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How can I eliminate the aerophagia/gastric insufflation caused by my CPAP machine?

By Anonymous April 28, 2009 - 6:37pm
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I was diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea in 2007 and was prescribed a straight CPAP machine. From the first night I used the CPAP I suffered from excessive gas. Several medical "experts" told me I was swallowing air and I should raise my head or take something for the gas. I changed masks (full-face, partial, nasal prong). I got a heated humidifier. Nothing worked. After further reading I found that it isn't aerophagia but gastric insufflation caused when the CPAP blows air directly into my stomach (I also have a hiatal hernia). Surgery for my apnea is out of the question. I have TMJ so that eliminates an oral appliance. Would changing the type of CPAP work? If so, what should I be looking at?

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EmpowHER Guest

Well not only is the bloating a problem now scientist see that your gut has anaerobic bacteria, the good kind, that is killed once oxygen hits it. So when your CPAP pushes air into your intestines it could possibly be killing all of the good bacteria in your gut flora.

August 1, 2018 - 6:50am
EmpowHER Guest

Iam uesing apnea machine could that be cause me to have gas in my stomach and hurt really bad?

August 24, 2017 - 8:23pm
HERWriter Guide (reply to Anonymous)

Hello Anon

Yes, your C-PAP could be the cause. Read through this thread in detail to see if what worked for other people can work for you.

August 28, 2017 - 4:18pm
EmpowHER Guest

Really sympathetise. Am a newbie, three weeks in, 10 days on a pap and now 10 on cpap and I have literally gained a stone, with a hugely bloated stomach ( from breastbone to pubic bone) and breathing and exercise really hurt . Got signed off for a week but really panicking about how I will cope next week when I have to go back. Have very bad apnea 57 breaks per minute per minute and need pressure between 17 and 20 . Help please with bloating ,

November 29, 2016 - 6:30pm

I have used a CPAP for 10 years with the pressure being raised a few times. Suddenly about three months ago, I would wake up with painful gas and a bloated stomach. I have an appt. with a Gastro-Entero doctor which I will likely cancel now. I was at my first appt. with a new Sleep Doc. and the technician and I were discussing pressures and he mentioned something about 'swallowing air' !!
I had never heard of this and of course, it had never been my issue before now.
There are days when I am less than fully functional because of the gas pains. I do not seem to pass much of it and I assume it absorbs. Now we will be looking at a BiPaP to see if the variable pressures...inhale/exhale...can solve this issue. But, why has this just now started for me? after 10 years. My pressure has been 17-20 for about a year and a half. Now it is 18-20...so the gas may worsen. I also have yet to find an OTC medication to alleviate any of it. This is a bummer !!

April 16, 2016 - 10:07pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to CJC)

Wow, you sound like me. I have used a bipap for several years. Late last year , I gradually started swallowing air. Now it is constant. I wake up in so much pain. My stomach seems to be getting bigger. I've tried everything. I cut out the carbonated drinks, I bought a power bed to raise my head, and tried all the usual GERD medications. Nothing helps. Its embarrassing.

September 13, 2016 - 11:46am
EmpowHER Guest

I've been having occasional severe pain from gastric insufflation since I started using BIPAP a coupleof months ago. Last night I woke up in severe pain and severly bloated. It took about an hour but finally most of the gas passed and the pain subsided. At the time I was thinking of going to ER I was in so much pain. Can this be a life threatening event? Should I stop the BiPAP?

August 28, 2014 - 8:55am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

This is only life threatening if the gastric insufflation causes you to throw up and aspirate/inhale the gastric contents into the lungs. Your settings are likely too high whether CPAP or BIPAP. Consider an updated sleep study especially if you have had a change in weight. Also consider a nasal mask.

July 14, 2016 - 7:34pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Gastric insufflation can be a life threatening condition not only as a result of throwing up and gastric contents entering the lungs. It can also cause gastric and/or perforation (tear). Digestive system contents can enter the abdominal cavity, and cause serious, life threatening infection(s) and in a high percentage of cases (35% I’ve read) lead to death. DO NOT rely on the internet to determine the seriousness of the problem or think it is just ”swallowing air”. Consult your doctor immediately.

July 1, 2019 - 1:46pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

This was ME last night. It totally freaked me out. I was certain I was going to die from the pain (it was so intense). I have been on the BiPAP for a few years and it happens occasionally but never as bad as last night. I was 30 seconds away from heading to the ER. I dread using my BiPAP tonight for the fear of it happening again but I really don't have a choice.

October 24, 2014 - 9:16am
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