Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) has long been the go-to therapy for snoring and sleep apnea and it is often the first treatment option prescribed by doctors due to its non-invasive nature. While the device can be an effective treatment that delivers a steady stream of pressurized air to prevent airway obstruction at night, it only works when it’s being worn. And for many CPAP users, wearing the mask on a nightly basis is neither realistic nor desirable. In fact, CPAP compliance rates are quite low – less than 50% of patients actually wear the device as directed by their doctor. This means that every minute spent asleep for these individuals is time spent subjected to the health risks of obstructive sleep apnea. For the loved ones of chronic snorers, this also means interrupted sleep punctuated by noisy snoring.
Common Complaints About CPAP
There are numerous complaints that may lead you to jump on the “I hate CPAP” bandwagon and reasons vary from one person to the next. Some commonly cited grievances include:
- Uncomfortable fit – The large size of the CPAP mask and the significant portion of the face that it covers makes it hard for many to get comfortable enough to sleep at night.
- Claustrophobic feelings – The mask can produce feelings of claustrophobia or even fear of suffocating – not sensations that make it easy for anyone to relax enough to drift off to sleep.
- Noisy sounds – The operating noises produced by the machine are a common source of complaint by CPAP users, their bed partners and anyone within hearing range.
- Facial and nasal irritation – The pressure and fit of the mask on the face can cause irritation to the sensitive skin around the mouth and nasal area.
- Negative side effects – Add possible side effects like a sore throat, runny nose or dry mouth to the mix, and the CPAP mask can lead to some unpleasant symptoms to wake up to – making it challenging to start the day on a positive note.
If you’re someone who relates to the “I hate CPAP” sentiment, you certainly have good reason to. What’s more – you’re not alone in having these feelings. Many CPAP users are unhappy and unsatisfied with the therapy. But the good news is that CPAP is not your only option to treat sleep apnea and snoring. There are a number of alternative treatments, many of which can be performed right from a doctor’s office with minimal downtime and great results.
The First Step to Getting Rid of CPAP
Before any kind of alternative treatment can be tried, a thorough evaluation is necessary in order to pinpoint what’s causing your snoring or sleep apnea condition. These causes vary from person to person. For this reason, treatment must be tailored to deal with the underlying factors that are unique to your condition. In other words, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. If your condition is being caused by excess tissue in the soft palate, your treatment options will be different than for someone whose snoring is due to a tongue that keeps collapsing into the back of their throat at night. You need to work with a doctor who specializes in customizing treatment plans to your personal needs.
I Hate CPAP: I Need Mask-Free Treatment Options
For most patients, effective, long-term relief from snoring and sleep apnea doesn’t require drastic measures. In fact, many of today’s CPAP alternative treatments can be performed right in the doctor’s office. They are surprisingly non-invasive, or minimally invasive at most, and the recovery time is normally no longer than one day. Let’s take a look at the treatment alternatives offered at the Snoring and Sleep Institute of Atlanta.
- Oral Appliance Therapy – Oral appliance therapy, like CPAP, is a completely non-invasive treatment option. It is a device similar to a mouth guard that’s worn at night. Though small in size, it can make a huge impact in snoring intensity and the prevention of airway obstruction. The device is fabricated to fit your mouth and works by repositioning the jaw and/or tongue so as to enlarge the airway and improve breathing. Learn more >
- Base of Tongue Ablation – With this treatment, radio frequency energy is used to gently shrink and stiffen the soft tissue at the base of your tongue. In effect, this creates a wider airway opening and also reduces the chances that your tongue will fall back into the throat, causing obstruction during sleep. This procedure takes approximately 30 minutes to perform and you are back to regular activities, including eating, by the following day. Learn more >
- Pillar Procedure – Like base of tongue ablation, the Pillar Procedure is also an in-office, minimally invasive treatment. It is used on patients who have excess soft palate tissue and it effectively shrinks and stiffens this area. It involves the use of a special tool to carefully insert small woven implants into the roof of your mouth. In the weeks following the quick procedure, the soft palate will become firmer. This prevents loose skin from flapping over the airway and partially or completely blocking it. Most patients are able to resume normal activities the same day as the procedure. Learn more >
Break Free from CPAP in Atlanta
Regardless of whether you have uttered the words, “I hate CPAP,” or you have been hesitant to seek treatment for your snoring because you feel uncomfortable with the idea of CPAP, there are now ways you can stop snoring without the use of the dreaded mask. Find out whether you’re a candidate for one of the non-invasive options or minimally invasive procedures that can effectively treat the underlying causes of your problem. It all starts by scheduling an appointment with Atlanta-based sleep specialist, Dr. Pradeep Sinha.
Snore-free and CPAP-free nights start with a consultation at the Snoring and Sleep Institute of Atlanta. Fill out the schedule form on this page to take the first step towards better sleep without the mask.