Common Problems

Top Reasons People Are Quitting CPAP Therapy

Consider this situation: a patient with a diagnosis of obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) arrives for a follow-up appointment. While speaking with the doctor, the patient announces that they are quitting CPAP therapy. This scenario happens often. Some patients want to stop therapy because they feel unable to tolerate it.

OSA is usually considered a lifelong condition, and data on unresolved OSA has shown the adverse physiological effects that can occur when Sleep Apnea treatment is stopped. Clinicians realize that follow-up appointments about CPAP therapy are necessary to ensure compliance with treatment.

Here are some of the top reasons Sleep Apnea patients are quitting CPAP therapy and a few suggestions on how to overcome these pain points.

Waiting Too Long Can Lead to Not Starting CPAP At All

Research has confirmed that the longer you wait to start CPAP therapy, after diagnosis, the more likely Sleep Apnea therapy is delayed all together. The pattern of CPAP use (or nonuse) is established shortly after diagnosis.

Patients must actively participate in their own treatment or CPAP will not provide effective therapy.

If you are newly diagnosed with Sleep Apnea, make sure that you get started with your CPAP equipment and therapy as soon as possible.

Discomfort with CPAP Equipment = Quitting CPAPthinking about quitting cpap

The CPAP mask may feel too large, small, or tight which can leave red marks on the face or give a feeling of claustrophobia. The CPAP air may be blowing too hard or it may be leaking out of the mask. Whatever the issue, there are lots of people who just can’t find comfort using CPAP equipment and therefore discontinue use.

At CPAP.com we have come to realize that Sleep Apnea patients don’t often know that they have a lot of choices when it comes to CPAP equipment. Usually they think they are stuck with the one CPAP, APAP, or BiPAP machine or mask that the durable equipment manufacturer (DME) supplied to them. And that is simply not true. When it comes to CPAP equipment, you have lots of options.

There are a number of solutions to the most common CPAP discomfort issues. CPAP supplies like mask pads or CPAP chin straps may be purchased to help with CPAP mask comfort.

Excess Air in the Stomach Can Be a Huge Pain

CPAP users who experience belching, stomach bloating, stomach distension and agonizing gas pains may be suffering from aerophagia. It’s the medical term for the phenomenon when air enters the esophagus, goes into the belly and causes bloating.

Aerophagia and stomach bloating is more common than you might think and it’s a subject that most don’t feel comfortable talking about.

But this side effect of CPAP use is important to discuss because with a few changes to CPAP therapy, it can be resolved.

Here are a few things that could cause this & suggestions on how to fix:

  • If your CPAP pressure is too high then the extra air that is blowing in the machine has nowhere to go except your stomach. Discuss your CPAP pressure with your doctor to see if you can get it decreased.
  • Contrary to above, your CPAP air pressure could be too low and doesn’t give you the needed support to help your Sleep Apnea events, so you gulp air quickly in an effort to get more into your lungs. Just like the above discuss this with your doctor to see if you need a higher pressure setting.
  • You may find it difficult to exhale over the constant pressure of the air delivered by a CPAP machine. Inhalation of a high pressure may be easy, but exhaling is more difficult. When this occurs, the patient may fall out of the natural rhythm of breathing and hyperventilation may occur. This can result in quick sucking in or gulping of air, and that air may be forced into the esophagus rather than the lungs. Available on most CPAP machines is a comfort feature called expiratory pressure relief. Depending on which brand of machine you have, it may be called CFLEX, AFLEX OR BIFLEX. This feature automatically reduces air pressure upon exhale and can help reduce or eliminate aerophagia.

Contact CPAP.com and see if this feature is enabled on your CPAP machine.

 

Dryness of the Nose & Throat Can Be Irritating

To one degree or another, CPAP air is an irritant to everyone. This irritation may build up over time or be a factor as soon as CPAP therapy begins.

CPAP air may:

  • Dry out the nasal passages and cause bleeding and/or swelling
  • Produce excess mucus, cause congestion, and/or sneezing
  • The nasal irritation also creates a very fertile ground for infections

Using humidification will add moisture to the CPAP air, therefore CPAP humidification is a critical part of CPAP Therapy.

Humidification is an added comfort feature, and although it increases compliance in most patients by making CPAP therapy more tolerable, a humidifier is not a requirement for CPAP therapy. So check your CPAP machine to make sure that it came with a humidifier.

There are two types of CPAP humidifiers

  1. Passover Humidifier or “Cold Humidifier”: Adds a chamber of water to the machine. The air picks up the available moisture as it “passes over” the water in the chamber.
  2. Heated Humidifier: This type of CPAP humidifier sits on a heater plate. The increasing temperature of the heater plate heats the water in the chamber and adds moisture to air flowing through.

Don’t Quit Your CPAP Therapy

There are many other reasons people are quitting CPAP therapy. Hopefully this list of the top four demonstrates that with every problem, there is a solution. So don’t give up. Nothing compares to the enhanced quality of life that a good night’s sleep will bring you when you continue your CPAP therapy!

Have you experienced any of these symptoms and want to share any tips you have for overcoming them? Let us know in the comments section.

28 Comments

  1. Lois stephens Reply

    my CPAP puts water in my tube and comes through my nose it is drowning me. so they told me to use it without water.yes, I have it lower than my bed.

    • Hi Lois,

      The water in your tubing is caused by the cooling of the air as it travels from your humidifier to your mask. The secret to stopping the water (called “rainout”), is to either use a heated hose or use a hose cover, like SnuggleHose. This keeps the temperature of the air more or less constant and stops the rainout. If you have any other questions, feel free to ask.

  2. Charles Bruno Reply

    I’m using Myair. I told my doctor that I don’t have sleep apnea, but rather dyspnea, but she seems to think that the study revealed that I have sleep apnea. I believe the study was skewed because of my gasping for air, (due to a paralyzed diaphram) registered it as an apnea event. 2nd: I wasn’t told that I had to register first to get my results, and wasted a whole night of no data, ineffectiveness and discomfort. 3: airplane mode seems counter intuitive. Do I turn airplane mode on or off to get it to work? 4: Why can’t I get results directly from my unit, and how does it count up the hours? Does it restart every night, or when I turn it off? 5: It’s kicking my air up to level 15, and pushing so much air down me, that it’s coming through the sides of my mask. My mouth is like a blow fish. Why did my doctor even recommend me this crappy device.

  3. I am quitting my CPAP because I suffer from occasional insomnia and when my readings showed I was only using the machine 60 percent of the time Medicare will no longer pay for it so I am returning the machine because I can’t afford to pay for it myself. Besides I am 65 yrs old and I will not be dictated to about my sleep schedule. I felt better before I started this thing anyway. The test was rigged because I didn’t sleep the whole time but they said I had 17 apnea episodes. As far as I can tell this is just another medical scam perpetuated buy the makers of these machines and some big pharma alarmests.

  4. Gerry mitchell Reply

    I am having ENT issues: wet ear, sinus pain, top teeth ache intermittently; and now ocular migraines. Don’t know if related but had now of these before latest mask change to amera. Had chronic corneas irritation before this .
    Help

    • Hi Gerry, I am sorry to hear that you have developed medical issues since starting your CPAP Therapy. I would encourage you to speak with your doctor about the symptoms that you have developed. For starters, you may want to try a mask other than the Amara since this seems to be around the time you developed additional problems. Also, make certain that you do not have any mask leaks and have your doctor re-evaluate your pressure settings, just in case your machine is set too low, or too high, it can be adjusted.

      We wish you the best!

  5. I have stopped using my CPAP because I get terrible runny nose with sneezing after about 3 days using the equipment. This runny nose/sneezing lasts for about a week. I have tried cleaning hose & mask every day. I have not yet purchased the CPAP cleaner advertised on TV and probably will not as I have heard too many negative comments. I used the nose pillows.

  6. I am really allergic to the silicone or whatever the nasal pillows and masks are made of. I have tried all three types of masks and I have hives, itching and welts wherever the equipment touches my skin. Me sleep physician says he can’t figure it out. I got all new equipment, a So Clean system, and I have tried everything. I am not using my machine now. After a week off of the machine my face is healed up. I have done several cycles of this. I always breakout from even the straps holding the masks onto my nose. Has anyone else experienced this.

    • Hey Sally, i’m sorry to hear that you are having some problems with being able to tolerate your CPAP masks. I have spoken with a customers that has sensitive skin and experience rashes. Usually, mask liners can assist with this, but since you are having issues with the straps as well, I am not certain.

      Have you tried any of the cloth masks? Please click on the link to view some of the cloth masks that we have available. I cannot say that these will be any better for you, but it may be worth a try.

      https://www.cpap.com/cpap-compare-chart-share/2ebn

      If you would like further assistance, please feel free to reach us at: 1-800-356-5221.

      We wish you the best!

    • I.have spent one month on full mask vpap. Then Dr. Switched me to madal.pillows. I’ve had a rash and hives on my shoulders and back. Is it possible it’s my CPAP????

      • Hi P. Schluter, whereas, I am unable to rule out the possibility that the rash and hives are caused from your CPAP, I can say that it is unlikely. I’ve heard of someone developing a rash on their face from the mask, but not other parts of the body. I would recommend, you speaking with your doctor about the rash and hives that you are experiencing on your back and shoulders.

        For further questions, or concerns, please feel free to reach us at: 1-800-356-5221.

        Enjoy your day!

      • I’m having same problem. I’ve recently started using cpap machine and develop unexplained hives and itching. I stopped using CPAP for a day and hives dissapeared; but mask on and cycle starts all over again
        My doctor says its impossible to be allergic to mask… I’m seeing an allergist next week, but definitely something is wrong with mask.

        • Hi Elba, you are definitely, making a great decision by seeing an Allergist. I hope your Allergist, is able to resolve the unexplained hives and itching that you are experiencing.

          Please feel free to reach us at: 1-800-356-5221, or e-mail us at: cpap@cpap.com with any questions, or concerns.

          We wish you the best!

  7. The CPAP makes me Zombiefied. This is NOT a “good night’s sleep”. I’ve struggled with it for almost a year, life was much better without it. It’s going in the trash soon.

    • Hi Don, I am sorry that you are not getting good sleep while using your CPAP Therapy. Have you spoken with your doctor about how your therapy makes you feel? It could be that making adjustments to your settings would allow you to feel more rested after using your CPAP Machine.

      If you would like to speak with us further regarding possible setting adjustments, or anything else, please feel free to reach us at: 1-800-356-5221, or you may e-mail us at: cpap@cpap.com.

      We wish you the best!

  8. Significant Weight gain is a common problem and there is now a clinical trial to learn more info about this side effect. For people who are obese, they can lose weight however if weight was not an issue in SA, beware the weight gain. A oral appliance supposedly does not have this side effect. Just read about it to make an informed decision. Weight gain and sleep apnea are both hazardous to health. Just be aware if you see that scale creeping up as it goes on easy but come off much harder.

  9. I’m experiencing difficulties with my Bi-PAP therapy which is making the treatment marginally effective. There is no problem with the Bi-PAP machine – the problem is with the mask. I’ve tried a multitude of masks and so far have found only one that is comfortable enough to wear. The problem I’m experiencing is that as a stomach sleeper I’m face down on the pillow which during the course of the night causes the mask to shift which results in noisy air leaks that awaken me. The only way to keep it from shifting is to make the straps painfully tight, but then I awaken from the discomfort. What’s so frustrating is that if I was sleeping on my back there would be no issue, but as a life long stomach sleeper I can’t suddenly become a back sleeper (I simply will not fall asleep and stay asleep that way). It seems like the designers of CPAP/BiPAP equipment gave no thought whatsoever to the unique issues of stomach sleepers. I’m about ready to punt on the whole thing.

    • Hello, I’m sorry to hear that you are having a difficult time in finding a mask that works well for you as a stomach sleeper.

      Don’t punt the whole thing yet, depending on the type of mask you are wearing, we may be able to offer some suggestions on a different mask that best fits your needs. Please reach us at: 1-800-356-5221, so that we may better assist you.

      Enjoy your day!

  10. Geraldine McFadden Reply

    Using CPAP for mild sleep apnea (ahi 9). Started 4/2/19. Using faithfully 4-7 hrs night. Bur my poor sleep of 6 restless broken hours before CPAP is now sleep deprivation with sleep of 2-3 hours bbroken up. I wear it to read myself to sleep–1.5 mg xanax and the book allow me to fall asleep 2-2.5 hrs after going to bed. I sleep about 1-1.5 hrs and wake up with hose caught, air leak, sound from air vent or sweaty.
    Awake for 1-1.5 hrs. Repeat CPAP issue. Alseep 1.5 hrs.
    I no longer feel safe driving I am so sleepy, I go nowhere socially-too crabby and tired, make myself to daily things and cry a lot.i dread going to bed. I am 70 and my life if worthless.

    • Hi Geraldine, i’m so sorry to hear that you are not getting the sleep that you need and deserve. Keep in mind that you are fairly new to CPAP therapy and it may take more time for you to become acclimated with your treatment.

      I have found that having the correct size mask with a comfortable fit, is key to successful therapy. You mentioned that you are awakened by air leaks sometime. What type of mask are you using? Is the mask the correct size? Are you comfortable wearing the mask in general?

      If your hose is getting caught, or tangled up, you may consider the HoseBuddy. See the link below for the product I’m referring to.

      https://www.cpap.com/productpage/HoseBuddy-CPAP-Hose-Suspension-System

      I understand that the sound coming from the machine can be bothersome at times. Which machine do you have? Some machines have very little sound such as the DreamStation, or the AirSense 10. If you have an air leak coming from your mask, or hose, the machine will be louder than it would otherwise be. Some folks use earplugs to avoid being awakened by the machine sounds.

      Waking up sweaty, is common in un-diagnosed Sleep Apnea patients, but receiving CPAP therapy, usually decreases the sweat instances that you have. Please see the link below to see what other users are saying about sweats.

      http://www.cpaptalk.com/viewtopic/t55945/Nights-Sweats-and-Tired.html

      I would strongly recommend you speaking with your doctor about all of the symptoms and lack of sleep that you are experiencing. Even though you may feel that the therapy is not beneficial to you, please, don’t give up, you will start to feel better and get better sleep once you have a comfortable, non-leaking mask.

      If you would like to speak with us further, please feel free to reach us at: 1-800-356-5221, or you may e-mail us at: cpap@cpap.com.

      We wish you the best!

  11. Sarah lemmon Reply

    I have used my cpap since 1985 I am now 69 and 90 lbs lighter, by chance I went camping and I had to go without my crap for several days and did fine. I would love to be weaned off my machine how do you do that. After 40 years I panic at the thought of not using it. How do you transition away from it

    • Hey Sarah, congratulation on your weight loss and your many years of successful therapy! You should never stop using your CPAP machine, unless you do so under guidance from your doctor.

      Have you had a recent sleep study? If not, I would recommend you speaking with your doctor about a having a new study to determine what level your Sleep Apnea is at. Your doctor would then provide you with medical advise to if you can stop using the machine, decrease use, or if you would benefit from different settings.

      If you would like to speak with me further, please feel free to call 1-800-356-5221 and ask for Carol.

      Have a wonderful day!

  12. Unfortunately for me it has held my cdl hostage. I haven’t worked in 3 months. I haven’t used my cpap in almost a year. I cannot use that thing. I’m more tired using it. If there was a way I could sue, for being forced to have it I would. Because I can’t pass my dot physical without the cpap readings.

    • Hi David, I’m sorry that you are having such troubles with your CDL. What are your hardships with using your CPAP machine? Sometimes taking small steps such as switching to a different mask, adjusting comfort settings on your machine, or speaking with your doctor about pressure setting changes can make using your CPAP machine more tolerable.

      You can speak with your doctor about alternatives to CPAP therapy as well. If you would like to speak with us regarding the difficulties you’re experiencing with using your CPAP machine, we would love to hear from you. Please call 1-800-356-5221 ask for Carol, or you may e-mail us at: cpap@cpap.com, Attn: Carol.

      Best Wishes!

  13. I have Dreamstation BiPap auto with F20 full face mask. I had ruptured brain aneurysm and subarachnoid hemorrhage/ stroke. Put on BiPap and oxygen in ICU in February. Home in March with oxygen, sleep study done, BiPap ordered and back on BiPap at the end of June. Index has been all over the place since then. Average AHI is 11.7. Dr. asks what I think we should do. DME says there is no way to do mask comparisons because Medicare won’t pay for that. So I can buy masks and pay $160 to $200 for each mask to give it a try? That just doesn’t sound reasonable to me. I pay between $50 to $80 a month for what I have that doesn’t work. Can anybody say scam?

    • Hi Mary, I’m sad to hear that you’re having such problems with your therapy. You may have your doctor review your sleep therapy data, to determine if a setting change is required to help decrease the number of AHI’s.

      Whereas, CPAP.com, doesn’t work with, or accept any insurance, most Medicare plans do have limitations on how many masks they will cover.

      With CPAP.com, you may try multiple masks under our free 30 day return policy. If you purchase a mask with us and don’t like it, simply return the mask using the e-mailed return label. Once we receive the mask back in our warehouse, you may receive a refund, or select a different mask (prescription required). You may find that purchasing a mask from an online company, is less expensive than your local company also.

      If you would like assistance with selecting a different mask, or have any other questions, or concerns, please feel free to reach us at: 1-800-356-5221, or you may e-mail us at: cpap@cpap.com.

      We wish you the best!

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