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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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I'm going on night 3 of my new CPAP machine. Today I awoke with severe stomach pain, gassiness, bloating and constant belching alllllll daaaaayyyy long, Grrrrrr!!! How annoying. I swear to me, this thing isn't worth using if I'm going to be in constant agony every day! I mean it was so bad I did not get 1 thing accomplished. :( So I found your forum here to get some answers and I have so thanks much. Going to learn more about my machine compared to other kinds. Going in to see my sleep doc to get her advice on maybe lowering the pressure for a bit then titrating it up a little each month to see if I can acclimate to it better.

March 21, 2014 - 12:10am
EmpowHER Guest

I am on a 2 week trial of an apap and then they will set my new cpap, but I have noticed quite a bit of gas and bloating on the apap. will this get worse once they set it to one level?

January 11, 2012 - 7:04am
EmpowHER Guest

Taping your mouth shut doesn't stop gastric insufflation, since your nose is connected to your esophagus as well. Air forced into your nose is getting passed the sphincter at the bottom of your esophagus. Talk to your doc about switching to an APAP. Lower pressure for most of the time will greatly reduce the gas.

October 17, 2011 - 2:50pm
EmpowHER Guest

I am on a bi-pap and I woke up this morning with such large amounts of stomic pain! I think it is gastric insufflation. But I don't know what to do about it. Do I cll the doc, do I wait it out, do I rush to the er? Ugg!

May 15, 2011 - 5:25am

It was my question that started this strand. I am delighted to say that after being prescribed an Auto-titrating machine I no longer suffer from the gastric insufflation. My suggestion to anyone who is suffering with gas because of a single-pressure CPAP is to begin the process to obtain an APAP or BIPAP machine. When I requested an APAP my HMO denied me. After filing a grievance (California allows such actions) I was tested by the HMO sleep lab and after some time was prescribed the new machine. Luckily my HMO had begun to "see the light" and realized that because of the gas many apnea patients simply put the machines on the shelf rather than suffer every night.

If you are one of those or have continued to have problems with gas while using a CPAP, by all means start the process of requesting an auto or bilevel machine. As noted in one of the responses above, gastric insufflation can cause some serious health problems and prescribing an auto or bilevel machine should be "formulary" for those with the problem.

August 23, 2009 - 10:45am
(reply to fritzgla)

Hi, I was diagnosed with both obstructive and central sleep apnea. Therefore, I started with a VPAP machine. Because I had TMJ replacement surgery, I became a mouth breather at night. I had been using a full face mask for about a yr. But due to pain and chronic air leakage, I was neither enjoying or benefitting from the experience. To make a long story longer, I quit the machine for a yr. Last week I went back on the machine with a new nasal mask (the tech explained that all mouth breathers do it out of habit and therefore it can be unlearned). Now, I am experiencing air in my stomach. I never experienced that with the full face mask. But because of my nose structure, the full face mask will ALWAYS leak. Maybe, its happening because of the fixed mobility of my jaw or the achalasia. Regardless, after reading these posts, I am feeling more discouraged than ever. I personally would like to give up but my girlfriend won't let me... not sure what to do know, my patience is nonexistent. Probably need to get more sleep or something

September 6, 2014 - 10:18am
EmpowHER Guest

I have a similar question. My husband started using a cpap a few months ago and he has terrible gas and sometimes pains in his stomach. I would love some help to let me know any helpful tips for this.

Thank you

July 6, 2009 - 8:38pm
(reply to Anonymous)

Did the above comments/suggestions not help you, or relate to your situation?

If not, can you be more specific in your question, so that we may provide more information.

August 23, 2009 - 6:55am
EmpowHER Guest

I too am interested to find out how to eliminate the aerophagia/gastric insufflation caused by the CPAP machine? My husband recently had a trip to the ER with an extended abdomen and blockage. They stated there was so much air in is abdomen from the CPAP that it was blocking food to flow through his stomach and into his intestines. He was in a great deal of pain and had lost 20lbs in 3 weeks. Any help here would be greatly appreciated.

May 23, 2009 - 10:08am
Expert HERWriter

Hi Anonymous!

Thank you so much for visiting the website and for posting your question for us. Like alysiak, I'm sorry that you are having problems with your CPAP. I know so many people with sleep apnea, it is unreal. Some use CPAPs and others get by with things like Breathe Right strips, and some have had surgery to correct it.

The part of your post that jumped out at me was the comment about your TMJ. Did a doctor tell you that you can't use an oral appliance or did you decide this on your own, based on your jaw issues? The reason I'm asking is that I have a good friend who has a TMJ-like condition (basically she sprained her jaw from clenching her teeth so hard at night) and she sees a dentist specialist who deals with facial pain and he told her that many people with sleep apnea also have TMJ because clenching your jaw can help open your airway. My friend also has a mild to moderate case of sleep apnea and what she was saying makes sense. The dentist/specialist wants to re-test her for apnea to see how bad it is now and will probably fit her for an oral appliance that I believe will treat both the apnea and the TMJ.

So maybe all is not lost with the oral appliance. I can get you the name of the specialist my friend sees if you'd like it. She lives in the Phoenix area. It might be worth getting a second opinion on the TMJ angle.

If there is anything we can do to improve the website please let me know. I would welcome your opinion. Thank you again for your question. Best in health, Michelle

April 28, 2009 - 10:51pm
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