Why does CPAP make me burp and fart?

Why does CPAP make me burp and fart?

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What’s inside?

  • Why does CPAP make some people burp and fart?
  • How do I know I’m suffering from aerophagia?
  • What can cause aerophagia?
  • How can I fix my aerophagia problem?


Why does CPAP make some people burp and fart?

As with many CPAP related stuff, this is medical… so it needs to have a fancy Greek or Latin name. Otherwise, how would we know to take it seriously, eh?

The ‘aero’ bit means air (not too difficult that one) and the ‘phagia’ means eating (maybe not so obvious). So, we’re essentially swallowing air.

This air then accumulates in the stomach, leading to various uncomfortable symptoms including burping and farting.

How do I know I’m suffering from aerophagia?

Now, why does this concern us CPAP users?

CPAP machines work by pushing air into your airways to keep them open while you sleep. This is great for preventing sleep apnea episodes, but sometimes, this continuous flow of air can lead to excess air being swallowed, especially if the CPAP pressure settings are not optimal or if the mask fit isn't quite right.

Symptoms to watch out for include bloating, stomach pain, burping, flatulence (yep, back to farting), and even discomfort in the chest and neck area. Overall, a wide selection of things to cause you grief.

What can cause aerophagia?

To tackle aerophagia, we first need to understand why it's happening. Several factors can contribute to this condition for CPAP users, including:

  • High CPAP Pressure: Sometimes, the air pressure from the CPAP machine is set too high for your needs, leading to more air being swallowed.
  • Mask Fit: An ill-fitting mask can cause you to open your mouth during sleep, increasing the likelihood of swallowing air. If you’re a mouth-breather, you are going to be opening your mouth anyway but having a correctly fitted mask will allow you to breathe in the way you normally would instead of compensating for the poor mask seal.
  • Sleeping Position: Certain positions, like sleeping on your back, can make you more prone to swallowing air.
  • Type of CPAP Machine: Different machines (like CPAP, BiPAP, or AutoPAP) and settngs could affect how much air you swallow.

How can I fix my aerophagia problem?

It isn’t all bad news though… you can do several things to reduce or prevent aerophagia while using your CPAP machine:

  • Adjust the Pressure Settings: Work with your healthcare provider to find the optimal pressure setting for your CPAP machine. Sometimes, a slight adjustment can make a big difference.
  • Get the Right Mask: Make sure your CPAP mask fits well. A mask that's too loose or too tight can contribute to aerophagia. There are different types of masks (nasal, full face, nasal pillows), so find the one that works best for you.
  • Consider a BiPAP Machine: If CPAP isn't working for you, a BiPAP machine might be a better option. It provides two levels of pressure – higher when you inhale and lower when you exhale, which can help reduce swallowed air.
  • Change Your Sleeping Position: Most CPAP users find it difficult to sleep on their fronts but if you recognise back sleeping as a possible cause of your excess air intake, maybe trying to sleep on your side is worth experimenting with.
  • Eat and Drink Mindfully: Avoid eating large meals or drinking carbonated beverages right before bed, as they can increase gas and bloating.
  • Practice Good Sleep Hygiene: Establish a regular sleep schedule, create a comfortable sleep environment, and avoid caffeine and alcohol before bedtime to improve overall sleep quality.
  • Regular Check-Ups: Regular follow-ups with your healthcare provider are crucial. They can help monitor your therapy and make necessary adjustments.

So... what to make of it all?

Aerophagia can be an unwelcome side effect of CPAP therapy, but with the right strategies, it can be managed effectively. It is important to remember though, every CPAP user is different, so what works for one person may not work for another. It's all about finding the right balance and setup that works for you.

Keep Breathing.

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