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Women New to CPAP Therapy

Table of Contents

Getting Started

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?

CPAP Masks for her

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:


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.

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15 thoughts on “Women New to CPAP Therapy”

  1. The inside of the hose I use gets moisture drops inside and makes an odd gurgling noise. I like to sleep in a cold bedroom. Do I need a heated hose?

  2. CPAPs are one HCPCS code which includes APAPs. BUT bi-levels have difnereft HCPCS codes for the various types of advanced therapy they provide. So there are more than two types of PAP devices.I mentioned the no mask typo earlier. There is a brand name NoMask mask but it doesn’t fit into your reference descriptions.Full face masks come w/adjustable headgear just as all the PAP masks that I know of do.Nasal cushion masks do NOT cover the mouth. Nasal pillows do NOT cover the mouth. The oro-nasal masks such as the Resmed Liberty do. To the best of my knowledge there are 4 styles of mask, each style having its own HCPCS code: full face, nasal cushion, nasal pillows and oro-nasal. I’m not sure yet whether there will be a separte HCPCS code for the new Respironics FitLife mask yet or not.There is at least one, and I think two, relatively new PAPs, one each from Resmed and Respironics, that were developed specifically for Cheyne-Stokes and central apneas. The Resmed Adapt SV comes to mind.PAP pressure is NOT at all dependent on the severity of one’s sleep apnea. Many w/severe OSA need relatively low PAP pressure whereas many w/mild OSA need quite high PAP pressure.CPAPs deliver pressure during both inhalation AND exhalation. At least Resmed and Respironics CPAPs have a form of expiration pressure relief (Resmed’s proprietary name is EPR, and Respironics’ propriety name is C-Flex or A-Flex). They just don’t provide a specific IPAP and EPAP pressure nor are they able to provide as much relief of expiration pressure as the bi-levels. Timed bi-level pressure is not the same type of bi-level as the straight or auto bi-level BPAPs (Respironics proprietary name) or VPAPs (Resmed’s proprietary name). The timed breathing bi-levels are an entirely difnereft HCPCS code.THE most important feature of ANY form of PAP device is that it be FULLY DATA CAPABLE. The entry level, basic compliance data only PAP devices have little value to patient or doctor as the patient encounters problems acclimating to PAP therapy. Compliance data is useful ONLY to the DME providers so that they can provide proof of compliant usage to insurances when and if requested.It is the face mask fit leaks that reduce PAP therapy effectiveness rather than the PAP itself. Once the needed PAP device and pressure setting(s) are determined the MASK becomes the most important KEY to PAP therapy success. The ability of CPAPs to compensate for leaks is limited.Most PAPs are warrantied by the manufacture for 2 years, there are some warranteed for 3 years. Most all insurances consider 5 years to be the life of a PAP. A service warranty is a waste of money.Top of the line CPAPs and APAPs can be purchased from reputable online DME suppliers for considerably less than a $1000.And it really should be pointed out to the patient that they shouldn’t expect a miracle overnight. Most PAP patients require an acclimation period before they achieve successful, comfortable, relatively leak-free PAP therapy.

  3. I cannot seem to find a mask that will work for me. While I can fall asleep with one on…I wake up in a panic and cannot pull it off my face fast enough. Any suggestions? I have tried 9 different masks already. 🙁

    1. Hey Holly, Sorry to hear you are having trouble. CPAP masks can be uncomfortable and a bit claustrophobic at times. The trick is finding the right mask that works for you. It sounds like you’ve tried quite a few masks already, but my recommendation would be to a mask that is as minimal as possible when it comes to facial ‘coverage’. The DreamWear is light weight and fairly unobtrusive around the face. We also offer a good selection of masks with Free Return Insurance. You can try out the mask for 30 days and if you don’t like it send it back with no risk. Feel free to give us a call at 1-800-356-5221 and chat with our CPAP experts for assistance.

  4. Any recommendation for a cpap that doesn’t use Velcro to fit the mask ? Velcro inevitably tears out my mothers hair when she has tried cpap. Thank you.

    1. Hey H trilling,

      Do you know what type of mask your Mother uses? The mask type will most likely be either a Full Face, Nasal Pillow or Nasal mask. The AirFit P10™ is a great Nasal Pillow mask that doesn’t use velcro.

      Our CPAP experts can help you pick out a mask that best fits your Mother’s needs. Give us a call at 1-800-356-5221.

  5. Any suggestions for keeping hair mess in the morning? I’m probably vain, but I don’t know whether to cut my air short or just live with it.

  6. I am a female using CPAP for 7 years. I have had nasal pillows that give me cold-like symptoms for weeks at a time. I have had many different nasal masks and now I have a face mask. None of them fit me and they all leak. I even use a chin strap to keep them on at night. CPAP equipment is not made to fit women and so the benefit is less. I have complained for 7 years to no avail. This industry is really tailored to benefit men, not women.

  7. I have the Philips Respironic Dreamwear Nasal Pillow and I love it. But my biggest issue is with the cloth strap in the back that you are supposed to adjust to have the best fit. Slides up the back of my head while I sleep. Therefore, the mask loses its seal or completely falls off. I have tried going super tight, pulling the back down on my head but it all ends the same with it riding up and off. I have tried putting my hair in poly tails to act as a barrier, but its really uncomfortable to sleep in ponytails. This actually happens with all nasal pillow masks I’ve tried. I don’t want to go back to a nasal or full face. Please help!

  8. Sandra Billington

    I use a nasal cpap and I really don’t have a problem with the nostril part of the mask but do have a problem with the head gear. I am a side sleeper so the nasal cpaps work best but the straps end up resting on the area in the crease of my ears and scalp and that area becomes very sore and I then avoid using the mask altogether. Someone suggest wearing a skull cap to protect that area. Not sure what to do.

    1. Hey Sandra, you may want to try a CPAP soft cap. Please see the link below for more information.


      Alternatively, there are a lot of nasal masks out that has different types of headgear that may suit your needs. It is very important that you find a mask/headgear that is comfortable for you. Please see the link below to find some non-standard headgear.


      All of our masks are sold with risk free returns up to 30 days.

      Best of luck!

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