A nasal mask is like a small full face mask that covers your whole nose, but not your mouth. A nasal pillow mask fits on the nostrils of your nose. My wife originally used a Mirage nasal mask for a number of years. It had to be fairly tight or it leaked, and it left marks on her face that took a few hours to go away after she got up in the AM. I convinced her to try the F&P Brevida nasal pillow mask, and she now likes it much better. I have tried 5 different masks including the Brevida and have settled on the basic ResMed AirFit P10. I think the secret with a nasal pillow mask is to get the right fit on your nostrils. The mask insert size should be as big as possible while still sealing to your nose. I think an insert that is too small goes too far into the nose and can cause irritation, and at times can also restrict flow. My wife initially rejected the Brevida because she said it was impossible to breathe out. The size was the problem, and she now uses the larger of the two sizes it comes with. I also use the large size of the P10. I do find if it is not inserted correctly or the straps are too tight, it can crush the nasal cone part and restrict flow as well.
I think for sleeping on your side the smaller the mask the better it is. The Mirage FX is still a fair sized mask and it can dislodge on contact with the pillow. The Brevida is smaller and easier to sleep on your side with. And the P10 is smaller still and I think the better of the two, but I have not convinced my wife of that yet! The headgear on the Brevida is definitely better than on the P10.
Those are the only two nasal and nasal pillow masks I have experience with. The Mirage Quatro and AirFit F20 full face masks were a definite no go for me. One issue with nasal masks is air leaks through your mouth. I now tape my mouth to prevent it. My wife was highly resistant to that practice as well, but I have finally convinced her of the benefit. It has made an amazing reduction in her obstructive apnea frequency, as well as stopping the dry mouth issue.
Hope that helps some,
thank you for your detailed reply. I think nasal pillows are the best option for me at this point since it seems like there is a workaround for the exhale problem.
As for the masks themselves do you know the difference between the F&P Brevida and Pilairo? and would you recommend either of them over the Airfit P10?
I am not familiar with the Pilairo mask. I think it is one of the older ones, but don't know any more. I initially tried the Brevida, but I found it irritated my nose. It seemed to put too much pressure on the area between my nostrils. I suspect if I toughed it out, it would have worked for me eventually. I pawned it off on my wife and she likes it. The big issue in my opinion with the P10 is the somewhat mickey mouse headgear. I have cut mine and overlapped it about 1" and made it tighter. I also use a chin strap over top to hold it in place. If the Brevida did not bug my nose, I would prefer it over the P10. The headgear is quite a bit better. There is another mask that ResMed makes called the Swift FX. It has better headgear than the P10, but it is a bit bigger and makes a bit more noise.
In the end everyone has different preferences and will tolerate a different mask...
I have only tried two nasal pillow masks so I can't make comparisons to Sierra's choices.
The first was an early version or the F&P Pilairo and it worked well for two nights then broke. I didn't get another one because it was a silly design and would break anytime I was careless in cleaning it. I presume they rectified the problem eventually.
The one I have been using for years now is the Philips Nuance with the largest pillows that they supply. It works ok most of the time even though I spend much of the night on my side. Of course I take the time before equipping it to clear congestion and I use nasal sprays if all else fails and I also use antihistamines if I need to manage colds or allergies. Nasal pillows don't work so well if you have blocked sinuses.
Does it always work well? No. Often when I first put it on I have to fiddle around with it until both nostrils are getting a clear flow but once it's working the airways seem to expand and stay clear because it is usually ok for the rest of the night.
thanks for your input. Is there a reason you went with the Phillips Nuance over say the phillips dreamware?
I can't remember why I ended up with the nuance but i was in the wrong state without contacts or support at the time and no budget for masks so i havent tried any others except the Pillairo that broke.
I had to replace the nuance after 3 years so I simply bought the same one again online. There may be far better ones out there but it works for me and i can't afford to experiment.
For what it is worth CPAP.com lists their masks in order of sales volume. It gives you an idea which ones are the most popular. Also with each mask there is typically many reviews by users. I have a friend that uses a DreamWear gel nasal pillow mask, and he likes it. Some complain about the noise in the two tubes that go up to the top of your head though.