My experience with the Bipap machine…

Bipap

Living On O2 for Life

If you use a bipap machine, like I do, this post is for you. I’ve been using a bipap machine since 1993 which is a pretty long time. All sorts of sleep studies had to be done to get qualified for a bipap machine from my medical insurance. Then came the difficulty of getting use to wearing it and breathing with it on. My poor sinuses went through a tough time for a while. Then the whole issue of getting over the thoughts of “Oh my gosh! My health is getting worse!” along with the whole anxiety from the fear of sleep apnea. But once you get use to sleeping with the machine on, you’ll realize when you wake up and go about your day, you’ll find that you will have more energy and feel better.

Some of the issues I’ve had with my bipap machine are written below along with the things that I do to help me resolve the problems.

  • Feeling claustrophobic while breathing through the mask. I use the mask shown in the above picture. It covers my entire nose. Just above the white tube that has the oxygen port (where you attach the oxygen tubing), there is a vent that allows CO2 to blow out of the mask. Make sure this is not covered while you are sleeping. Also, I have a small 12″x12″ box fan on my dresser pointed directly at my face. This helps with claustrophobia and it seems to help with keeping the air within the bipap hose cool. I personally do not use the humidifier with my bipap. The only time that I have used it was when I was sick with bronchitis. It helped keep me from coughing so much.
  • Too warm or too cold air flowing through the mask. If you have warm air flowing through the mask, check to see if the HEAT button is not pushed. On my machine, it will show HEAT on the screen if it is turned on. Sometimes my cat will walk across the machine and will turn it on without me knowing it. Darn that cat!!! You can also try my fan idea too. However, I keep it pretty cool in my house by running the a/c at 72 degrees. It really helps me breathe easier with cooler air. My husband hates it but he tolerates it because he knows it helps me.  If it is wintertime and the air is too cold, turn on the HEAT on the machine. If you don’t have a heat capability on your bipap (older model machines don’t have this), what I use to do is tuck most of the 6 foot tube under the covers of my bed with me. The covers act as insulation! It helps but it’s not perfect.
  • Stuffy nose problems. This is the worst! The only thing that I’ve found that truly works for me are the Breathe Right Nasal Strips. (no I don’t get paid to suggest these…) If you want to try them, here is a link to request a free sample of them and a coupon: Try Breathe Right Nasal Strips!
  • Anxiety. It was difficult for me to get use to the bipap machine. I have a Synchronized/Timed unit… meaning that it breathes basically at my rate but it has a backup Breaths per Minute setting that if I, for some reason, stop breathing or start to slow down my breathing below my setting of 22 bpm, then my bipap will kick in almost like a respirator. Getting use to the pressures of the air flowing in and out of my lungs was a challenge. For a while I had to use Xanex but now I’m a pro at using my bipap and couldn’t be without it when I sleep or need to do some serious resting while awake to give my lungs a break. The secret to a successful night of sleep with a bipap is relaxation.

I’d really like to hear from you. What are the experiences you are having with using a bipap machine?  There are different types of masks such as a full mask that covers both nose and mouth for those who like sleeping while breathing through their mouth, nasal pillows (my least favorite… too much direct air pressure into the nose), and the nose mask. I’ve even used my bipap in my car during a roadtrip! Who doesn’t like roadtrips???

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82 thoughts on “My experience with the Bipap machine…

  1. I think I’ve been using my bipap for about as long as you have! It was pretty new stuff when I first went on it. One thing I know, it saved my life! I know I wouldn’t be alive now if I hadn’t gone on bipap. It took over a year to convince me to try it, it felt too clautraphobic at first. I credit a wonderful respiratory therapist for helping me to get used to it. I use a nose mask similar to yours. I got very sick a year ago and it took 3 hospitalizations to figure out that one of my problems was that I was opening my mouth when I slept, which meant the bipap couldn’t do it’s job. I tried a full face mask, but couldn’t get it to fit well. I finally went back to my nose mask and added a chin strap to hold my mouth closed. It’s not the prettiest nighttime attire, but it does the job! I haven’t been sick since. Thanks for your helpful blogs!

    • Cindy, I’ve known my Bipap not to be terribly sexy but it keeps me alive and that’s what matters. I’m glad you got the hang of using your machine. Did you ever have a Bipap that had dials on the back used to set the proper settings of inspiration & expiration? That kind was my very first Bipap. It was pretty big and made of metal.

      You know, I write this blog because I truly care about the people read it and I truly want to help by writing about my experiences. I really feel it as a calling. I hope that doesn’t sound corny. 🙂

      • Hi! If it’s not time yet to call your DME (durable medical equipment) company for a replacement mask/headgear (generally every six months depending on what your insurance will cover), then maybe all that is needed is a new piece of Velcro to be sewn on.

        I own a sewing machine. So when my Bipap headgear Velcro strap got weak and frayed, I would cut off the frayed part and sew on a brand new piece of Velcro (the bristly side). Before you cut off the Velcro make sure you have enough left after cutting to sew on the new piece.

        Have you tried washing your headgear in the washing machine? Before you throw it in the washer, close the Velcro straps so the bristle side won’t catch on anything that can snag… Like nylon or a sweater.

        When I put on and take off my mask, I only unstrap one of the lower chin straps and pull the mask off my face and head. That way I’m only having adjust one strap every time I want to use my Bipap.

        I hope this helps with your problem. Check with your DME to see if you can get new headgear if your Velcro is wearing out.

        Christine

      • I have a terrible time trying to get to sleep with any of th Bi or c pap face masks. Very frustrating!!!!

      • Hi Ron, do you have trouble with the feel of the mask on your face? Or does your trouble come from breathing with your mask on your face? Something’s I have trouble with both. Even though I’ve used a Bipap since 1994, I occasionally still have trouble being comfortable. The thing I do is make sure the room you sleep in is cool and peaceful. I also use a small box fan (12″x12″) on my dresser pointed towards my face to feel constant air flow around the room. It makes me feel a lot less claustrophobic. I never could get use to the nasal pillow type mask and I hated the full face mask because I’m a stomach sleeper. So, I use the mask that covers just my nose. There a bridge on my forehead from the mask that adds a lot of comfort and take the pressure off the bridge of my nose. Let me know if this info doesn’t help. Ok? Don’t give up on your Bipap/Cpap machine.

        Christine

    • My dad s recently using bipap machine even then in some stage he s becoming serious that s breathing problem occurs what should we do for this almost 8 times he has been admitted in the hospital pls do reply

      • Hi Shamili… I don’t know what is going on with your dad’s health. I’m not a doctor. So I really can’t offer medical advice. However, make sure your dad is actually using his Bipap as much as he’s prescribed to (every night most likely). This would be a good start in keeping his health stable. —Christine

  2. I to have to use a bipap. I can not deal with the area around my nose breaking out all the time. I use a full mask because I can not for some reason while I am sleeping exhale out of my nose I also wake up in the middle of the night tearing this mask off because I feel I am not getting any air. I explained this to my Dr and he lowered the pressure. I do not use the dehumidifier and I sleep in a cool room. I fall asleep alright but with in an hr or 2 the mask gets pulled off. Do you have any suggestions….any?

    • Hi there! I’m really sorry you are having trouble adjusting to using your Bipap. Do you use oxygen with your Bipap? If my oxygen gets disconnected while I sleep, I’ll wake up feeling claustrophobic. When I first was tested for a Bipap during numerous sleep studies, the most significant problem I had was when the expiration pressure was set too high and it made me feel as if I couldn’t breathe. In my opinion (and I am in no means a doctor) a body’s natural instinct is to want to exhale after inhaling. Sounds good, doesn’t it? You should keep telling your doctor that you are having trouble. Using a Bipap is important if its prescribed for you. The doctor can have your machine adjusted until it works just right for you. I had to have an at-home night oximetry test to make sure my oxygen saturation level wasn’t dropping while using the current settings on my Bipap. Have you had one of these done? They are much easier than having yet another sleep study in a lab. If you haven’t, maybe you can ask your doctor what he or she thinks about having this done. Do you have a fan (besides a ceiling fan) in the room where you sleep? I have a small 12 x 12 box fan on my dresser pointing at my face. It makes it less stuffy in my mask. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s psychological… whatever… it works for me and that’s what is important. Let me know what you think.. If you think this might help or if you have other questions. *hugs*

      Christine

      • Thank you for all your help.
        When I first got sick with COPD, in the ER, I for some reason asked for a fan. This helped tremendously, in addition to the oxygen. (Now, whenever hospitalized, I ask for a fan to use along with my Bipap.)

        When I got home from the 1st hospitalization, it was winter. I had the window wide open near my bed. Helped so much. Then, instinctually, I knew I needed & had a small air conditioner installed 4 feet from my bed. This helps so much, every season.
        I will use an electric throw for warmth with the window a/c on. Whatever helps. I even have it on in the summer when the house a/c is on. I guess the cool air so close & blowing on me helps, significantly.
        And sometimes, when driving in the car & feeling the need for nasal oxygen, I open the window & this blowing air is sufficient, especially if cool…& also the car a/c.
        Lastly, be careful with that headgear velcro. 🙂 When I first got it, I would tear if off. Pulled my hair out. My “crew cut” is just growing out!

      • Hi Mary,

        I’m glad you found what works for you with the fan, a/c, and wind blowing through your car. About that velcro.. I know just what you mean but the head gear and masks now have little knobs that slide into the sides of the mask to hold it in place that the velcro attaches to. I’m not describing this very well. I’m sorry. I’ll try to show you a picture.

        My Bipap Mask

        Hope this helps. When I take off my mask, I just slip one side of the black knobs from the mask carefully. I never undo the velcro unless I need to wash it & my mask. YAY!

      • Hi Don,

        Are you sleeping with your Bipap using oxygen? If you are having trouble every night falling asleep, you should contact your Pulmonologist who prescribed the Bipap for you. Tell the doctor that you have difficulty falling asleep and that leads to panic attacks. You could try reading in bed with your Bipap on to get your mind off the machine. Reading helps me get tired when it’s late at night. The doctor could make some adjustments to your machine setting and/or prescribe some anti anxiety medication temporarily until you adjust to using the machine. You can try watching tv in bed until you get sleepy. It takes me a good 30 minutes sometimes to fall asleep.

        Christine

    • bs’d
      Kim, Try using DuoDerm on the areas breaking out. I am an RN & use a BiBap, too. It took me 6 months to adjust to it, but I am hoping it will save me from getting pneumonia and bronchitis again. For sleep problems, talk to your doctor. It sounds as though you are not properly fitted if the mask comes off. If you are having problems sleeping, perhaps a very mild sleep aid would help. Also, try not to eat for 6 hours before using the BiBap.
      Good luck, Rivky

    • I have exactly the same thing happening to me, I can’t get to sleep wearing any sort of mask and if I do get to sleep I pull the mask off during my sleep.
      Any suggestions?
      Ron

      • Hi, im new to using the bipap as well. My 10 year old puts it on with no pt on
        Me in the on the her hand; i dont lik i it on my face it either comes off or snatch it off with out realizig. .
        Has it gotten easier for to us the machine? Any suggestions.

      • Hello fellow Bipap user! I didn’t have a choice about using a Bipap. Either I wore it and was able to breathe while I slept or I’d end up in the hospital with very bad health. It took me a while to get comfortable with it. I had problems with sinus problems from all the pressure going through my nose, excess air in my abdomen, the feeling of claustrophobia util I started using a fan beside my bed (which I highly recommend for your problem), as well as my lungs felt like they were being stretched a little while I got use to more air getting inside my lungs using my Bipap. Then there is the ocassional stuffed up nose problem for which I use Breathe Right (or the generic equivalent). It really helps! I’m curious of what type of Bipap mask and head gear you use and if you are securing the straps tight enough. I can’t imagine how a person could pull it off in their sleep. Stay in touch.. *hugs*

  3. I want to thank you for your suggestion of pointing a fan at the bi-pap machine to keep the air cooler. I had been waking up after an hour or so and feeling awful because the air coming from my machine was hot and dusty smelling (even after putting in a new filter). Then, after reading your post, I simply put a small fan on a hamper next to my bi-pap (it’s on a rolling cart/shelf), aimed it directly at the machine and kept it going all night. I have been able to sleep much more comfortably now. Thank you again for the suggestion.

    • Omega, I am so happy that the fan is working for you. It works really well for me too. It’s GREAT that you are sleeping better now that the fan is cooling your Bipap. *hugs* thank you for letting me know the good news!! 🙂

  4. I was recently diagnosed with OSA. My oxygen levels dropped to 78% during my first sleep study. I started using a BiPAP machine about 2 weeks ago, and it’s clear that we have a love/hate relationship. I love how I feel in the morning if I manage to keep the mask on all night, but I hate the idea of something covering my nose and mouth… and I have a tendency to take it off in my sleep. I’ve tried using medical tape as a deterrent – hoping the pain from pulling medical tape off my face would be enough to wake me up – but to no avail. I did the same thing with nasal pillows and a chinstrap. So what’s the best method to prevent removing the mask?

    • Hi Anthony,

      I think everyone who has to use a Bipap or Cpap has the love/hate relationship to which you are referring. It drags that we have to wear it but it’s a blessing to find something that keeps us breathing while we sleep. Obstructive Sleep Apnea is serious. What I would recommend is first make wearing your Bipap mask as comfortable as possible. If you don’t tolerate nasal pillows or the full Bipap face mask, there is the mask that I use which only covers my entire nose. I have my bedroom ceiling fan on as well as a small 12×12 inch box fan pointed at my face, which sits on my dresser about 3 feet from my bed. Air circulation helps to keep me from feeling claustrophobic while wearing my Bipap mask. It took me a while to get use to my Bipap. I sleep mostly on my stomach with my left hand under my pillow and my right under my chin. I know it’s hard to have to retrain yourself to sleep a different way. I have my Bipap on my night stand next to my bed. My 6 foot Bipap hose connects from my Bipap to my mask and when I wear my mask, the hose points directly towards the headboard, down the back of my pillow and between the mattress & headboard to the Bipap machine. That way I don’t have the hose in my way when I want roll over because I have swivel tubes on my hose that allows for such movement. You only need to wear the mask fastened just tight enough to not leak air. Any tighter than that may make it uncomfortable to wear. Just don’t make it too loose.

  5. Hello, I too have had my bipap for 2 weeks. As soon as I was able to keep it on for 5 or so hours, I came down with a terrible cough. I was hoping it was just an allergy, then it just steadily got worse, dry cough, sore throat, breathing difficulty. It does not seem to be getting better. I also have my mouth open..it seals the mask (full face) by dropping open, otherwise it leaks. I don’t think it is a flu as I don’t seem sick..just still tired. Any suggestions? Sharon

    • Hi Sharon.. First I would recommend calling your doctor to let them know what’s going on with your cough. It’s just to be on the safe side with all the flu going around. Are you coughing even while not using your Bipap? If you are getting leaks from your full face mask, try adjusting the bottom strap of the headgear while you are lying down. You don’t want it too tight but it make you mask snug against your face.

      About your cough… (and this only a guess based on years of experience of using a Bipap) perhaps it is the forced air that you are inhaling through your mouth that is drying your throat. In the Winter time, I occasionally get a strained throat. The air is dryer in the winter and with the forced air from my Bipap will make my throat a little sore at night. Try to sleep with your lips closed but your teeth & jaw are slightly open so that you will begin breathing in through your nose. This way, your nose will keep the air coming in moist. Remember to contact your doctor (the one who prescribed the Bipap).

      • Yes thank you for responding. The air is dry here so in the room as well. I don’t seem to cough during the night but all day. I believe it is a flu or cold. Allergies would not last this long and this afternoon I started feeling sick as well. I will call the doc if I don’t get better soon. It’s good to have this web site to read others information and questions.

      • I hope you will consider calling you doctor soon especially if you have a temperature. The flu is pretty nasty this year. My husband and brother-in-law have it and they are both normally healthy people with no underlying health conditions. I hope you feel better soon. *hugs*

        Christine

  6. hi there! My name is peggy and I’m 18. I been using this only 3 years but, I think I have to use it more which sucks because I hate it! I hate it because I always have to go to the doctor and miss school. 😦 At First I only use the mask with covering the mouth but, It was not comfortable so, I switched to the mask with covering nose and mouth which was more comfortable. I hate wearing this is so loud that I can’t sleep. Also, the air goes through my eyes and I can’t move with the string from the mask. I’m still trying to get used to it.

    • Hi Peggy,
      I know how hard it is to get used to using a bipap machine. At first, it really drags. I use the mask that covers my whole nose. I use a small box fan on my dresser pointing at the head of my bed (my face) to help from feeling claustrophobia, and I adjust the straps of the head gear just enough where there is no leaking air. Sometimes I have to tighten it more but usually that’s because the straps are getting stretched out and I need to throw the head gear (straps only) in the washing machine with the velcro closed so it doesn’t snag on any clothes. The air through your weep holes of your eyes may be from wearing your mask too tight. I also use a pillow along the side of me so that I can roll over and sleep on my side/stomach while lying up against this side flatter pillow. That helps to keep the bridge across my forehead from digging into the bed. When I was a teenager, I too had to go to a LOT of doctor appointments. I missed a lot of school and it’s hard to stay up with homework. Let your teacher or school counselor know what’s going on and maybe they can help unless you are in college now. You can email me if you’d like at goredrider@gmail.com Stay strong. This machine is so helpful. *hugs* Oh! Have you tried the Breathe Right strips for when your nose gets stuffed up? They really help me.

      Christine

  7. Hi there! My grandma is using a bypap just recently and we’re trying to get her use to it. She’s only 63, but she’s had lung problems (COPD, emphasyema, etc.) pretty much her whole life. She went it the hospital for CO2 overload and almost died. Luckily they were able to get it under control and get her the bypap. It really improved her within a day. Now she’s been on it an she gets annoyed with it. She’s claustrophobic and it drives her nuts with how much noise it makes. It makes like a farting noise sometimes and I can’t always get it to stop some nights( I have to put it on for her, she hasn’t fully figured out how to do it yet). Any suggesting for getting the mask to stop making those noises and also stop blowing in her eyes? She’s using the one which covers both nose and mouth.

    • Hi Sarah. I’m so glad your Grandma is doing better while using the bipap. I use the machine because i have high CO2 when i sleep which causes me to stop breathing. Have you tried placing a small fan on a dresser and point it in the direction of the head of the bed? Mine is about 3ft away from my side of the bed pointed at my face. It really helps with airflow around the room and it makes me feel less claustrophobic or stuffy/hot. I think i know what you are talking about with noise from the mask. The mask needs to be snugg against her face to prevent air leaking out especially when she moves her head as she sleeps. Has she tried the mask that covers her whole nose and not her mouth? Its what I use. Can you explain how she is getting air in her eyes? Is it from the mask leaking air or something else? There is a little opening on the mask to let out the CO2 which should not be covered. Is this blowing in her eyes? Thank you for reading my blog. You can email as well at goredrider@gmail.com i hope all the best for your grandma. 😊

      Christine

    • Hi Sarah!

      Two reasons why the air may be getting into your Grandmother’s eyes from my experience with a full face mask is one there is most likely a leak where the bridge of the nose and the eye meet. Secondly, sometimes my air hose will swing around and get in the way of the air being released causing it to deflect into the eyes.
      The farting noise is definitely an air leak in your mask

      Richard

    • Hi Ron, thank you for your question and for reading my blog. Falling asleep or being sleepy enough to fall asleep at a decent time is hard for me. Sometimes I end up taking some benedryl before I go to bed. Though, i like to read when i go to bed and that gets me sleepy too. I read using my cellphone with the Kindle app. Amazon.com has tons of books that are free. Just use their filter to list the lowest priced books first. 🙂 I try hard to stay moving (active) most of the day too. Have you talked with your doctor about this problem? Are you able to try Melatonin?

  8. I have been using a bipap for about 3 years now. I’ve loved it, my wife not so much. We are planning a trip to Ireland for 21 days, we are doing the independent travel bit, and I’d rather leave the bipap at home. I was thinking about using a mouthpiece device that stops my snoring. I’ve gone several nights in the past when I’ve traveled and forgotten to take the bipap. I know this has risks; what advice would you provide on this subject?

    • Hi Brian,
      I’m sorry for the delay of my reply. I’ve had a migraine. In my opinion, it would be better to pack your Bipap and take it with you than to go without it and need it. Your doctor prescribed it for you for a reason. Several nights without it does not compare to 21 days without it. Bipaps are small enough to carry in a backpack. Why not take it with you to ensure you have a vacation that’s free from sleeping trouble? I hope you have lots of fun. My husband had trouble seeing me use my Bipap. He’s completely use to it now and has accepted that it’s a permanent part of my sleep.

  9. I have been using a bipap for about 3 years for COPD. Last month I was hospitalized for 10 days due to pneumonia. I am feeding my bipap with 2l of O2.
    For the last week I’ve been having problems when I wake up in the morning, my finger oxymeter shows a reading of 95, with my bipap and oxygen generator both working, but as soon as I remove my mask my oxygen level starts to plummet down to as low as 77 within less than a minuet and I have a very difficult time breathing. I use my nebulizer with ipratropium bromide and albuterol and my readings come back up to 95 whiten a few minuets. I mentioned this to my Doctor today, she will call me tomorrow to set appointments to find the problem.
    Has anyone experienced this problem?
    Thanks Andre

    • Hello Andre,
      I think you did the right thing by telling your doctor what is going on. For me, I have noticed that I need a slight adjustment period from the time I take off my Bipap with O2 bled in to switching over to 6LPM of oxygen. When I switch over to just oxygen, my lungs are now having to do all of the work to breathe and my body needs a little time adjusting to that. But that’s just me… Your situation could be different due to recent pneumonia which takes quite a while to fully recover from. Do you use oxygen 24/7? Let the doctor check you out to be on the safe side. *hugs*

      • Thank you for the quick reply. I will try suggestion tomorrow morning, and will let you know the results, and also my doctors findings.
        I was really scared this morning trying to catch my breath, I am apprehensive about going to sleep tonight encase the same thing happens again in the morning. Hugs to you . Andre

  10. I really enjoy your site and such openness. You are really a trooper with a wonderful attitude. I am presently struggling with a diagnosis of Complex sleep apnea. I’ve been on bipap for 3 weeks. Plenty of panicky feelings, compulsive worrying, and changing masks. I am a very determined person and I will prevail. Your words have been inspiring. Keep it up!

    • Thank you so much Teresa! I totally understand your panicking feeling as I had that problem also for a while. The worrying part, for me, only comes now when I’m really sick with a migraine and it takes a lot of energy to just breathe. However, I ask my husband to check on me while I sleep and that helps so much that I feel like it’s safe to fall asleep. Hang in there. It will get better. *hugs*

  11. My Dad has been using bipap machine for about 8 month he uses one that fits over mouth and nose. He is suffering from sores on back of neck and face where mask has been. Is their anything he can use to stop this.

    • Hi,

      The only thing I can think of that might help is to throw the head harness in the washing machine to wash it. Before washing it, remove the plastic connecter parts that connect the straps to the mask if the harness has that.. Or if it’s just velcro that holds & connects the mask, after taking the harness off, close the velcro before throwing it in the washing machine. Don’t throw it in with any clothes that might snag from the velcro or you could use a mesh laundry bag. This is what I do periodically. Try this first. Let me know if it doesn’t help. *hugs*

  12. Hi…I am struggling a lot with being on BiPap. The anxiety is terrible and I am fearful of becoming dependent on the Ambian I take to sleep. I cannot sleep with the machine without it. I guess I need to talk to the sleep doc about it. I had no idea how hard it would be after almost 2 months using it every night at least 4 hours. Did it take you a long time? Thanks for the tips…love your blog.

    • Hi Teresa, it took quite a while for me to get use to using my Bipap. I had to use Xanex for a while but I slowly got use to it. I put a small fan on my dresser and pointed it at my face. That alone was a huge help because it made the claustrophobic feeling go away. I keep my overhead ceiling fan on too when I sleep. Plus, the a/c on my too! Air flow in the room I sleep in is very important to my comfort level. If you get a stuffy nose, I really recommend the Breathe Right strips. They work and you can use them under your Bipap mask. Yay! What kinds of problems are you having with your Bipap?

  13. I have been using my bipap for a year and a half now,around the middle of November I started waking up with extreme pain in my stomach,sometimes lower sometimes upper,when I sat up I would burp or pass gas,about 2 weeks after this my machine started making a horrible noise and they sent me a new one,right away I started having the gas again and Im still having it,im wondering if this could be bad for me.It is very uncomfortable,and tho it doesn’t happen every night its about 5 out of 7 nights.any suggestions?

    • This is something that you should ask the doctor who prescribed and follows your Bipap use. I see mine quarterly. Your problem may have something to do with the way you are breathing while you’re asleep. Has your doctor analyzed the memory card from your Bipap machine? It would show how many episodes of breathing interruptions you’re having each night. The goal, I’ve been told by my doctor, is to have less than 5 on average. If it’s not a change in your health or sleeping habits, have you considered that it could be something you’re eating. I can’t eat onions or iceberg lettuce because it creates too much gas content in my abdomen. I know, TMI! But if I ate those 2 things and use my Bipap, I would have gas pains that make me uncomfortable. Sometimes I have to take GasX but I cleared that through my doctor first.

      I hope you and your doctor can figure out a solution. Maybe it’s as simple as what you eat. *hugs* Thank you for your comment & question.

      • Im sure its not what I eat,I eat dinner around 6pm and stay up til midnight,get up at 5am then I go back to bed around 730 sometimes and Ive never had problems with gas,I don’t have anything on my stomach when I lay down.and My stomach is bloated from all the air,I will call my doctor to see what he says,thank you for your quick reply.

      • At least you’ve narrowed it down to possibly your Bipap. I’ve had the same problem as you but not to the degree as what you’re having. I’d wake up to the feeling of my stomach bloated. I started crunching on ice in the morning and that helped but chewing ice isn’t really good for teeth. 😕 I hope your doctor can help. Maybe your settings are too high?

  14. I’ve been using a Bipap machine now for several years. Since I began I get only four or 5 hours sleep before waking up wide awake. At first this wasn’t a problem. But now I find myself getting tired during the day, yawning, an unable to read without yawning and therefore unable to read much. Is this possibly a machine setting problem?

    • Hi Dave,
      It could be that you may need to have your settings retitrated (adjusted) by having another sleep study. I would call the doctor who prescribed the Bipap and tell him what’s going on and ask if he thinks another sleep study should be done to make sure your current settings are still working as they should be. When is the last time the pressures on your machine have been checked? You keep the filters clean as well as the mask & hose in good working condition? No leaks of air at night while you’re sleeping? A sleep study can tell you a lot. Has your health recently changed? I hope it’s just an easy fix for you. I’ve had to do plenty of sleep studies. Keep in touch! Let me know if you have more questions.

      Christine

  15. My wife has been on BiPap since November 1, 2015. Since she started it she wakes unrefreshed and suffers from episodes of hyper-light sensitivity, brain fog, a feeling like her brain is on overload and can’t take any stimulus. They can last from 30 min to 3 hours. She has to lay back and close her eyes till they pass and she cant sleep while they are going on. We took her off the bipap for 2 nights and both days the episodes were gone. When she went back on the episodes returned. This has been going on for 4 months. We can’t get into her Dr. because he will only see her once a month and even if we went to see him he won’t listen he just blathers on. We are going to a sleep specialist instead of a pulmonologist but wondered if any one else has had this side affect?

    • Hi Dave,
      I’ll post this to my blog in hopes that someone will read your comment and can give you some answers. Have you asked about these symptoms to any of her other doctors (ie: Pulmonologist or Primary physician)? Plus, you could post your questions on my Facebook page to see if anyone could help. The link to my FB page is in the right column of my blog. *hugs*

  16. I desperately need someone to help me understand the specifics of a bipap full face mask as well as the bipap nasal mask. My story is extremely sad and I need this information to give me some type of peace and closure to my youngest brother’s recent death.

    My brother’s lungs were filled with scar tissue before he passed. His doctors told the family that aside from a lung transplant, his only other options were: 1)constantly wearing a full face bipap mask 24 hours a day or 2) undergoing a tracheotomy and living on a ventilator. He suffered with extremely high and dangerous levels of carbon dioxide because of his lungs’ inability to function properly.

    My brother’s stay in the ICU lasted 4 weeks where a bipap full face mask was used primarily at night. During the day, he was hooked up to regular oxygen nasal cannulas. He tolerated the bipap mask until the last 2 days of his life where he angrily began to rip it off of his face and threw it onto the floor. He refused to continue with it. No one from the hospital staff had ever mentioned the possibility of a bipap nasal mask or another full face mask that may have changed my brother’s mind.

    The day before he passed, his doctors took the family aside and explained that unless we considered one of the two aforementioned options, my brother would pass in less than 24 hours. Devastatingly, the doctors and the rest of my family decided not to share this information with my brother although I objected and pleaded with them to include him. Ultimately, they all decided that wearing a full face bipap mask 24 hours a day would diminish the quality of my brother’s life. A tracheostomy was also ruled out for the same reason. My brother was never consulted on either option and passed the next day.

    Today, I remain extremely angry and confused by those last hours of my brother’s precious life. I firmly believe that if my brother knew about the bipap nasal mask, he would have cooperated in wearing it and would have survived longer. Can someone please tell me if the bipap nasal mask might have helped my brother in the condition that his lungs were? And could it have been worn constantly 24 hours a day? I am researching the internet daily for some answers and am grieving so much. Any responses would be extremely appreciated.

    • I am so very sorry for the loss of your brother. *hugs* Please keep in mind that I am not a doctor. I AM a patient who uses a bipap with oxygen though…and hopefully my answer can give you some information to help you. Based on what you were saying about your brother’s condition, he was pretty ill. For the most part, the variety of bipap/cpap masks is for comfort preferences. The people who breath using their mouth, do better using a full face mask. I am only comfortable with the mask that goes over the whole nose. There is also a mask that is called Nasal Pillows. It takes a while for someone who is new to using a bipap to become comfortable with wearing their bipap mask. A bipap, from what I know, is designed to only ASSIST a person’s breathing. I can’t imagine having to live 24/7 on a bipap but I’ve had to wear mine for a long period of time (a whole day or two) when I have a migraine. I can tell you that I get tired of wearing it on my face after that length of time. The pressure around my nose from the mask gets old.

      I don’t know the particulars of your brother’s health in general. He was in ICU for 4 weeks which tells me he was pretty sick. Would any bipap mask help your brother in his condition? It could have possibly prolonged his life but for how long? I don’t know. Can it be worn 24/7, yes, but there is also a machine that has an attached mouthpiece that when the patient is sitting up, he could stick it in his mouth like he’s sipping and that would give him a similar bipap result of ventilation. See here: Ventilation via mouthpiece. In fact, a similar machine like this could be in my future. I was told about this machine by my Pulmonary Hypertension doctor. She wasn’t very familiar with it. To find information about this, you probably would need to see a pulmonologist who specializes in ventilation. There is only one doctor at the hospital where I go that specializes in this.

      I can only stress how important it is to have a living will and an advance directive so there is no question about how you want to be treated when the time comes. I’m so so sorry for your loss. Please email me if you have any other questions at goredrider@gmail.com Thank you for reading my blog.

  17. I am having a very difficult time sleeping with my bipap machine. I wake up several times during the night to a blast of high pressure and I can’t exhale because the pressure is so high. What is going on?
    When I fall asleep my Vauto is 4 and PS is 8, I woke up and looked after a blast of air and it was Vauto 14 and ps20! This is unreal. I cannot get any rest 😢

    • Hi Sherri, does your mask have a leak? Do you have you have strapped securely? You should contact your doctor about this. Also you can have the respiratory tech come out to check your machine. Just call the people who delivered and set up your machine at your house. If it’s not a leak in your mask, calling is the next step in fixing whatever problem there is. Hope you get some sleep tonight.

  18. My daughter has just been given a bipap machine to help her. She wakes up with a swollen tummy full of air that is painful . Have you any suggestions to alleviate this.

    • Hi Nickie, I’m sorry that your daughter is having tummy problems with her bipap. I remember going through the same thing. Mine was never painful but it was uncomfortable to wake up to feeling this way. When I woke up with a belly full of air, I’d rub circles and pat my abdomen for a little bit. Kind of like how you’d do that for a baby to get her to burp. I also munch on some ice first thing in the morning. Not the best thing for the teeth though but it helps settle my stomach. Have your daughter try this when she’s going to lie down to go to sleep with her bipap on…

      When your daughter first lies down and is still awake with her bipap on and the machine is going, have her practice inhaling deep and exhaling gently out as much as the machine will allow. The bipap is a machine that assists our breathing. It doesn’t actually breathe for us. That would be a ventilator. So, try having her fall asleep taking deep breaths assisted by her bipap. Hopefully, that will help keep her tummy with less air in it because the more air that goes in her lungs the less will go in her tummy. Does she sleep with her head on a pillow or two?

      I don’t know how old your daughter is, but maybe you can check with her doctor about taking GasX (or generic) when she has uncomfortable mornings. I would definitely bring this excess gas in her tummy problem up to her doctor that prescribed the bipap. *hugs* I hope this helps in some way. —-Christine

  19. Hi there. I have a question I pulled my bi pap machine on the floor and now it doesn’t have the airflow it use to have. Any suggestions. I am away on vacation and not close to my respiratory nurse.

    • Yikes! What type of bipap do you have? Did it fall on the floor? Did you check the filter part on your bipap to make sure that nothing is blocked? Does your machine have the DME information with its phone number you could call?

  20. OMG! I completely relate! So nice to hear the anxiety may get better. Was getting ready to throw machine out the window! I am going to to ask Dr for xanax! Can’t sleep more then a couple hours, which has been my problem for getting the bipap, and I keep getting sick from no sleep! I had a bad accident several years ago and with the pain, brain injury and little sleep, it has been driving me nuts! Thank you for your post, I now feel there is a light at the end of the tunnel!!

    • Mindy… Hi! Thank you for reading my blog. I’m so sorry about your accident. I hope you are able to talk with your doctor about the anxiety you’re experiencing. Xanex worked for me but now I no longer need it. I do have to be really sleepy to get a good night’s sleep though. When I let myself get too tired, my brain will fight falling asleep which is when I can run into trouble. So I hope you will give your bipap a second or third chance to work for you. Keep in touch Mindy. *hugs*

  21. Hello. Thank you for sharing your experiences with your bipap/oxygen machine. I have the bipap with the oxygen as well and I’m having an extremely difficult time sleeping with it on.
    I try every night, and within the hour I’m taking it off. I have the nasel pillows and it actually feels like I’m taking in too much air and it starts to hurt my sinuses after 30-45 minutes.
    When I was in the hospital, they had me on the full mask and that was worse than the nasel pillows. I had to take that one off immediately!
    I know I need to wear this device while sleeping, and I want to, but if it hurts to the point where I can’t even go to sleep, than what is the point? I’m open to any and all suggestions …… I need help!!!

  22. I’m so sorry my letter to you sent before I had finished.
    I was explaining to you about the swelling in my face and glands since I had started using the BiPAP only about 2 months ago.
    I am frantic right now. This is the second time I have been sick with a sinus infection.
    In between sicknesses my face or my glands did not return to normal. The doctor seems to think this is not related to the BiPAP.
    Please help me I don’t want to give up on the BiPAP as my sleep study showed I had 79 failures to breathe in an hour.
    Is this something you are familiar with? Have you heard of this before? Any information would be so appreciated. Thank you so much.
    Sincerely , fellow CPAP wearer,
    Ellie Wold

    • Hi Ellie,

      It’s sounds like your are going through some challenges. I didn’t receive your letter/email. When I wake up in the morning, my face, especially around my left eye, is swollen but I think it’s because I sleep on my left side a LOT. Are you sure you don’t still have an infection? What kind of bipap mask are you using? It’ sounds like you really do need your bipap. So don’t give up on it. Which doctor are you in contact with about this problem? You can email me at goredrider@gmail.com Please remember that I am not a doctor and don’t have all the answers but I will answer your questions as best as I can. Ok? *hugs* –Christine

  23. Hi I’m 40 I started off using Cipap in 2010 now I’m on Bipap since 2012 and in 2015 they wanted me to get oxygen with it but my Dr wrote it wrong for the 2nd time so no one could do it so I been only using the bipap with out it I see my sleep dr again in march 2017 but I don’t feel that the bipap is even working I do sleep all night in 1 place all night what will happen if I never get to get the oxygen? And why do I still feel weak in my legs???

    Jhanea from Shreveport Louisiana

    • Hi Jhanea,

      I’ll try to answer your questions the best that I can. I’m not a medical professional so I don’t know what’s going with your legs or if it is even related to a bipap problem. It could be that you have circulation problems in your legs. I don’t know but you should contact your doctor to have it checked out. As for the bipap and you needing oxygen, the doctor who prescribed the bipap should be the one to write the prescription for the oxygen that you require. What do you mean “wrote it wrong?” Has it been medically proven that you require oxygen while using your bipap? Don’t wait until March to get this situation fixed. Keep after the doctor about the problem and also contact the DME (durable medical equipment) company that supplies your bipap and ask them what your doctor needs to do specifically so that he can get the order for your oxygen correct. Take notes of what the DME says and then call your doctor again. When is the last time you had a sleep study? You can email me at goredrider@gmail.com I’m sorry that I don’t have every answer for you but I’ll try to answer your questions based on the experience that I’ve had over the years. *hug* Hang in there! Don’t stop using your Bipap… –Christine

      • Hi Yes my sleep Dr is the one who said I needed oxygen while using bipap what he is doing wrong is he keeps writing for a new bipap along with oxygen the place I get my bipap from don’t do oxygen so I went to a oxygen place they don’t do bipaps only oxygen plus they didn’t accept my type of insurance but I will ask for a sooner appt my Nero dr says I have cataplexy which I guess keeps you weak not sure I’ve had about 4 different sleep studies done.

      • Hi Jhanea,
        Normally, I try to reply to comments as soon as possible but this time I really needed to think about my answer. I don’t know every facet of your condition or your problem you are having but I will tell you what I would do if it were me in this situation. I’ve had a similar problem like this with getting oxygen from a DME company after a doctor ordered it. First thing you should do today or first thing tomorrow morning is call your insurance company’s customer’s service department or ask for a case manager if you don’t already have one. How long ago did you try to get oxygen for your bipap? You should ask the insurance company which Durable Medical Equipment (DME) who provides oxygen service to patients in your area that they have a contract with. Usually it’s more than one company. If they mention Lincare, they are a really good company. Write down everything you’re told then call the doctor and ask about #1 on my list below. Since it’s been a year since the prescription has been written for oxygen with your bipap, I’m not totally sure but, you may have to have another sleep study or a current Oxygen prescription. The insurance company will be able to tell you. Could your leg weakness have to do with the cataplexy? I looked it up online, and again, I’m not a doctor. So please follow up with your Neurologist about it. I actually get my oxygen from Lincare and my bipap from a totally separate DME. Because you haven’t had oxygen to use with your bipap, it may actually make you feel as if your bipap isn’t working for you since the Sleep Study proved that you need oxygen with it. So to summarize:

        1. Find out what your sleep study results are by calling the doctor who ordered it. Do you only need to add oxygen or have your bipap settings changed since your last sleep study? Ask your doctor: Do I only need to add oxygen or has my bipap settings changed?
        2. When you call the insurance company, keep it simple. Write down what you want to say to whomever you talk to before you call. Stick with the facts. When you sound like your know the facts, people will take you seriously. If they can’t help you, ask for a phone number of the person who can and call that number.
        3. A Case Manager with your insurance is there to help you manage your health and simplify getting the things that you need. If you don’t have one, you might want to get one. When you talk with the insurance company, ask about it.
        4. I can’t stress this enough… BE POLITE to everyone you talk to because politeness gets you results. (Not that you’re not polite.. I’m just saying!)
        5. Keep calling until you get what your doctor ordered.

        Email me at goredrider@gmail.com if you have other questions. *hugs*

  24. I’ve been on Apap machine just three days and on day 2 woke up with using it 9 1/2 hrs feeling well rested and lots of energy. I guess I’m one of the lucky ones… but all I want to do is snack all the time!!!! Anyone else have this issue?
    I love the machine . I have a Dreammaket mask under the nose and it’s great. Had to teach myself to breath through my nose and keep my mouth shut but so far so good,. I love how good and energetic I feel in the morning, no more headaches when I wake up . My apnea is on the severe side and I’m 64 years old but I’m blessed that all the settings must be right for me and I’ve been able to get over the anxiety very quickly. Just can’t keep on eating like this lol….

    • Hi Debbie! It really is amazing how much these machines can help. Even when I feel like I need a power nap, I’ll lie down with my bipap (with oxygen bled in) for 30 minutes and then get up feeling better. Before I started using a bipap in 1994, I would wake up with headaches because my CO2 was too high while I slept & my oxygen saturation was too low, even sleeping on oxygen at 1LPM.

      I’m so happy for you. I usually fall asleep with my hand under my chin to help keep my mouth closed. I hope you’ll keep in touch. Sorry about the delayed response. K & I are doing major Spring cleaning. I’m shredding YEARS of documents. Ugh! 🙂 –Christine

  25. Dear Christine,

    So glad I found this blog! Thank you for helping so many people! I am turning to you with a few questions!

    First of all I want to preface this to say that I have had my large intestine removed due to central nervous system problems. I have quite a lot of auto-immune issues. And I require many many medications including pain medications. I have been diagnosed with central sleep apnea. In sleep studies I stopped breathing on average 90 plus times an hour. Now I have nights of 3-18 apneas an hour which is great!

    My first question…I have been told that being dependent or using a bi-pap machine for a long period of time can create worse problems with ones breathing. Is this true? Can it cause a person worse problems? Have you heard of this?

    Also should you stop using your Bi-pap if you have a cough or cold?

    Next, I have only been using my bi-pap every other day. This is due to the horrible gas pains that I suffer from each time. In the early morning hours till the middle of the day. Then I give myself a rest. My doctor has lowered the pressure for me which has helped with the facial pressure problems but not much in this area. Could this be due to no large intestine? Is every other night better than no night at all?

    And lastly, what have you heard or know about those expensive machines that sterilize your Bi pap parts? One of my illnesses cause me to sleep up to 18 hours a day and I am in constant pain so my cleaning of my mask etc does not happen as often as it should. I would invest in that if it was legitimate.

    Wow I have left you with many questions. I am so glad that you are there and willing to answer. Hugs!

    • Hi Michele, Wow! You’ve got a lot going on… I will try to help you with the questions. My answers will be from my experience because I’m not a doctor.
      Q 1. Can a bipap create worsening breathing problems?
      A. I don’t know if there has been a study on this but if you need a bipap long term, it probably means, you shouldn’t go without the machine. I’ve used my bipap for almost 24 years. My health conditions differ from yours but I would’ve died without the use of the bipap. Instead of worsening my breathing, the machine has prolonged my life.
      Q 2. Can you stop using the Bipap if you have a cough or cold?
      A. I don’t stop using my bipap for any reason. When I had bronchitis once, I actually had to use the humidifier on my bipap machine and the heater. Normally, I don’t use either one of those ever. But by using them while I had bronchitis, it helped with my cough. I also had to end up sucking on a cough drop until my cough calmed down to fall asleep. I loved the Halls Spearmint! (Don’t fall asleep with it in your mouth!)
      Q 3. Gas pains from bipap.
      A. Gas pains suck. I wake up in the morning an munch on ice for a while and it helps me burp or settles my stomach. If that doesn’t help, ask your doctor if you can use GasX or equivalent on occasion. Doctors like to see their patients use the bipap at least 5 hours a night. That’s what I was told by my doctor. Try to keep using your machine as much as possible.
      Q4. Bipap mask sterilizer?
      A. I’ve never heard of such a machine and I’ve only cleaned my mask by hand or even using a scent-free, alcohol-free baby wipe for a fast wipe down of my mask when I don’t have much time.

      I hope these answers helped. Sorry it took so long to reply. *hugs* I hope they all make sense. You can email me at goredrider@gmail.com I hope to hear from you again! … christine

  26. Thank you so much for this info. I am trying to help my 90 year old mother who is in a nursing home get used to her he bipap. If I o

  27. Hi.
    I got put on bipap on my last hospital stay.
    I have pulmonary hypertension.
    It did take me a little while to get used to it.
    In on 02 continuously.
    I’ve had 2 sleep studies done.. 1 said I had sleep apnea. Second 1 said I did not.
    I have a problem of taking off 02 and bipap face mask.
    No idea why. I don’t remember doing it.
    Lucky for me, my body screams for 02 by giving me a headache so bad it wakes me up.
    I’ve been able to keep bi pap on now and I enjoy it. I use it for naps as well.I just wish someone would have suggested it earlier.
    Thanks for your blog. It did help me understand how it works.

    • Hi Melinda,
      I used to wake up with headaches so bad that I would have run to the bathroom to dry heave every morning. (Throwing up without anything coming up) This was all before getting my bipap. Even sleeping with just oxygen didn’t get rid of all the headaches (except migraines) but the bipap did. Yay! Are you a heavy sleeper with the bipap now? The only times I take off my mask is to get up to use the restroom but I’m always awake enough to put my bipap mask back on. *hugs* I hope you are doing well.

  28. Hi I’ve only just been put if bi pap I have been put on at hospital before. When on it I’m very aware of breathing in but not out is this normal they took alll my settings at hospital I have emphysema thanks dawn

    • Hi Dawn, the pressures of your bipap normally have the inspiration setting to be set higher than the expiration pressure. Since you’re on a bipap and have an inspiration and an expiration setting, air will always be in your lungs. You won’t be able to fully exhale because the bipap expiration setting requires you to maintain a certain amount of air in your lungs all the time. This helps you fight sleep apnea and helps reduce CO2 retention. Are you having trouble sleeping? If you are, you should talk with your doctor about it. They want you to be comfortable with using this machine so that you get the best possible sleep. ☺

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