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Claustrophobic from mask, pain in nostrils

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Meg444 +0 points · over 2 years ago Original Poster

Hi all, Newby here with a question.

I am 41 year old female.

I was diagnosed with Mild Apnea but I did the at home study test. My doctor said based on my symptoms he would say it is moderate. I wake up choking and gasping for breath a lot. Very fatigued As well. During my test I stopped breathing three times at 113 seconds each time with over 70 episodes per night lasting over 30 seconds. Even when I was thin I had major violent choking episodes in the middle of the night. After every surgery I would wake up on oxygen and the doctor asking me why I didn’t tell them I had sleep apnea although I had never been diagnosed.

Anyway, my “mild” apnea now has me on an auto cpap. I have had it and used it for three nights now. I know there is an adjustment period and I breathe just fine with it. The problem comes after 3 or so hours of wearing it that I wake up every ten minutes with my nostrils hurting. It is as loose as I can get it while still keeping a seal, I have tried all three pillows but it is just so uncomfortable. I will lay awake waiting for the 4 hour mark so I can rip it off. I have to wear it for 4 hours for compliance with my insurance.

I feel confined and desperate to get it off. Last night my events were about 6 an hour wearing it for four hours. This mask cost me a small fortune at the recommendation of my doctor but a friend has the one the covers just the nose and not the nasil pillows. Would that one be more comfortable? The nasal pillows just don’t fit me properly. I do have large nostrils for a female and they gave me the for her set with the largest size being a medium. I am a nose breather so I don’t want the full face. I also tend to get up and pee about four to five times a night so taking it off would need to be easy.

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NiceSilverBison1316 +0 points · over 2 years ago

Hi Meg. The nasal pillows are probably your best bet for comfort and since you are a nose breather, they should be ideal. Sounds like you have the wrong size nose insert for your mask. I have the ResMed Swift FX and it comes with small, medium and large nose inserts. If your nostrils are hurting, you are probably using too large a size. I would give a smaller size a try.

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Meg444 +0 points · over 2 years ago Original Poster

Thank you! I have tried the xs and the small these last three nights. The only one I have not used all night but did for an hour or so during a nap is the medium. It did seem to hurt worse. I will try the xs again tonight to see what happens. I believe if I am remembering correct that it did not hurt as much but the seal was not good. Maybe because that was my first night and I was literally fighting against it. I was thinking of trying the medium tonight to see if I didn’t give it a fair shot but will go with the small instead now that I am a tiny bit more practiced just to see if it hurts as much.

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wiredgeorge +0 points · over 2 years ago Sleep Enthusiast

Nasal pillows and nasal masks work for some depending on the pressure setting their machine is calibrated to. Lower pressures make these masks more usable and higher pressures seem like nasal pillows or nasal masks are not as suitable.

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SleepDent +0 points · over 2 years ago Sleep Commentator

That is correct. To take the explanation a step further, at the higher pressure settings, air tends to leak at higher rates out of the mouth, destabilizing the system and making the cheeks flutter, which is uncomfortable. This tends not to happen so much at the lower pressure settings, so the nasal pillows and nasal masks work better. Arthur B. Luisi, Jr., D.M.D.

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sleeptech +0 points · over 2 years ago Sleep Enthusiast

There is no reason a nasal (around the nose) mask wouldn't be fine for you, especially if you are getting sore nostrils. The Fisher & Paykel Eson 2 is my current favourite. Or you could consider the Respironics DreamWear in under nose configuration. It is like the intranasal (up the nose) mask you currently have except that instead of having 2 prongs that seal against you nostrils it has a little cup that sits under your nose. Try googling some pictures to get an idea. I suspect that you will find that any intranasal mask will produce similar irritation because they all fit in pretty much the same way.

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doctorlulu +0 points · over 2 years ago

Just want to add that I think it's cool you are getting help for what appears to be severe sleep issues. Perhaps with use the pain will fade.

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Meg444 +0 points · over 2 years ago Original Poster

I went to the xs nasal pillow and now have a sore developing in my right nostril. A friend had an extra nasal mask (brand new still in packaging) that I tried for one night but I woke ip clawing it off of my head and short of breath. I need to do something. I am unable to keep this thing on for more than four hours and usually wake up every 30 minutes with it on. I am more exhausted now than before the cpap. So.. experimenting more I will try the larger pillow tonight and see how that goes again. I may end up with the full face mask. Perhaps I do have the restless legs as my legs always hurt and I am always tossing an turning. Time for a revisit to the doctor. The good news. The cpap has gotten my episodes down to 0 when I do wear it. Perhaps that is because I am awake most of the time I have it on??? Lol.

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sleeptech +0 points · over 2 years ago Sleep Enthusiast

I know I mentioned this before, but It sounds like the Respironics DreamWear under nose mask may suit you well. Google it to get an idea.

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Despair +0 points · over 2 years ago

I'm going on 9 months. I had the same reaction - not claustrophobia, but pulling the mask off - in the early days. That passed, but it happens now and again. I don't know why, but some nights I just have to pull it off. Not often, though. Good luck.

I also have sore nostrils, and I'm going to search the forum for solutions.

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PioneeringEmeraldSquid8075 +0 points · over 2 years ago

Nasal gel may help with the sore nostrils. I use it every night and the air blowing no longer dries out my nostrils.

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Meg444 +0 points · over 2 years ago Original Poster

The small mask seems to be working better. I still can’t wear it for more than five hours but I do sleep a little better. I have been desperate to take it off several times but managed to keep it on. We will see how it goes.

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sleeptech +0 points · over 2 years ago Sleep Enthusiast

Well done you.

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