Iowa Sleep Blog

Alternative treatments for OSA

Monday, January 11, 2016

Have you been struggling with your obstructive sleep apnea because you find it hard (or annoying) to sleep with your Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) mask on? We’re here to tell you there are other options to sleeping well each night with OSA, besides using a CPAP. We’ve listed some of them below. * CPAP is still considered the gold standard for treating OSA, there are other options.

Oral Appliances

A less evasive device to help with OSA are oral appliances, designed to keep your throat open and airways clear during sleep by bringing your jaw forward. This small adjustment can sometimes relive snoring, as well as ease OSA symptoms. While this option is not as effective as a CPAP, they can be easier to use, especially for people who travel frequently.


An expiratory positive airway pressure device, similar to a CPAP, is a small, single-use device that is placed over each nostril before bed. The device has two small valves that allow air to freely enter through the nose, and be exhaled through the small holes in the valve. This keeps the pressure consistent in the airway, meaning it will be open and clear.

Treatment for associated medical issues

Often times, an OSA is a side effect of other medical issues, such as obesity, excessive use of alcohol or tobacco, high blood pressure and diabetes. Before starting a CPAP or other therapy, your doctor might suggest you first address these issues first, which could result in the lessening of your OSA symptoms.


This is usually the last option after other treatment options have been explored. There are many procedures available that can help to open up the airway permanently, such as tissue removal, repositioning the jaw, or inserting implants. Other procedures that could also help include nasal surgery, removal of the tonsils, or weight loss surgery.

If you’d like to stick with your CPAP, the doctors at Iowa Sleep and our friends at Iowa CPAP can talk to you about the different machines and mask styles that are available. Above all, we want you to get your best sleep each time your head hits the pillow. You can set up a meeting with one of our doctors, or send us a question through our online form to start a conversation to get you sleeping well each night.

*The doctors at Iowa Sleep can share the best and most effective treatments for your situation after hearing about your individual symptoms during a sleep consultation.