equipment provider. They have experience with helping new patients who have difficulty adjusting to CPAP therapy. If you still need help, contact your physician so that he or she knows what you are going through and can recommend counseling or a mild medication.
Read everything that you can about sleep apnea. Good information is a powerful incentive and often helps inspire people to be patient and persistent. It takes time to adjust to CPAP therapy but it’s worth the effort. Also, learn more about relaxation and practice relaxation exercises when going to bed with your cpap machine so that the mind/body is more comfortable and falling asleep happens quicker and easier.
You might want to talk to a hypnotherapist who can help you to make gentle adjustments to your thinking and get beyond any phobia-like responses.
Waking up with a feeling from CPAP choking gasping for air is a very common experience. Getting acclimated to CPAP therapy is a process that takes time and persistence. During the evening before bed take your CPAP mask and machine into the living room and use your CPAP while awake and watching a favorite television show. Do this for 30 to 60 minutes allowing your mind and body to get used to the mask and the feeling of air flowing.
By using your CPAP while you are awake, you send a message to your body that tells it that you’re chosing to use this therapy and that it’s okay and safe. Remind yourself that CPAP is keeping your airway open all night so that you can breathe and sleep normally. Before CPAP you were awaking out of sleep many times per night without knowing it because your airway was closing over and over again. Soon you will find that you no longer have a feeling while you use your CPAP of choking gasping for air.
Also do relaxation or meditation exercises. Consider getting a good audio recording for sleep and relaxation. Over time anxiety will lessen and you’ll be able to get sleep that’s better than you’ve had in years.
- A common experience that goes away as you acclimate to therapy
- Try using your CPAP while awake and watching TV
- Work your way up to 30-60 minutes
- Focus on relaxing during theray, Give it time, and stay positive
The TotalCare Sleep Apnea disease management program is available free to any CPAP user and supported by qualified, professional, CPAP therapists. If you want help getting better sleep and better CPAP therapy, click here to create your free account, complete an interactive CPAP therapy checkup, and to give us some details about your CPAP equipment.