A health question - CPAP

catherinet(5 IN)June 3, 2007

Hi everyone,

I hope this isn't real inappropriate of me to ask this question here. There seem to be a number of us around the same age group, and I'm desperate for answers, so I guess I'll risk being out-of-line asking this here. (I have no shame!) ;)

I have sleep apnea and was started on an auto PAP machine, using Swift nasal pillow about 6 weeks ago. About a week later, I experienced some nausea and dizziness, but ignored it. 3 weeks ago I had a colonoscopy that went fine. The next day I got severely nauseous and dizzy. I had heard that colonoscopies can ruin your good gut bacteria, so I began probiotics. But I also had concerns that my nausea a week, and slowly started feeling better. I saw the ENT and he said he thought my ears were fine. I was excited, since I was really getting more energy from using the APAP. I restarted the APAP, and within 2 days, I was sicker than a dog. I was forced to stop the APAP again, and will see my Internist tomorrow.

Have any of you ever heard of such a thing......severe nausea and dizziness from using CPAP/APAP?

Again, I apologize if this is inappropriate...but I'm desperate trying to find answers. My sleep doctor and ENT haven't heard of this problem, but I know a couple people on the internet had it......but it was from archived info, so I can't contact them. Thanks for tolerating me here! :)

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Sorry Cat - I don't know about this problem. I hope you feel better and solve it though. I would not worry about asking on this forum. We are all friends here.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2007 at 1:28PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

How sweet of you comettose.....thank you!

    Bookmark   June 3, 2007 at 1:52PM
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I'm sorry I can't help you, either, Catherine! And I agree with CT about your posting of stuff on here. :)

I sure hope someone can get the bottom of this for you so you can start to feel better real soon!


    Bookmark   June 3, 2007 at 7:36PM
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horton(6 b Ontario.)

Cathy, have you tried doing a search on Google or Yahoo?
Just type in CPAP/APAP? + Adverse Reactions, and see what comes up.
Good luck with it.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2007 at 7:48PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

Thanks everyone,
Yes, I've googled the heck of things and can't really find anything. There is one other person on the sleep apnea forum I'm on who has incredible dizziness from her CPAP, but none of the doctors will acknowledge that its from the CPAP.....even though it goes away when she doesn't use it.
It seems really logical to me. If you're pumping a higher pressure of air into your sinuses, some people's ears might be too sensitive for it, and you'd get some dizziness/nausea problems. Its hard for me to believe that it doesn't happen to more people.
I'll keep on with my search. Its a bummer to finally find something that helps with my fatigue......only to have bad nausea from it! As Rosanne Rosannadanna used to say "There's always somethin'!" :)
Thanks for all your replies!

    Bookmark   June 3, 2007 at 8:46PM
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zinniachick(southwest Ohio)

This is probably a forum you know about (or is that you who posted?) These people seem to think it's the plastic smell. I think your theory makes more sense. A kink in the communication between the senses and the inner ear can make you want to ralph.

Here is a link that might be useful: apneasupport.org

    Bookmark   June 3, 2007 at 10:19PM
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sheepco(MN z4)

Hi Cathy, I know 3 friends on CPAP, no problems with nausea, Sorry I can't help, hope you find an answer.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2007 at 10:36PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

Thanks Zinniachick and Sarah!

I was talking with someone on a sleep forum, and she has the same problem. I've discovered that we both had severe motion sickness as a child.......so maybe that somehow says we have delicate ears??
I go to the Internist today. Maybe its something else altogether. Whatever it is, I am SO ready to NOT be nauseous!! (Too bad I didn't lose my appetite!!......its always the last thing to go. lol!)
But I will be terribly bummed out if I can't use the CPAP machine anymore. Seems like a cruel joke......to finally find a cure for my endless fatigue, only to be made totally nauseous and dizzy from it! I think the gods are playing tricks on me.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2007 at 9:40AM
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I'm just curious, Catherine. Are you dizzy all the time? Or only when doing certain activities (i.e., while turning over on one side while lying in bed, while looking up, etc.). I ask because I was recently diagnosed with benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), and I did get nauseous when I had a bad bout of it.

I had remembered that DH and I had taken a LONG day trip over to the coast, across some places with 6,000 ft. elevations, prior to the symptoms. At one point, the dizziness was so bad, I couldn't get up on the table in the doc's office without help from DH. I'm thinking that the pressure caused it, but the docs are SO noncommittal. You know how THAT goes. :)

I've also had a history of motion sickness, and my ears tend to plug up a lot.

Ummm, and it didn't make me lose my appetite, either. Dang it! LOL Have you been to see an ear, nose, throat person yet?


    Bookmark   June 4, 2007 at 7:41PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

Hi Brenda,
Oh gosh, I would be so bummed out to get some sort of vertigo problem. Is BPPV very different from Meniere's?
No, I'm not dizzy all the time. But I am pretty nauseous most of the time. When I was using the CPAP for several weeks, I would have sudden episodes of dizziness......thought I would fall down. But it would only last a second or 2. The longer I was off the CPAP, the less I had those episodes. I just never know when the milder dizziness is going to hit. One strange thing I've noticed though is that if I look very sharply to the left, it makes me dizzy.
I know dizziness can cause nausea........but can nausea cause dizziness?
I saw my Internist today and he's suspecting my gall bladder. He said he'd really find it extremely unusual for it to be my CPAP. But.......I just know that my ears are funky and it doesn't take much for me to get dizzy.......like on an elevator, and when someone bumps my office chair and jiggles it a little, I immediately get dizzy and nauseous.
My one eustachian tube is always closing up too. It stayed open the entire 5 weeks I was on the CPAP so you know air pressure is getting up there.
There are some places in town that deal with the otoliths in the ears being out of place........so if nothing else shows up, I think I might pay them a visit.
Do you take any drugs for BPPV? I had motion sickness when I was a child, and also when I was pregnant.
I also had radium treatments to my sinuses when I was little. (Thanks Mom). I've had 2 sinus surgeries about 10 years ago.....so I don't know if that predisposes my inner/middle ear to be more affected by the increased pressure of CPAP??
I wonder if we don't lose our appetites if the nausea isn't GI caused??
Thanks Brenda!

    Bookmark   June 4, 2007 at 7:53PM
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jeanner(SW Ohio - Z6)

My mom has suffered from bouts of dizziness and nausea for quite some time. It has been a variety of causes - including hyperthyroidism, clogged arteries (she had 6 stints put in last year), irregular blood pressure, dehydration from collagenous collitis, and renal failure. She also was diagnosed many years ago with BPPV. So she does tend to get dizzy easier than others and she is 84 years old. The good news is she learned some excercises that help with the dizziness when she was first diagnosed with BPPV that basically help your brain learn to deal with the dizziness. The exercises were rather simple, basically she laid on the bed and rolled back and forth several times a day. I don't remember where she learned about them but she said they really helped her.

Unfortunately dizziness can be a symptom of so many things and tends to be ignored by the doctors.

I do hope you find a cause or a remedy that will allow you to continue with your sleep therapy - a good restful night can make a HUGE difference in the quality of life.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2007 at 8:45PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

Thanks jeanner,
I'm so glad there has been more work done in the dizziness field! I have an aquaintance who hit her head on a cement floor and was dizzy for a year and a half. She finally found a neuro doc who referred her to a physical therapist who rotated her head a certain way (to put those otoliths back in position), and she never had trouble since. Then her son got a concussion in a car accident, and he went to a balance center that taught him exercises to help with his dizziness. That must be what your mom learned how to do. Dizziness is so awful, I'm glad there are places to help now.
But you're right....it can be from a million causes.
Did you know we have tiny sodium pumps in our ears? That's probably why I get dizzy when I eat a high salt meal. Its amazing we all don't have more problems with everything, considering how complex the body is!

    Bookmark   June 4, 2007 at 9:34PM
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Wow, I didn't know so many other people had dizziness and nausea. I see I'm not alone..It's crazy what people hafta live with why can't we just feel good all the time? I'd be happy with just most of the time! I'm going to the DR. today to see if this thing in my gut is a hernia or what, but probably still won't know, A Dr. once told me, you don't look sickly, (I'm a little on the chubby side) and I'm not all deathly pale or anything and my bloodwork always comes back like the nurses say better than theirs, but I just don't ever FEEL good! I do have high blood pressure even with medication.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2007 at 10:28AM
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The simplest way to describe BPPV is that there are calcium crystals that become dislodged from the wall of the ear canal for whatever reason, and they float around and bump into nerve endings. The nerve endings signal your brain that you're moving when you're not. The biggest difference between Meniere's and BPPV symptoms (according to my doc) is the length of time that you're dizzy. Meniere's episodes can last for hours (or more), whereas BPPV episodes are usually less than a minute.

I went to the doc, who had me go through this gawd-awful routine (Dix-Hallpike test), where I had to lie flat on my back, with my head hanging off the end of a table. Dizzy. THEN, he had me sit up quickly (with help!), and he made me keep my eyes open (so he could see my eyes rolling around in my head like a trauma victim). He did that 2 or 3 times, and I thought I was going to hurl. Normally, I can stop the dizziness by closing my eyes and holding onto something. He wouldn't let me this time.

Then, for treatment, (as that BPPV link explains, and as Jean mentioned about her mom), he had me do the Canalith Repositioning Procedure. Try sitting up for 48 hours straight! Oy vey!

After all of that, when I still had some mild dizziness, I had a CT scan, and he said it was some condition discovered only about 5 years ago. Cripes, if I could only remember the name of it, but it has something do with a missing bone or something in my head. (He did say that I still have some brain left in there, though, when looking at the scan results! LOL) Anyway, I never did go to the specialist at U.C. Davis, as requested, and I find I only have dizziness now when I roll onto my right side at night, or when I tilt my head back and look up.

Before, when I had it real bad, I'd get the "looking sideways" dizziness, too. I'm also worried about flying, because of the chance of pressure causing a relapse. But there's no proof of that happening.

I just hope you can get some relief, Catherine!


    Bookmark   June 5, 2007 at 11:09AM
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catherinet(5 IN)

Thanks for that explanation Brenda,
I've seen things sideways a few times myself! Sometimes its totally out of the blue. One time, I was in waiting to see the doctor, and he came into the room, and he was sideways! Pretty weird! It happened one time while driving too. Pretty scary!
I was feeling like I was falling over alot when I was in the worst throws of perimenopause/fibromyalgia/sinus problems. It sometimes was a challenge to walk down the hall!
Anyhow.........The doc started me on Nexium and is going to get a gall bladder ultrasound........oh, and I did a breath h.Pylori test. It won't surprise me if everything comes back normal. That's the story of my life.......I feel like I'm dying, but all the tests are "normal". Don't get me wrong, I'm glad they're normal, but it doesn't explain why I feel like poop most of the time.
I still haven't restarted my CPAP yet. I'm almost scared to! The dizziness is a little better. Who knows....maybe I just have too much acid and it makes me nauseous and dizzy??? Then again, maybe there's too much duckweed in my head?? :)

    Bookmark   June 7, 2007 at 11:08AM
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sleeplessinftwayne(z4-5 IND)

Oh, so many possibilities that I will add another. I noticed I had been getting dizzy spells when I fell through a 4x6 glass topped table. That should get any one's attention. Checked with my doc who did all the requisite exams and found nothing. She said I probably had an inner ear infection that didn't show up in a normal non-invasive exam. She also said she had an increase of the complaint by other patients. She prescribed a motion sickness pill. It worked but you had to be dizzy before you took the pill unless you thought you would be driving or some other hazardous task. Yep, dizzy means nausea just like car sickness. Another culprit can be allergies and another could be a change in air quality. Try some Dramimine and Sudefed. Sandy

    Bookmark   June 7, 2007 at 12:44PM
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I have Sleep Apnea and have been using Apap for 2 years. I don't know what forum you use but I can tell you the best one to use is Cpaptalk.com

What I can tell you is that I never had any dizziness in my life and since being on Apap I was diagnosed with Vertigo after being so dizzy I went to the emergency room. I had no idea what was happening. We had a discussion on this and quite a few people have experienced this also. Dizziness and headaches can also be from desaturations. As far as being nauseated, that could be a number of things. We have a teriffic and knowledgable group of people there. If you post a question you will get answers. Your life litterally is depended on you using your machine sucessfully. I really hope you'll check them out. You won't be disappointed.

Please keep me posted, and if you need anything, please ask, I am more than willing to help.

Good luck,

    Bookmark   June 9, 2007 at 1:08AM
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catherinet(5 IN)

Thanks so much Bonz,
I will definitely check that forum out. I've been on talkaboutsleep dot com, but its not very active.
I haven't used my APAP for about 2 weeks now, while I'm being tested for other things that might be causing the nausea, and I'm not going to go back on it until next week, after we attend my son's registration meetings at his college, because I'm so afraid I'll get really dizzy by it again.
My fear is that no one will believe me that it makes me dizzy. But if I do get dizzy again after restarting it for a third time, I'm going to totally believe its from the APAP. How do you deal with the dizziness? Have you pretty much deduced, from what other people on that forum have said, that CPAP/APAP DOES cause dizziness? How do you treat it? I get so sleepy from those kinds of meds. Its going to be really hard for me to keep using the APAP, if it makes me dizzy all the time..........but I can tell you I sure don't feel as good not using the APAP, so I really want it to work somehow.
Thanks again Bonz.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2007 at 11:18AM
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well, i am not going to be much help. i have the warm moist air cpap, though i haven't used it in about 2 years (bad ftm!). i don't have the nasal "pillow" as far as i know. is that the one with the tubes in the nostrils? mine goes over the nose and is cushioned, like a mask.

anyway, never had dizziness with it. however, mine is set at a low pressure. if i do get dizziness it is from too little sleep or a migraine.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2007 at 5:28PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

Yes, the pillows go a little in the nose. I was using it for about 5 weeks and doing really well, when I started getting dizzy and nauseous. Mine is also at a lower pressure and I do use a humidifier.
Every so often, I'm reminded by things like this that I am indeed an alien. I can have the weirdest reactions to things. :)

    Bookmark   June 10, 2007 at 8:05PM
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How are things going, Catherine? Any new info on what's causing that dizziness and nausea?


    Bookmark   June 29, 2007 at 11:30AM
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catherinet(5 IN)

Hi Brenda,
How nice of you to ask!
I had a HIDA scan and it showed that my gallbladder was fine, so that's not causing problems.
I've had labs drawn and they are normal. Next is a new ENT on Monday, to find out if I have an inner/middle ear problem. The nausea and dizziness are doing better, but now my ears and sinuses are acting up! I tried my CPAP again a couple days ago and woke up with horrible pressure in my forehead and a headache. So I don't know what the heck's going on.
All this might be because of the weirdness that my fibromyalgia causes. But it sure sends me on alot of wild goose chases!
I actually found an internet site today that talked about how CPAP can cause problems.......but I don't know if this ENT will agree.
I'm hoping I have an infection that can get cleared up, and then I can use my CPAP again. I'd hate to think I have to be tired the rest of my life!
I hope its not cancer from the radium treatments I had when I was little. Don't ask me why I had them. It was sort of one of those fad things back then. :(
Are you sorry you asked yet? lol! Thanks Brenda!

    Bookmark   June 29, 2007 at 11:07PM
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Nope, I'm not sorry at all! :) Holy cow about the radium treatments! Have you had any CT scans or MRIs at all since your dizziness and nausea started?

I'm glad you're going to see a new ENT person on Monday. Please keep us updated on what the doc says, ok? I just hope someone can give you some relief soon! It sounds like you've already been through more than anyone deserves!


    Bookmark   June 30, 2007 at 6:20PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

No, I haven't had any head CT or MRI since it started. I've actually been feeling better....but haven't been using my CPAP. I'm a real wuss about being in an MRI machine, so I'm sort of hoping he doesn't want one. Even open-sided ones are a little scary for me. My nausea has been alot better, so I'm thinking the colonoscopy clean out might have messed me up for quite awhile.
We'll see what the ENT has to say. AT least I don't have to buy this CPAP machine until December. I should know by then if its causing me all these problems.
Thanks Brenda! :)

    Bookmark   June 30, 2007 at 8:05PM
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