If you leave your reservations at the door, taking the first step will be simple. You need 3 parts to get your CPAP therapy started, a CPAP machine, tube, and a face mask. From there, it just takes some knowledge and perspective. Here’s some common questions answered and tips to help women new to CPAP therapy.
1. Do They Carry This in My Size?
With more and more woman getting diagnosed with Sleep Apnea and new to CPAP therapy, so too are manufacturers responding. Now there are masks designed especially for women, which come in petite sizes to accommodate female facial features. Some masks even have special headgear options to help avoid “headgear hair”. Here are some masks women find comfortable:
- The headgear-free TAP PAP Nasal Pillow Mask
- Swift FX Nano For Her Nasal Mask
- Quattro FX for Her Full Face Mask
2. Mask Seal Can Make or Break Your Therapy
Remember it’s not the way you look that determines the right fit. When deciding on a mask, think about the kind of seal you will be achieving. Mask leaks are the most common problem that users face, and the best way to prevent this is to pay attention not only to the right style but the size as well. If you are shopping online, take advantage of our free return insurance on all masks. This way you can choose from a variety and not feel stuck.
3. Get Comfortable with Your Equipment
Some users new to CPAP therapy found it helpful to wear their mask around the house for a few days, to get used to the feel. Another helpful tip is to increase the ramp feature on your CPAP, which will gradually increase the amount of pressure delivered over a certain time frame to allow you to fall asleep at a lower pressure. Additionally, users have a tough time using their therapy all night. It’s important to bear with it, but using your therapy a couple hours a night is still more beneficial than not at all.
4. Is Humidification Necessary?
This is the oldest trick in the book, moisturizing! Although humidification is introduced as an option in many cases, it’s best to involve it from the start. Using a heated humidifier along with your CPAP machine will eliminate common side effects such as a dry nose. A heated hose may also be helpful in reducing rainout, which occurs when water drops from the humidified air (Think of a cold glass of water on a hot summer’s day). Rainout can be annoying, but you can also get rid of it by using a hose cover with your therapy. Hose covers work to keep the air at a constant temperature as it travels through the hose to your nose or mouth. This way, the humidified air maintains the ability to stay at a constant temperature and water has a reduced chance of dropping out of the air. A heated hose does the same thing.
5. Accessorize Your Equipment
Take your therapy one step further by using products that contribute to the comfort of your equipment. If you experience any pressure marks from your mask, try using strap pads which adds more padding between you and your headgear. If the pressure you are experiencing is at the bridge of your nose try nasal pads which will help alleviate any marks your mask may leave behind.
New Research Findings
- Sleep Science & Practice: Women in Healthy Relationships Are More Likely to Stick With CPAP Therapy According to a study published in the medical journal Sleep Science & Practice in 2017, scientists found that women who are in a supportive relationship with a life partner were more likely to stick to CPAP therapy than unmarried women or women in a relationship with high conflict1
- Sleep Disorders: Women With the Worst Sleep Apnea Symptoms Are More Likely to Stick With CPAP Therapy In addition to the research findings above, scientists have also concluded that women with the most severe Sleep Apnea symptoms are far more likely to stick with CPAP therapy treatment than women with mild Sleep Apnea2.
The research findings suggest that treatment compliance among women depends on a lot of factors, including how severe the symptoms are. Sticking with CPAP therapy and treatment can be a challenge for most people, but the benefits to doing so far outweigh the discomfort one may experience when using the equipment. Research also suggests effective CPAP therapy has been shown to improve overall health, especially cardiac health3.
Have additional questions about CPAP masks? We’ve written a comprehensive guide to: CPAP masks that can help you as you decide which mask to choose, and how to pick the right one for you.
The biggest thing to take away from this is that you know you have options, no therapy is alike. Now that you have the inside scoop on getting started, you are already one step closer to better sleep. Happy CPAP-ing!
1. Glazer-Brown, Kelly, et. al. Relationships and CPAP Adherence Among Women with Obstructive Sleep Apnea Published in the medical journal Sleep Science & Practice in January 2017. Accessed on August 24, 2018.
2. Rizzo, D, et. al. CPAP Treatment Adherence in Women with Obstructive Sleep Apnea Published in the medical journal “Sleep Disorders” on March 2, 2017. Accessed on August 24, 2018.
3. Weaver , Terri E. and Grunstein, Ronald R. Adherence to Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Therapy The Challenge to Effective Treatment Published on February 15, 2008. Accessed on August 24, 2018.