After having a minor procedure on my throat under general anesthesia last year, my uvula and sides of the opening to my throat were very swollen. After the swelling resolved, I began have apnea when exhaling, but to my knowledge not while inhaling. It's like my soft palate and uvula dropped down and the area is now much smaller in the back of my throat than before the surgery. I began to wake up unable to breathe out, and would literally have to sit up to exhale. Sometimes it would happen when leaning back while awake. It was so bad, I began to try to sleep upright in a recliner. Sometimes when I tried to blow my nose, something would collapse and it would just make a mmph sound. I went to 2 ENTs in my area, but they had never heard of this condition and didn't know what to do about it. I went to the only other ENT in my area, but he was also not familiar with the problem, and suggested a sleep study since he owns a sleep study lab.
The sleep study did reveal apneas and hypopneas but did not specify whether on inhalation or exhalation. I could not tolerate a C-PAP, but did tolerate Bi-PAP. So now I have to use the machine and can breathe normally when lying down. However, air is forced into my stomach, so that some nights I wake up in excruciating pain, or feel as though I will vomit. I can feel it popping some valve open in my throat as it forces air in. It is set on 10/6 and I use a nasal pillow. I have contacted the ENT's representative at the sleep study office and they said the setting is the lowest that the ENT agrees for it to be at in order to keep my events low and that they were not familiar with the machine forcing air into the stomach. I don't get much sleep anymore, since if I wear the Bi-PAP, I have stomach pain, but feel as though I smother if I don't wear it.
The ENT has a very busy practice which mostly deals with pediatric cases and is not interested in helping me resolve this issue. I wish I knew of a way to stop the exhalation apnea so I could stop wearing the Bi-PAP. Other than this issue, I am very healthy and not overweight and I exercise on a regular basis. Has anyone else been able to resolve either an exhalation apnea problem or the problem with air going into their the stomach when using a machine? Otherwise, does anyone know of an ENT that will deal with these particular issues?
First, I would download a copy of ResScan so that you can follow the results of any changes. It can be downloaded for free from this site and can be found under the Private files and Links in the Private Area under the main Apnea Board Forum page. You need to be running windows for ResScan. The only reason that I am not recommending Sleepyhead is that I am not sure that it is ready for the Aircurve yet.
Next, I would turn down my inhalation pressure a little at a time and watch your results to ensure that nothing is going wacko. It might not take too much to reduce your aerophagia.