Many people experience the unfortunate side effect of gassiness related to CPAP. The air that is supposed to be going into your lungs is being forced into your stomach instead. this is often described as aerophagia, or swallowing of air, though it’s not always an active swallowing on your part.
Air in your stomach can lead to a number of uncomfortable symptoms in the morning. You might have a lot of burping, a bloated feeling, flatulence (farting), and even air vomiting. The symptoms can be so bad that many people feel that they can’t go to work without waking up early to relieve their gas.
However, there are some things you can try when CPAP is causing gassiness.
Adjust Your Pressure
The most common cause of gas in your stomach is just that the pressure is too high. Try turning down the pressure. It may take a little while to find the sweet spot where you don’t experience gassiness but you still get good treatment. Always remember to talk to your doctor about adjusting your pressure.
Make Sure Your Mask Fits
If your mask isn’t fitting properly, it might lead you to turn the pressure settings up to try to get more air in your lungs, which can lead to air swallowing. Fitting your mask properly can make a big difference in your results for the same air pressure, which means you might be comfortable with a lower air pressure.
Try a Different Mask
For some people, the problem is related to air being pushed in through the mouth. For other people, the problem is swallowing outside air. If you have a nose-only mask, try one that includes a mouth coverage. If you have a mouth only mask, try moving to a nose-only mask, if you can adapt to these. In general, the mask shouldn’t make a difference, but sometimes it does.
Get Treatment for GERD
Many people with sleep apnea experience gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Some of the symptoms of this may diminish with sleep apnea treatment, but the cause hasn’t necessarily gone away. GERD is related to a weak esophageal sphincter (valve), which is supposed to keep air out of the stomach as well as keeping acid in. Some people report that GERD treatments reduce the amount of air they swallow.
Change Your Sleeping Position
Some people swallow more gas when they’re sleeping on their back. Try sleeping on your side. If you have tried a few different positions without luck, try sleeping with your torso elevated. This can put a little bend in the esophagus, making it harder for air to get in there.
Bilevel positive airway pressure is a CPAP variation that uses variable air pressure to simulate (and stimulate) breathing. It can reduce the amount of gas you swallow because you won’t always have the same high level of pressure.
Switch to Oral Appliance Therapy
If CPAP-related gas is a major problem, consider oral appliance therapy. It holds your airway open without forcing air pressure into your esophagus. This could mean that you won’t swallow as much air, and, therefore, won’t have as much gas in the morning.
If you want to learn more about comfortable, convenient alternatives to CPAP in Omaha, please call(402) 493-4175 for an appointment with a sleep dentist at the Advanced Dental Sleep Treatment Center.