Old 12-29-2010, 11:33 AM
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Middle TN
Posts: 4,398
CPAP and nasal congestion

I have reluctantly joined the community of hosenosers. I have a mask with nasal pillows, and am having trouble with nasal congestion. For as long as I can remember, I have had mild chronic congestion. Basically, what happens when I sleep is that whatever nostril is lower (I sleep on my side) fills up, and the top nostril is clear. Then I roll over, mouth breath for a bit while everything sorts itself out, and go back to breathing through my nose. This wasn't a problem until using my CPAP.

My doctor gave me a prescription for azelastine, which I haven't filled yet. It's my last resort.

I have tried a neti pot a few times, with no real improvement.

My CPAP has heated humidity, which I am using.

Any ideas from my fellow hosenosers?
Old 12-29-2010, 11:55 AM
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 5,902
I don't use a CPAP, but I've had chronic congestion. The neti pot helps me flush out any accumulated crap and keeps my sinuses moist, but it doesn't really help me when my snotlocker is working overtime.

Generally if I'm feeling particularly stuffed up and congested, I'll take a Sudafed during the day to dry me out. I obviously don't take them before bed, but I generally remain cleared up enough from the daytime dose to sleep. If swelling is a problem, I use Flonase in the spring and find it effective. Wikipedia says azelastine is a weaker anti-inflammatory but faster acting.
Old 12-29-2010, 11:59 AM
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: On the cusp, also in SF
Posts: 6,201
I can't really help you, since I use a full-face mask precisely because I have too much nasal congestion to be able to use a nasal mask. In my case it's related to allergies and it doesn't respond enough to any medication that I care to take on a regular basis.

The full face mask works for me, but I would only recommend it if you can't find another solution. I would recommend it ahead of a lot of drugs, though (I am not familiar with the drug that you mention), but that's just my reluctance to become more pharmaceutically dependent than I already am.

Good luck,

Old 12-29-2010, 12:11 PM
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: N/W Arkansas
Posts: 8,413
I use a nose mask.
Serious days I take a diphenhydramine/ benadryl 30 minutes before bed.
I use the water tank but on cool. Helps to up your pressure a notch.
My throat auto locks air tight but will not with just pillows / cannula.

I need the overpressure a seal gives. Works for me even though I have a full beard.

Old 12-29-2010, 12:24 PM
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: In a country of hope...
Posts: 4,816
I use a full-face mask as well. I still get the occasional congestion like the OP describes, and switching sides clears it up. I tried the pillows and had a hard time breathing with them. It may have been psychological, but having objects in my nostrils just didn't work for me.

Last edited by Southern Yankee; 12-29-2010 at 12:25 PM. Reason: Didn't mean to quote the post above mine.
Old 12-29-2010, 01:35 PM
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
Posts: 6,608
I have a full-face mask, and love the way my CPAP clears up my congestion when I have a stuffy nose, so that I can sleep all night. It may take a few minutes, but unless I have a serious cold (which I've only had a few of since using the CPAP) the pressure forces everything to open up. I don't have the congestion problem you have, though. And I really hate things in my nose. But there are stuffy days when I long to just get in bed with the mask on so I don't have to fight to breathe.
Old 12-29-2010, 05:10 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Mid Atlantic, USA
Posts: 9,115
Welcome to the club. I started with a full face mask, and then switched to a nasal pillow, and had to give it up because it seemed to CAUSE nasal congestion. I think it had something to do with pressing up on my nose, like that made it swell inside or something. So I am back with the full face mask, and the congestion disappeared immediately.
Old 12-29-2010, 08:05 PM
Just Lovely and Delicious
Charter Member
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Northeast Ohio
Posts: 24,490
How did you use the neti pot when you tried it? I ask because I tried it last year and I thought it didn't work for me because I stayed stuffy. But everyone else in the world said the neti pot is the shit and I was mad that it didn't work for me.

This year, however, I started using it daily (well, nightly) and using it regularly seems to have made a big improvement. It's not a "I'll use it tonight and see if it helps" type thing for me, it is a "if I use it regularly every night it does help" thing.

FWIW I do not have sleep apnea or use a CPAP. But wanted to chime in with neti pot advice if you want to give it another go.
Old 12-30-2010, 08:57 AM
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: West of Downeast
Posts: 66
I use a nasal pillow system. Turning down the humidity on the CPAP may help by drying you out a bit.
Old 12-31-2010, 05:30 PM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 5,255
My boyfriend's brother has the nasal pillows and he completely detests them. The DOT requires that he wear it for a minimum of 4 hours a night so he does, to keep his job. But, he takes it off for the rest of the night. I don't know if it causes congestion in him though, or if he just doesn't like wearing it.

My boyfriend uses a nasal mask (the squishy gel one) and the mask hasn't caused congestion for him. Actually, he has had a bad cold for over a week now (my fault, I gave it to him) and other than the second day of the cold, the mask has helped to clear up the cold congestion enough for him to get a good night sleep. Maybe you can try different styles of mask until you find one that's comfortable.

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