Side Effects of the CPAP Machine

CPAP machine has been in picture since quite some time. It has successfully treated individuals suffering from sleep apnea. Despite having a worldwide acceptance, one can’t stay completely immune to the side effects associated with CPAP machine. In most cases, the side effects are linked with wrong mask selection, existing ailment or incorrect practice followed by the patients. Let’s unveil some of the grave side effects associated with CPAP machine.

Nasal Congestion

CPAP machine can result into nasal congestion, nasal irritation or a running nose. This is primarily because the air present in the CPAP machine dries our nose. Our body is known for its spontaneous reaction during such instances, and it reacts by forming more mucus in the nose, which ultimately leads to nasal congestion. In cases, where there is no mucus production, it results into dry nose, thereby causing irritation in the nose. The only way to evade this problem is to use a CPAP machine which comes with an inbuilt humidifier.

Stomach Gas

Some individuals have raised the problem of stomach pain and gas. Although these side effects are not very common, it does effect a small chunk of people. Experts reckon that the problem of stomach pain and bloating is caused due to the large pillows within the CPAP machine. These problems can be eradicated by eliminating the use of pillows or by making use of wedge pillow. Some experts recommended reducing the air pressure to deal with these issues, however, this can impact the treatment.

Headaches and Ear Pressure

Few other prominent side effects of CPAP machine includes headache and ear pressure. This is most commonly witnessed by individuals having a sinus problem. These medical conditions can result into ear canal blockage, ultimately leading to pain within the ears. After having a word with the doctor one can discontinue the use of CPAP machine, if they tend to develop these problems.

Difficulty in Breathing

Some individuals experience difficulty in breathing with the use of CPAP machine. Most of these individuals are usually victims of sleep apnea. In most cases, CPAP machines are applied through the nose; individuals experiencing breathing difficulty may have to discontinue the use of CPAP machine after consulting the doctor. Individuals with these issues can make use of full face masks to avoid this problem.


Although this is not considered as a side effect, but the discomfort level connected with CPAP machine cannot be completely neglected. As a matter of fact, discomfort is one of the most general complaints amongst most CPAP users. A mask is usually fitted over your face or mouth, which can potentially cause lots of inconvenience, until you get a hang of these tools.

Also, people suffering from claustrophobia may find it extremely troublesome to sleep inside a machine. Claustrophobia is an ailment characterized by fear of being captive in a closed area.

There have been instances wherein the patients were not fully aware about the usage of CPAP machines. It’s important that one familiarizes oneself with the use of this machine to avoid unnecessary complications in life.

1 comment

  1. jw Reply
    July 27, 2012 at 1:03 am

    Read your FAQ area and discovered that I'm not the only one having issues with the CPAP machine. For me, it is fine with my Nasel Pillow at about 4 cm but totally impossible with the Mask 18 cm – 8 cm. It got so bad with the mask that I had a headache from CO² Retention within 5 minutes … plus my ears popped! The Pillows are useless because they make my nose bleed after 10 minutes. Now, I drive OTR (semi trucks) and have been told that I must use the CPAP Machine to keep driving for this company (now that the CPAP is assigned )… Isn't this harassment? I like my job at Schneider but Regulatory is forcing me to use something that is keeping me from sleeping… How is this safe & legal? ((no, they won't let me see my home Dr.)) it was their test! – JW

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