Vaso Motor Rhinitis from Cpap

by Monica

I have found that I cannot use the Cpap due to severe reaction to Cpap -even after 3-4 hours use a night, I wake up with extreme watery eyes, a constant running nose and severe sneezing jags - this lasts from - 10 - 20 hours.

I tested the timing and tried different things, but the condition I just described became worse with every use.

I went back to pulmonary doctor and he was the one who said I had the Vaso Motor Rhinitis - he sent me to ENT, who wants to do surgery - says I have small jaw and neck - extra cartilage in nose and deviated septum.

I have gone untreated for my sleep apnea for at least 2 years and I'm not doing all that well - I'm very worried that I can develop heart disease. What can I do?


Vaso Motor Rhinitis is one of the challenges of CPAP therapy. Some people have mask leaks, others have congestion and swollen eyes.

Types of Rhinitis

You did very well to speak with your doctor. There are many types of rhinitis, such as:

  • allergic rhinitis,

  • non-allergic rhinitis,

  • extrinsec,

  • intrinsec rhinitis, and others.

Risk Factors for Rhinitis

All these different types are caused by many risk factors, such as:

  • side effects from medication,

  • overuse of nasal decongestants,

  • intolerance to aspirin,

  • antihypertensive drugs (drugs that treat high blood pressure),

  • acetylchoinesterase inhibitors (medication used for Alzheimer's disease)

  • food: alcohol, fish, chocolate, red wine, hot pepper,

  • drugs for erectile dysfunction,

  • workplace: scientists discovered 450 substances that can trigger rhinitis,

  • environmental factors: CPAP, air conditioning, smoking, stress, and others.

  • changes in hormonal levels: pregnancy, stress,

  • unknown causes.

You can find more about the causes and treatments for rhinitis in this document: "Management of chronic rhinitis"

What to do if you have Vaso Motor Rhinitis from CPAP?

You now know that rhinitis can be caused by continuous positive airway pressure, but the exact causes that affects your body are not entirely understood.

However, there are some useful things that you can do to help your CPAP therapy while having rhinitis (but be sure to check with your doctor first):

  • Increase moisture - if the air from your CPAP machine enters too dry into your airways, you will have serious problems with runny nose. If you have a humidifier for CPAP (which you should have), increase the settings so that you can receive warm air.

    You need to experiment with your humidifier settings, because it's a certain setting that can make you feel better.

  • Drink lots of liquids - drinking plenty of water during the day will assure great airway humidification during the night.

  • Use a CPAP mouth mask - This mask directs the CPAP air flow directly into your mouth, avoiding contact with your nose.

    For example, the Oracle HC452 mouth mask may be helpful for you:

  • Rinse your sinuses twice a day, every day. A Neti Pot can be helpful in severe congestion or infection.

  • use saline spray as often as necessary. You don't need a prescription for saline sprays.

I hope it helps. Don't be afraid to comment back.

Remy Thierry
Founder of Sleep Apnea Guide

Comments for Vaso Motor Rhinitis from Cpap

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Oct 28, 2016
to Monica from Delaware
by: Anonymous

CPAP tubing and silicone seals contain phthalates, a plasticizer which is known to cause non-allergic rhinitis symptoms. Phthalates have been removed from children's silicone toys and most medical tubing, but not from CPAP equipment. Contact the FDA to express your concern about this.

Dec 30, 2016
This is not an allergy!!!!!!!!!!
by: Cathleen Goode

I have the same problem. Every timeI use my CPAP I have the same reaction. It has been examined and noted that it's "as clean as a whistle" and no reason for this reaction could be determined.

I've tried so many different masks and spent more money than I can count on them. Nothing seems to work. Overtime I've tried to use the machine in the last year and a half, I've ended up with the same symptoms- runny nose, sneezing, raw nose form blowing/sneezing.

These symptoms last for days. I'm at the point where I'm desperate for a good night's sleep and have now purchased yet another mask. I'm going to try the Oracle 452, an oral mask. This is driving me crazy and broke at the same time!!!!!!

Jun 13, 2017
Had severe allergy to silicone mask
by: Anonymous

Sleep apnea treatment is the biggest scam going. Drs and equipment manufacturers are having a field day with this "condition." Many people who are dx with sleep apnea do not truly have it.

There are more simple ways to be treated than with CPAP machines. Fitted mouthpieces are the best option and least expensive.

Don't let the system take your sleep and money away from you. Try it before you waste your time and money with drs and ridiculous equipment the keeps you from getting a good nights sleep.

Silicone is a cancer-causing chemical agent and that's what all these products are made of. You're breathing through a tube made from chemicals all night long.

Aug 25, 2017
mouth guards
by: Anonymous

I would be just as concerned by putting a mouth guard in my mouth as it is made of man-made material as well. It also adjusts the bite. That is something that I would be concerned about long term..

The CPAP is cheaper up here in Canada vs dental appliance. I know of one lady that paid through the nose for a dental appliance and still has to wear cpap. She is good with the silicone mask and she is allergic to just about everything.

Sep 12, 2017
by: Anonymous

Just reading this for the first time. You do have troubles. I am using QNasal if I have to--but its after the fact. Have had no problems with nose swelling (other than allergies in FL) until I started CPAP.

If I use the moisture and heat, I wake up sick. If i use the air dry by itself my lips stick to my teeth. I am going to the doc to see what can be done about this.

Also have pulmonary hypertension--arteries from heart to lungs do not pump enough oxygen. Do not know the reason for this. It is very rare. A must I get oxygen some how without getting sick.

Feb 14, 2018
Rhinitis problem
by: Margaret Green

I just happened to see this and Im so pleased I did.
I visited my sleep clinic and mentioned that I felt that the CPAP nasal mask was making my rhinitis worse. When I take the mask off I start to sneeze.

This goes on for a long time. I find that the least little irritant sets me off sneezing now. Much worse than before using the machine.

I think the mouth fitting may be benificial

Mar 24, 2020
by: Anonymous

If antihistamines do not fix your reaction to the cpap, it is most likely the humidity being too low that is the cause of your reaction. The reason the humidity needs to be higher is that your airway being under continuous pressure, will be dried much faster than under normal breathing.

Your body reacts to this drying by reacting with a running nose and accompanying sinus issues. In this situation, it is a physical not allergic reaction, and changing masks, materials etc will make only minor changes compared to humidifying.

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