Sleep Apnea and Sexual Dysfunction
Snoring sounds aren’t the only reason sleep apnea could be impacting your physical relationships. Sex hormones, like testosterone, rise with sleep and fall when there is an absence of it. Because sleep apnea causes intermittent waking and chronic sleep deprivation, it is a common cause of sexual dysfunction in both men and women. Getting help for sleep apnea could help your bedroom life and bring sexy back.
In one study, ED vanished in 40% of patients treated for sleep apnea.
About 40-65% of male sleep apnea sufferers also suffer erectile dysfunction (ED). About 50% of these men also suffer diminished libido
Erectile dysfunction is twice as common in patients with sleep apnea. This is likely caused by lack of sleep, decreased sex hormones and reduced oxygen levels.
Healthy young men have a decrease in testosterone when there were several nights of short sleep times.
Loss of libido
Obstructive sleep apnea has been shown to negatively impact sexual function in women, independent of age and associated co-morbid diseases.
Severity of sleep apnea has not been shown to be an indicator of sexual dysfunction in women.
Does Sleep Apnea Cause Erectile Dysfunction?
This is a harder question to answer. There are several ways by which sleep apnea could cause ED, such as sleep fragmentation that reduces spontaneous erections at night (these have been linked to daytime erectile function), hormonal impairment, or problems in the blood vessels. Some research has shown that the degree of oxygen saturation is independently associated with ED.
However, it’s also possible that sleep apnea and ED just have a lot of common comorbidities (conditions that occur at the same time), such as age, obesity, and diabetes.
Does Sleep Apnea Treatment Also Treat Erectile Dysfunction?
Yes. There are numerous studies that have shown the impact of sleep apnea treatment on ED. Research showed that men who underwent treatment for sleep apnea saw improvement in their ED. However, the degree of improvement varied. In one research study about 40% of men were able to return to normal sexual function just by treating their sleep apnea.
One study comparing the effectiveness of sleep apnea treatment to prescription ED medication found that sleep apnea treatment was overall not as effective as the ED medication. Although, every man using sleep apnea treatment saw improvement in his sexual function.
Most studies just look at CPAP treatment for sleep apnea. However, a recent study compared CPAP and oral appliance therapy. The study found that only oral appliance therapy led to significant improvements in quality of life for men with ED.