Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) devices improve nighttime breathing for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) sufferers. CPAP neutralizes snoring and reduces health risks due to OSA by using pressurized air to keep the trachea open. While using a CPAP can have great health benefits, it can also cause stomach bloating and discomfort. Bloating due to swallowing excessive amounts of air is known as aerophagia. Fortunately, you can cure the aerophagia and its associated symptoms by following the right combination of a few simple steps.
Sleep Postion Adjustment
The first and easiest cure you should try is adjusting your sleep position. The way your head and body are positioned can cause too much air going into the stomach, as opposed to the lungs where it belongs. Head positioning is often the culprit, because a forward-tilted head may close off the trachea and force air down the esophagus and into your stomach. Try sleeping in a different position, including one that tilts your head back slightly if it is too far forward. Talk to your doctor about the best sleep position for your nightly CPAP use.
You must keep your mouth closed while sleeping for the CPAP to work effectively. Pressurized air could leak out of an open mouth, or you may swallow it involuntarily all night. Breathing with your mouth closed at night may take some getting used to, but it usually comes with practice over time. Run your CPAP device and close your mouth securely before going to bed. Position yourself comfortably in a way in which it will not be easy to open your mouth while sleeping. Consult your doctor if you cannot stop breathing through your mouth at night.
Your doctor may change the pressure prescription on your CPAP if positioning and breathing adjustments do not work. Sometimes there is too much air pumping into your lungs. This air may then make its way down the esophagus and into your stomach. An air pressure decrease would help in this scenario. Your CPAP device may need to be replaced with a newer model equipped with better pressurization options and other functions to prevent aerophagia.