Most CPAP users experience mild to moderate side effects, explains National Sleep Foundation. These may include claustrophobia, allergies, skin irritation, stomach bloating or dry mouth, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). Common nasal side effects are nosebleeds, sinusitis, sneezing, congestion and runny nose.
People who feel claustrophobic while wearing their CPAP mask should try wearing it for gradually longer periods during the day without turning on the CPAP machine, according to Mayo Clinic. They must become accustomed to the mask first before adding air pressure. Masks come in a variety of sizes and styles, so patients can experiment with different designs to find a mask that feels comfortable. Trying a different style of mask may also help patients who experience allergies or irritation, NHLBI advises.
Stomach bloating is caused by air pressure, declares NHLBI. Typically, it is relieved when a sleep specialist adjusts the settings of the CPAP machine. Nasal problems are often alleviated when a patient uses a machine with a built-in heated humidifier. Over-the-counter nasal saline sprays used at bedtime are also sometimes helpful, though certain patients require prescription steroid sprays.
Patients who experience dry mouth typically benefit from using a CPAP machine designed with a built-in humidifier, states NHLBI. However, if the dry mouth is caused by breathing through the mouth, using a chin strap is recommended. In certain cases, the fit of the mask may need to be adjusted so air does not leak into the mouth.