Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy is an effective treatment for many people suffering from sleep apnea. Using a comfortable CPAP mask, sleep apnea sufferers can get enough oxygen in their system to sleep comfortably through the night.
But for all its advantages, CPAP therapy can cause some issues. One example is nasal congestion—dry, irritated airways, runny nose, and difficulty breathing. The good news is that CPAP nasal congestion has some clear causes, and there are some easy remedies to clear it up for your best night's sleep.
Top Causes of Nasal Congestion for CPAP Users
There are a few main reasons why some CPAP users experience nasal congestion.
If your mask leaks air, it can allow moisture to escape and dry out your nasal passages. Dry airways cause your body to produce more mucus as protection, but this can clog nasal passages, cause irritation and inflammation, and make breathing difficult.
Sometimes, the cause of congestion can be the air your CPAP machine is pushing into your nasal passages. If that air is too dry and cold, it can dry out your airways, even if your mask fits properly with a strong seal. This issue has an easy remedy, which we'll discuss later.
Allergies, Colds, & Sinus Problems
Another cause of congestion and discomfort for some people is that another condition is worsening the problem. For example, if you're prone to allergies, battling a cold, or have chronic sinus problems or a deviated septum, you may be more likely to experience nasal congestion and irritation as part of your CPAP therapy.
Possible Remedies for CPAP Nasal Congestion
No matter what is causing your nasal congestion during CPAP therapy, there are a number of ways to address the problem.
A Properly Fitting Mask
First, if your mask isn't fitting right, it might not create a strong enough seal against your face, allowing moisture to escape. Work with your sleep doctor to ensure proper fit. You might also consider using a different type of mask, such as a mask that covers your mouth as well as your nose. Finally, a RemZzzs® Mask Liner will help create a stronger, more comfortable seal no matter what type of mask you're using.
A CPAP Humidifier
As we mentioned before, if dry air is the culprit for your nasal congestion and discomfort, consider adding a humidifier to your CPAP machine. CPAP humidifiers and heaters help your equipment deliver properly warmed and moisturized air to your airways, keeping everything hydrated and comfortable.
Treatment from Your Doctor
If another issue like allergies or sinus problems is causing your nasal congestion, talk to your doctor. You may be able to get treatment for your allergies, and some CPAP machines have special filters for allergens. If you have a deviated septum or other sinus issues, you might consult an ear, nose, and throat specialist.
Whether you're experiencing nasal congestion or not, check out RemZzzs® soft, breathable cotton mask liners for the utmost in CPAP comfort and performance. Request a free sample below!