Sore on the bridge of the nose from CPAP mask
I have used a CPAP for 6 years now and in the last 6 months I have had 2 different nose sores. It takes forever to heal and they are so ugly and they hurt.
After the first one I discovered a comfort pad and it helped heal the first sore quickly. Now I have gotten another one and it is not healing well.
I am wondering if the tissue on the bridge of my nose is getting broken down after 6 years of a mask on it.
Can you give me any advice on healing this one and what are my alternatives? I like the CPAP and do not want to discontinue use...but I can't go this route either.
AnswerSore on the bridge of the nose
from the use of CPAP mask is a very common problem in patients with CPAP.
This sore nose problem really ticks many CPAP users off. We cannot understand why the companies that manufacture these masks do not address these issues.
All the CPAP masks have to be worn for at least 6 hours every night by persons that have enough difficulty trying to learn how to sleep with these CPAP problems
. And we cannot accept that there is no technology that cannot address these issues and at least make it a little easier.
Fortunately, there are methods to resolve the mask problems, including the sore nose
, thanks to many CPAP users who tried everything to make their sleep and life easier.
Causes of Sore on the Bridge of the Nose
If you're developing a sore, there are three main possible causes:
- an allergy with the material of the CPAP mask,
- a rubbing-related sore caused by a wrong adjustment of the CPAP mask,
- you may have the wrong CPAP mask for your face structure.
Alternatives for the Sore Nose Problem
- Cause: Contact Allergy with the CPAP Mask - if you have a reaction to latex or a similar material, changing to a non-latex mask can resolve this issue.
Furthermore, many CPAP users change their mask with nasal pillows, which can be extremely comfortable and also eliminate the sore nose discomfort and claustrophobia problems.
The nasal pillows doesn't touch your bridge of the nose, and I can't think of any other way you're going to be able to continue to use your CPAP while you wait for your nose to heal.
- Cause: CPAP Mask Misadjustment - You might have your CPAP mask too tight or too loose on your face, or not adjusted properly.
I don't know the type of your mask, but many masks have the forehead connector with more than one position. Your mask can be pulled too tight at the top and you should experiment with adjustments until you get it right.
If you try a different position, the sore nose problem can be solved right away. There are 3 or 4 settings to allow for a recessed forehead or protruding forehead.
Do you have your straps too tight? Many CPAP users tighten the straps to prevent the air leaks, but this is not the right way to do it.
The CPAP mask is designed to form a bubble when you turn on the CPAP machine. The straps shouldn't be too tight or too loose to maintain this bubble. You can learn more about mask fitting here or in one issue of Sleep Apnea Newsletter.
- Cause: Wrong mask for your face - If these methods don't work, you should contact your supplier as there is a possibility that you were incorrectly fitted.
New Method to Avoid Sore on the Bridge of the Nose
If you want to keep your CPAP mask, this method can help you avoid sore nose in the future without changing the mask. I found this tip in a forum about sleep apnea and sore nose, and the method is also called "Peke's silicone ear plug tip", after the person who shared it.
You just have to find a way to let the nose heal, and then try this method:
- Firstly, you need silicone ear plugs, like Mack's Pillow Soft Silicone Earplugs. You can use them several times before you have to throw them away.
- version 1: roll the earplug and squeeze it into a rope and placed it under your mask where it's rubbing your nose, or where you have leaks,
- version 2: or you can attach the earplug to the silicone liner like this "/\" (use as many earplugs as you need to do this), and press it gently all around until it's flattened and even with the inside edge. Then, when you put on the mask, it will flatten even more and it stay in place.
- with Peke's silicone ear plug tip, you may discover that you have an incredible seal, and no soreness and bruising in the morning.
- If your nose is still sore from previous wearing, I suggest you protect the bridge with a small sized Band-Aid with all but quarter inch of adhesive cut off on each side or something like that to protect your nose even under the putty.
- Be careful of that sore spot if it has broken skin. Keep it clean and pad it when you wear the mask. Moleskin is good.
I think it is very sad that we have to resort to earplugs, comfort pads, Band-Aid, latex, etc. to make these masks wearable. Until the companies that make them care enough to try to improve their designs, I guess we'll keep on having to use our own ingenuity.
But why should they care? As long as we are uncomfortable, we'll keep on buying masks to try to find the right one. Sounds like a win-win situation for them.
I hope it helps. Don't be afraid to comment back. Remy Thierry
Founder of Sleep Apnea Guide