Expiratory positive airway pressure, also known as EPAP, is a type of snoring therapy that is supposed to work similarly to CPAP, except that it uses the body’s own breathing mechanisms to supply the pressure instead of an outside machine.
EPAP devices, therefore, are devices that use the body’s own airway pressure to help treat snoring and/or sleep apnea. These types of devices take many forms. There are, for example, nasal dilators that you put in your nostrils that have tiny valves on them. These valves allow you to breathe in normally, but make breathing out more difficult.
The idea is that this builds up a certain amount of airway pressure in your respiratory system, and that this pressure can help you to avoid the dangerous effects of snoring.
How Is EPAP Technology Meant To Work?
So the idea behind EPAP is pretty much the same as the idea behind a CPAP machine – except that the pressure comes from different places. In a CPAP machine, pressure comes from an external device… while with EPAP technology, the pressure comes from the pressure created by one’s own breathing.
EPAP devices basically help to trap exhaled air in the airway, which is supposed to expand the soft palate and keep the loose tissues and muscles from restricting airflow.
Snoring and sleep apnea are usually caused by a phenomenon known as ‘soft palate vibration.’ This occurs when loose tissues and muscles in the airway relax and collapse-in, thereby restricting air movement. This causes the air to vibrate those loose tissues – which produces the sounds that we have come to know as snoring.
But creating pressure in the airway is said to be able to help ‘push back’ this loose tissue, and keep it out of the way. So EPAP technology seeks to accomplish this by using exhaled air to build-up pressure.
Do We Believe That This Method Works?
This seems to be a hit-and-miss method, as far as we can tell. For some people, it works quite well. But it kind of depends on the type of device being used, and on how the technology is being applied. CPAP technology is proven to work for sleep apnea, but that is different. So, the difference is in how the pressure is created.
It seems that exhaled air, in combination with the devices used to harness it, does not always do enough to make a big difference.
It can… but it is not 100% for sure. It really depends on the device and on the person trying to use it. We have seen some success with these types of devices. But in truth, we have seen much better results with mandibular advancement devices and tongue retention devices than with EPAP devices.
Who Should Use EPAP Device, And When?
The best candidates for this type of product are going to be people who have trouble with snoring that is caused by soft-palate vibration. Products that make use of EPAP technology are also going to be best used by adults who, for some reason, do not feel that CPAP is the right choice for them (probably because it is too invasive or because it is too expensive).
But this type of product might also be popular with people who feel like they would rather not go for something terribly invasive right from the beginning. If you are not super into the idea of having something in your mouth, then this type of device is actually not so different from a regular nasal dilator, except that it actually treats soft palate vibration… not nasal snoring, so that makes it kind of unique.
As for when to use the product – it would need to be used every night during sleep in order for you to start noticing the benefits.
Who Should Avoid This Type Of A Product?
This type of product is probably not going to be as useful for people who suffer from nasal snoring. It is also not going to be as useful for people who don’t want anything in or around their nasal passages, as that is how most of these products work.
If you want more technical results, you may also find better luck with an MAD or a tongue retention device.
If you need a stop snoring method and want to find something that you do not have to put into your mouth while you are asleep, then products using EPAP technology can serve as a possible alternative to CPAP machines and the like.
They do not have as proven of a track record, but they do work for a lot of people, and you may be able to find a lot of help with your snoring with these types of devices.