Nasal dryness and dry mouth are common side effects of CPAP
therapy, causing discomfort that can be as bothersome for those who use a CPAP machine. Thankfully, there are
ways to reduce, and even eliminate, nasal dryness while using a CPAP.
What Causes Nasal Dryness During CPAP Therapy?
CPAP machines use positive airway pressure to treat
obstructive sleep apnea. During treatment, a mask is used to deliver a constant
supply of pressurized airflow throughout the night. This constant airflow can
dry out the CPAP user’s airways and make it difficult to keep the passageways
warm, resulting in a loss of moisture in the nasal passages and mouth. This
inevitably results in a dry, uncomfortable sensation in the nose, mouth and
throat and can cause other side effects like bloody noses, dry lips,
inflammation and in very rare cases, infections.
Solving the Problem of Dryness During CPAP Therapy
There are several ways to alleviate these symptoms during
Adjust the fitting of your mask: if your CPAP mask
is not fitted properly to your face, this can cause air to leak out at night
and cause dryness. Make sure you are using a mask that fits your face and is
properly secured with headgear straps.
OTC products: there are some over-the-counter
products that can help alleviate dry mouth and nasal dryness. These include saline
spray/ drops, nasal moisturizer, etc. Check with your doctor before using any
of these products in conjunction with your CPAP therapy.
Humidification: a heated humidifier can reduce
irritation in the airways during CPAP treatment. Heated humidifiers are a
common solution for CPAP therapy, often integrated into the CPAP machines. This
is a simple and effective method to alleviate dryness caused by CPAP machines.
What Should You Look for in CPAP Humidification?
Not all CPAP machines are the same, and not all of them
interact with humidifiers in the same way. Here’s what you should look for when
it comes to CPAP humidification:
How long humidification lasts: CPAP humidifiers
require more water, but some models have more efficient humidification
technology that uses less water.
Battery-powered humidification: if you like to
travel, this feature will undoubtedly be important for you. Many CPAP machines
with heated humidifiers cannot be powered on a battery. Look for one that makes
travel easy so you can get the CPAP therapy you need every night.