What are the common side effects of CPAP therapy and how can they be avoided?

With good preparation, patient education and a bit of trial and error, CPAP therapy can be a comfortable experience for anyone. However, at times you may experience any of the following. Below are the most common side effects of using a CPAP machine and how patients can avoid them:

Nasal congestion

Nasal congestion is a common complaint among CPAP machine users. This is mainly because there is lack of adequate moisture in the air that you breathe in. Diet can also add to mucous build-up in the sinuses.

A humidifier could help improve such issues. You can use an insulating cover for your CPAP hose to prevent condensation whenever you use a heated humidifier. Nasal sprays or nasal irrigation with dedicated machines such as a Hydro Pulse can effectively drain and clear up the sinus airways.

Dry eyes

Some people who uses CPAP machines and masks observe that their eyes tend to dry out in the morning. This is caused by air leaking from your oversized CPAP mask. This issue can be resolved by getting a CPAP mask that fits you.

Measuring your facial features can best help you choose the right size of CPAP mask. You can use a nasal pillow and cushion devices for a better fit. Also make sure that you would not tighten your headgear too much as it may cause bruises and sores.


You may begin to notice break outs in areas that surround your nose. Allergies may appear as rashes or skin reddening. Sometimes the forehead area may also show signs of breakouts.

Most people who experience breakouts may be allergic to silicone. Washing your masks thoroughly every so often can also help eliminate such problem. You can soak your CPAP mask in warm water with mild soap.


Some people observe that their facial skin begins to get sore when using CPAP masks. This may be because of over-tightening of your headgear straps. If left untreated, it may even lead to bruising.

To prevent sore breakouts, the best thing to do is to choose the right size of CPAP mask. Choosing the right style of CPAP mask can also be a great help. A nasal pillow device can be a better alternative if sores occur.


Some people with OSA can feel air in their stomach the next morning. This is a sign that you swallowed air from the CPAP machine.

A good sleeping position can help you with this problem. Always sleep in a flat position. If this doesn’t work, you can try sleeping on your side. You can also discuss your discomfort with your doctor who can prescribe a reduced air pressure for your CPAP machine.

Tags: allergies, bloating, congestion, dry, effects, headache, nasal, sinus, sores, cpap, side
Last update:
2007-06-26 17:09
CPAP.co.uk Admin
Average rating: 3.96 (104 Votes)

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