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How can I eliminate the aerophagia/gastric insufflation caused by my CPAP machine?

By Anonymous April 28, 2009 - 6:37pm
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I was diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea in 2007 and was prescribed a straight CPAP machine. From the first night I used the CPAP I suffered from excessive gas. Several medical "experts" told me I was swallowing air and I should raise my head or take something for the gas. I changed masks (full-face, partial, nasal prong). I got a heated humidifier. Nothing worked. After further reading I found that it isn't aerophagia but gastric insufflation caused when the CPAP blows air directly into my stomach (I also have a hiatal hernia). Surgery for my apnea is out of the question. I have TMJ so that eliminates an oral appliance. Would changing the type of CPAP work? If so, what should I be looking at?

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EmpowHER Guest

I've been having occasional severe pain from gastric insufflation since I started using BIPAP a coupleof months ago. Last night I woke up in severe pain and severly bloated. It took about an hour but finally most of the gas passed and the pain subsided. At the time I was thinking of going to ER I was in so much pain. Can this be a life threatening event? Should I stop the BiPAP?

August 28, 2014 - 8:55am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

This was ME last night. It totally freaked me out. I was certain I was going to die from the pain (it was so intense). I have been on the BiPAP for a few years and it happens occasionally but never as bad as last night. I was 30 seconds away from heading to the ER. I dread using my BiPAP tonight for the fear of it happening again but I really don't have a choice.

October 24, 2014 - 9:16am
Susan Cody HERWriter Guide (reply to Anonymous)

Hi Anon

You may have your BIPAP on a very high setting - do you? Also, do you know if you breath through your nose or mouth? Mouth breathing is a culprit of this kind of gastric insufflation. It's not a life threatening event but it's an enormously painful one. You must have pretty severe sleep apnea to be on a BIPAP, is that correct?


September 1, 2014 - 7:49am
KC's Creations

I'm going on night 3 of my new CPAP machine. Today I awoke with severe stomach pain, gassiness, bloating and constant belching alllllll daaaaayyyy long, Grrrrrr!!! How annoying. I swear to me, this thing isn't worth using if I'm going to be in constant agony every day! I mean it was so bad I did not get 1 thing accomplished. :( So I found your forum here to get some answers and I have so thanks much. Going to learn more about my machine compared to other kinds. Going in to see my sleep doc to get her advice on maybe lowering the pressure for a bit then titrating it up a little each month to see if I can acclimate to it better.

March 21, 2014 - 12:10am
Susan Cody HERWriter Guide (reply to KC's Creations)

Hi KC's Creations

I'm sorry you're going through this! As I have mentioned before, my husband had to do a lot in order to achieve a healthy and comfortable level over the years. The first few weeks/months are hard (I know that's bad to hear when you are only a few days in) but it will get better - keep us posted as to how your doctor visit goes. 


March 24, 2014 - 9:43am
EmpowHER Guest

I am on a 2 week trial of an apap and then they will set my new cpap, but I have noticed quite a bit of gas and bloating on the apap. will this get worse once they set it to one level?

January 11, 2012 - 7:04am
EmpowHER Guest

Taping your mouth shut doesn't stop gastric insufflation, since your nose is connected to your esophagus as well. Air forced into your nose is getting passed the sphincter at the bottom of your esophagus. Talk to your doc about switching to an APAP. Lower pressure for most of the time will greatly reduce the gas.

October 17, 2011 - 2:50pm
EmpowHER Guest

I am on a bi-pap and I woke up this morning with such large amounts of stomic pain! I think it is gastric insufflation. But I don't know what to do about it. Do I cll the doc, do I wait it out, do I rush to the er? Ugg!

May 15, 2011 - 5:25am
Susan Cody HERWriter Guide (reply to Anonymous)

Hi Anon

Definitely put a call into your doctor or go to the ER if the pain is so bad you can't function. It may not be gas; it may be your appendix or something else. Do you have any other symptoms that pain?

May 16, 2011 - 8:44am

It was my question that started this strand. I am delighted to say that after being prescribed an Auto-titrating machine I no longer suffer from the gastric insufflation. My suggestion to anyone who is suffering with gas because of a single-pressure CPAP is to begin the process to obtain an APAP or BIPAP machine. When I requested an APAP my HMO denied me. After filing a grievance (California allows such actions) I was tested by the HMO sleep lab and after some time was prescribed the new machine. Luckily my HMO had begun to "see the light" and realized that because of the gas many apnea patients simply put the machines on the shelf rather than suffer every night.

If you are one of those or have continued to have problems with gas while using a CPAP, by all means start the process of requesting an auto or bilevel machine. As noted in one of the responses above, gastric insufflation can cause some serious health problems and prescribing an auto or bilevel machine should be "formulary" for those with the problem.

August 23, 2009 - 10:45am
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