Tuesday, April 28, 2009

aerophagia and sleep apnea

It sounds inevitable that cpap users would swallow air, especially those with full face masks. But one of the problems of swallowing too much air is a condition called Aerophagia.

Aerophagia occurs when a person swallows too much air causing bloating, belching, stomach pain and gas.

What causes this condition?
  • Chewing gum
  • Drinking soda drinks
  • Smoking
  • Eating too fast
  • Hysteria
  • And for some wearing a cpap mask
Potential reasons for the cpap causing Aerophagia is the air pressure is too great on the machine, if the air doesn’t go to the lungs it goes into the stomach. Of course that can be fixed by having the setting changed on your machine.

Another possible problem is air leaks. Make sure that your mask fits snuggly enough so no air escapes. (I know that isn’t easy)

Feel free to comment and please subscribe to my RSS Feed


  1. It is important to make sure that CPAP machines are set at the lowest effective setting to limit the chance of this occuring. Also, it is important that the mask fits snuggly as you mentioned.

  2. Hey, I used to have significant sleep apnea before I had surgery but now i sleep great as far as that's concerned. I still have trouble sleeping occasionally due to stress or whatever but I was checking out blogs today and discovered this awesome one:


    I'll see u

  3. thanks for the comments. You are right that the cpap needs to fit properly.

  4. You didn't have aerophagia - that is a common misdiagnosis by the medical community. What you probably had was "gastric insufflation" = caused by, as you stated, the air going directly into your stomach. A single-pressure CPAP machine would result in this, particularly if you have a hiatal hernia. With the hernia the sphincter muscle above your stomach is not strong enough to prevent the air from entering. The problem with doctors telling apnea patients that they have aerophagis is that the onus is on the patient to "cure" the problem when in fact an auto-pap machine should do the trick. Lowering the pressure on a single-pressure machine is dangerous as it reduces the therapy value of the CPAP. Changing masks is not the solution, either. What is needed is a change in the "formulary" for medical insurance companies to allow auto-pap machines for ALL apnea patients.

  5. thanks for the clarification and information