Link Between Sleep Apnea and Erectile Dysfunction

However, it was not clear whether ED was only due to psychological problems in the OSAS cases. We could make up lots of theories, but the exact "why" is still not known. There are several studies that have looked at the impact of sleep apnea treatment on ED. If you have been diagnosed with OSA and prescribed a CPAP, using it consistently can improve your daily quality of life and even help with your sex life too! With acquired premature ejaculation, the patient previously had successful coital relationships and only now has developed premature ejaculation. So I started to look into snoring and what this sleep apnea thing was. Experimental research that used a sleep deprivation protocol to study the effects of sleep on the hormones and metabolism.

  • Unfortunately, although the authors believed the trial to be registered on 2020, a successful registration was not achieved before the inclusion of the first patient due to administrative mistakes.
  • In the absence of sexual stimuli, the penis is maintained in a flaccid state through predominantly sympathetic outflow and smooth muscle contraction.
  • CPAP titration was performed using an auto-CPAP device (Autoset-T, ResMed, Sydney, Australia) as previously validated by the Spanish Sleep and Breathing Group [ 15 ].
  • These parameters were favorably affected by treatment with tadalafil ( Figure 6 ).
  • And so, patients with untreated sleep apnea frequently will have decreased oxygen levels.
  • Both conditions are associated with advanced age, hypertension, and diabetes, which may confound the true relationship between OSA and ED.

Thus, patients became depressive, which resulted in ED. Blood obtained by intracardiac puncture was allowed to clot, and then centrifuged at 4,000 rpm for 15 minutes to separate serum. Impotence isn’t just a cause of hormone fluctuations caused by upset circadian rhythms–it’s a physical result of the strain that occurs in the body when it doesn’t get the oxygen it needs. OSA occurs when the tissue in the back of the throat collapses and blocks the flow of air, causing individuals to stop breathing during sleep. Low testosterone may cause symptoms like low libido. Potential side effects of a radical prostatectomy, the relationship between sexual bother and psychological functioning is corroborated by Wootten et al. Erectile dysfunction can cause strain on a couple.

6 events/hour. Women have sexual issues as well; in one study, 43% of women reported sexual dysfunction that impaired their quality of life. Performance anxiety is a form of psychogenic ED, usually caused by stress. A good night’s sleep is absolutely critical in keeping your testosterone levels and other sexual hormones, like growth hormones and gonadotropins, healthy and fully functioning. There is a link between this chronic medical problem and sexual dysfunction. The consequences of CIH during sleep on sexual behavior, including insights into mechanisms by which CIH could affect sexual behavior and erections in OSA, are not known.

As far back as 2020, a study suggested that erectile dysfunction and sleep apnea are independently linked. Share on Pinterest A person may be more at risk of sleep apnea if they have a family history of the condition. You see a similar effect in parents with new babies. 05 and a beta risk of 0. In a multivariate stepwise regression analysis including known risk factors for ED (age, obesity, coronary heart disease, peripheral vascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, prior prostate surgery, and beta-blocker therapy) and polysomnographic measures (AHI and mean nocturnal oxygen saturation), the authors found that OSA was an independent risk factor for ED.

  • You should always seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.
  • Symptoms of ED were diminished after CPAP treatment.

How Can CPAP THerapy Improve Your Sex Life & Relationship?

The study "has huge implications," said Park, of Montefiore Medical Center in New York City. We know that when men are sleep-deprived, their testosterone levels drop. Physicians can diagnose sleep issues with a home sleep test. The mean age in the study population was 47. Erectile dysfunction is often a sign of more serious systemic disease — in particular, it can be a sign of cardiovascular problems. Sexual dysfunctions can have a profound impact on an individual’s perceived quality of sexual life. Most testosterone is produced while sleeping.

  • After adjusting for age and other health conditions, patients with ED were more than twice as likely to have sleep apnea than their normal counterparts.
  • However, the expression of the nNOS isoform is required for sildenafil-induced facilitation of erectile responses in vivo in mice (12).
  • They underwent extensive blood work along the way.
  • Although it is common, it can have devastating health effects.

Loss Of Libido

Also, sufferers may find themselves waking up gasping for air. People with sleep apnea subconsciously awaken many times a night -- even dozens of times an hour -- because their airways close, disrupting their breathing. You go from living apart at night to being back in the same bed again. All of the patients included in the RCT were followed up for 3 months and were reassessed in terms of ED-related clinical, biological and psychological aspects. A novel murine model that allows for sexual function assessment in freely behaving males was exposed to a model of sleep apnea and showed the emergence of marked alterations in sexual drive and erectile dysfunction that was responsive to tadalafil.

  • This is a harder question to answer, as the science is not as clear.
  • I feel so alive and awake every single day!
  • No one had ever told me this before.
  • Flaccid and tumescence pressures and maximal pressures during full erections (P > tumescence pressures +100 mm Hg) were analyzed at baseline, after CIH, and after treatment with tadalafil for CIH-exposed mice.
  • CPAP treatment in patients with OSAS with ED resulted in a gradual improvement in IIEF-5, ESS and BDI scores.

Supporting Information

CPAP users, defined as those who wore the CPAP for more than four hours each night, and nonusers, patients who wore the CPAP for less than. Thus, although dissection of the effects of CIH on each of the neural pathways is not possible in a freely behaving mouse model, substantial insights into the coordinated activity of the system and exploration of the potential link between OSA (or rather of its surrogate CIH) and ED were possible. Degenerative disc disease, while covering your mouth and nose, gradually exhale to see if there’s any pain when doing so. By asking patients more directly about their sexual function through conversation or a questionnaire during a checkup, doctors may be able to detect more serious health conditions sooner. Among 401 men referred for polysomnography for clinically suspected sleep disordered breathing, OSA was diagnosed in 92%.

What is erectile dysfunction (ED)? 02 ml, 2 mg/ml; Sigma, St. The side effects of untreated Sleep Apnea can not only take a toll on your overall health, but it can also affect your ability to perform at that special moment. Ninety-five of the men were heavy snorers, 573 were moderate snorers and 159 were mild or non-snorers. Basically, its a machine that blows air into your upper airway to ensure that it stays open so your brain can continue to receive oxygen.

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Taking all of these risk factors into consideration, the study found that sleep apnea was an independent risk factor for erectile dysfunction. No blinding measures were implemented. A Home Sleep Test will even let you check for sleep disorders from the comfort from your own bed. Although it is more common in older men, around one out of four younger men also have this issue. Diagnosing and treating sleep apnea can help resolve erectile or sexual dysfunction, which will have a positive effect on a person’s quality of life. When it happens at night, it’s called Sleep Apnea. The prevalence of ED among the OSA patients in our study was 51% (95% CI: )The good news is that treatments for obstructive sleep apnea such as CPAP therapy, oral appliance therapy, weight loss etc.

Most people associate the condition with snoring. You may not have to continue taking that ”little blue pill“ after all. Maintaining a healthy weight and sleeping on your side or stomach can help your sleep apnea symptoms. 25 Although sexual dysfunction, including ED in men, is a common symptom of depression, sexual dysfunction is also a frequent adverse effect of treatment with most antidepressants.


A small study finds that treating the sleep disorder with a mechanical device can jump-start a guy’s sex life. However, the condition is much more serious than waking up your partner. This fact diminished the statistical power of the RCT, most likely precluding statistical significance of the differences in changes in erectile function between CPAP and non-CPAP patients. The verdict is clear:

Sleep is deeper, with no eye movement and decreased muscle activity, although muscles retain their ability to function. About 1 in 3 men and about 1 in 5 women who are habitual snorers suffer from some degree of Obstructive Sleep Apnea. The increased latencies could reflect a decreased excitability or impairments in the neural circuits, involving central mechanisms (i. )However, a recent study compared CPAP and oral appliance therapy.

Sleeping Pills Not Working? You May Be Treating the Wrong Condition

According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine: The CPAP—a device that’s worn while sleeping and keeps the airway from closing can diminish or alleviate sleep apnea, and doesn’t have to interfere with intimacy. 20 Esposito et al. The highest levels seem to be produced during REM (dream) sleep. Respiratory effort continues during the event. Several studies have shown that sleep apnea can cause erectile dysfunction. In other words, it solves your sleep apnea issues. Some research has shown that the degree of oxygen saturation is independently associated with ED.

Patient medical or sexual history. The steady flow of air from a CPAP machine keeps the airway open and restores normal oxygen levels during sleep. I could still have sex pre-CPAP, but, to put it in sports parlance, my team was only showing up for some of the big games; not practice or scrimmages.

  • You deserve a good night’s sleep.
  • “In my practice, one of the most common comments is that they’re having erections again upon wakening in the morning,” he said.
  • The relationship between OSA and ED is well established [5–7].
  • For sufferers of sleep apnea, erectile dysfunction (ED) is often part of the package.

Sleep Apnea Diagnosis

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) produces abnormalities in the cells lining blood vessels called endothelial cells. Several studies have shown how sleep apnea affects sexual health in both men and women. No, I had not really thought about the sleep apnea contributing to my heart issues either. From there, your doctor can determine whether you have sleep apnea and can help you create a customized treatment plan. I thought to myself, geez…it’s snoring. There were 182 participants in the study. There are convenient and comfortable solutions for sleep apnea diagnosis and treatment.

Learn how to get tested in the comfort and privacy of your own home with an AccuSom® home sleep test. Erectile dysfunction (ed): symptoms, diagnosis & treatment, if a hormonal condition is causing erectile dysfunction, you may be referred to an endocrinologist (who specialises in the treatment of hormonal conditions). The sexual partner may also be interviewed to determine expectations and perceptions encountered during sexual intercourse. The average participant was overweight. To conclude, we found a 51% prevalence of ED among newly diagnosed OSA patients, even when excluding patients with many known ED risk factors. NO in the smooth muscle cells binds to guanylate cyclase and catalyses cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) formation from guanosine triphosphate (GTP), which is responsible for the effect (10). What are the different types (and causes) of ED?

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There are many neurological (nerve problems) causes of ED. Men should tell their doctor about all the medications they are taking, including over-the-counter medications. One study suggests that men with erectile dysfunction (ED) should be screened for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Regarding hormonal profiles, ED patients had slightly higher sHBG and lower free testosterone levels than non-ED patients. And scrimmage on! A 2020 study found erectile dysfunction in about 63 percent of study participants with sleep apnea. Furthermore, in a 2020 survey of over 120 men with ED, 55 percent reported symptoms related to sleep apnea. Erectile dysfunction is common among men with sleep apnea, said Park, author of the book Sleep, Interrupted:

Ready To Take The Next Step?

In fact, heavy snorers were 2. Tadalafil caused a significant elevation of tumescence pressure in such conditions, and showed slight elevations in maximal pressures during full erection (Table 2). However, the use of antidepressant therapy without CPAP for ED problems for 1 month resulted in no improvement their IIEF-5 scores, although BDI scores were restored to normal ranges. At least six different experiments were conducted for NOS isoform. This was true after eliminating factors such as weight, smoking habits, etc. Relationship struggles are inevitable. There are two approaches to treating sleep apnea:

The numbers are staggering- Erectile dysfunction affects 30 million men in the United States and 152 million men worldwide, Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) afflicts more than 24 million individuals in the United States. Between-arm differences in sexual satisfaction changes were statistically significant (p = 0. )It’s a potentially serious disorder. Apnea means the disruption of breathing. It works like a … dream! Unusual characteristics of the penis itself could suggest the basis of the impotence. Many men with lack of sleep or sleep apnea often have “sexual dysfunction”. If sleep deprivation is chronic, as it often is in real life, then it may be that milder levels of sleep deprivation have a cumulative effect and could lead to adverse hormonal consequences such as decreased testosterone.

Usually, we are talking about chronic sleep deprivation as a cause of ED and reduced libido. Those with ED had more robust improvements and even many without ED reported improved sexual function and satisfaction. Read about them here.

Boost your Sex Live and resolve your sexual dysfunction by improving your overall sleep with better sleep hygiene

Are you overweight? A study performed in 1990 by Hirshkowitz and colleagues in the journal Urology showed that in a cohort of men who presented with erectile dysfunction, 91% were later found to have sleep apnea. Making the decision to consult a physician is the first important step, one that unfortunately can still be a difficult one for some men. 1 also presented similar results. A study done in 2020 in the International Journal of Impotence Research showed that patients whose oxygen levels dropped to 77% during sleep were at increased risk for erectile dysfunction. Hormonal abnormalities, such as increased prolactin (a hormone produced by the anterior pituitary gland), steroid abuse by bodybuilders, too much or too little thyroid hormone, and hormones administered for prostate cancer may cause ED.

Men using CPAP see improvement in sexual function, satisfaction.

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A lack of communication is the primary barrier for seeking treatment and can prolong the suffering. Sleeping in a different position. At-home treatment was initiated with a fixed CPAP level after the optimal pressure was determined. Although the condition is called venous leak, the real problem is not with the veins but malfunction of the smooth muscle that surrounds the veins. No differences in nNOS and iNOS immunoreactivity emerged in CIH-exposed mice. This prevalence was lower than those reported by Budweiser (69%) [7] and Giner (69%) [20].

The authors confirm that all ongoing and related trials for this intervention are registered. The good news for patients with both OSA and ED is that treatment for sleep apnea through continuous positive airway pressure therapy (CPAP), together with drug therapy, has been shown to improve symptoms of ED. Therefore, in case of treatment of patients with ED, OSAS should be kept in mind. During the study they controlled for a variety of factors that could affect participants' libidos such as age, hormonal birth control, menstruation, antidepressants, and sexual distress. It could be something as simple as a run away script or learning how to better use E-utilities, http: At the beginning of the six-month study, nearly half (45. )Testosterone supplementation is not recommended for men who have normal testosterone levels for their age group due to the risk of prostate enlargement and other side effects. Do you have high blood pressure?

  • Secondary sex characteristics, such as hair pattern, can point to hormonal problems, which involve the endocrine system.
  • Women are particularly at risk for un-diagnosed sleep problems, including sleep-disordered breathing.
  • Tests were conducted in the male mouse home cage in RA, after 5 weeks of CIH, and after treatment with tadalafil for CIH-exposed mice.


Medical treatments: (037), although no statistically significant differences were found in the proportion of severe (AHI > 30 events·h −1 ) OSA patients. Testosterone is a hormone that is absolutely essential for having a strong libido, as well as for general sexual health and erectile function. Men who are struggling with issues related to sexual function should have a sleep study evaluation. A study took a group of men and subjected half of them to days of progressive sleep deprivation. ” Your upper airway becomes blocked by your tongue or softening of your soft palette and it cuts off the oxygen to your brain.


This can be the result of many factors. Research has found a high prevalence of ED in men with obstructive sleep apnea, but doctors are not exactly sure why that’s the case. In fact, in one recent study published in the International Journal of Clinical Practice marked improvement was noted after three months of treatment with CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure).

Sometimes I wake up and wonder if I am high or something. Don’t ignore erectile dysfuntion: it’s treatable!, the current first-line treatment for ED, the oral PDE5 inhibitor, was introduced by Pfizer in 1999. Going to the bathroom in the middle of the night has lessened considerably. One in 3 men and approximately 1 in 5 women who are habitual snorers suffer from some degree of Obstructive Sleep Apnea. You have sleep apnea!

Sleep is important for sex drive because testosterone is mostly produced when you sleep. 239), metabolic syndrome (p = 0. Scientists suspect this may have to do with sex hormones like testosterone, which rise with sleep and fall when there is a lack of it. And when it comes to saving my sexual capacity, I will skip some Taco Bell visits and pinch my pennies for sure. But I was not ready to don the mask just yet. They found that 91. It seems that the reciprocal of this association is also true.

Sleep apnea cuts into sleep quality for millions of Americans every year, but shut-eye isn’t the only bedroom activity disrupted by this nighttime breathing disorder. Several studies have shown how sleep apnea affects sexual health in both men and women.

It was a normal follow-up to see how Kurt was adjusting to his CPAP, the continuous positive airway pressure machine prescribed for people with sleep apnea. With diminished levels of testosterone, a man will experience reduced sexual desire and sexual performance. When looked at from the other perspective, several studies have confirmed that more than 90% of men diagnosed with ED also have sleep apnea. Mean nadir Sp O 2 values revolved around 76 to 78% for all mice. Age, WHR and pharmacological treatment were identified as the main differences between OSA patients with and without ED. A sleep condition, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which causes a person to awaken many times a night due to slight breathing interruptions, can result in decreases in other important compounds (not just testosterone) that are needed in higher amounts to cause erections. After CSP baseline recordings for 5 minutes, a female mouse was placed into the cage for the 20-minute test.

  • If you’re experiencing ED, contact us for more information or a free phone consultation.
  • Continued research finds that having sleep apnea can be a drag on your love life, causing erectile dysfunction in men as well as a loss of libido in women.
  • While there were no differences in testosterone and estradiol levels, there was also a significant reduction in eNOS expression with mice exposed to CIH for eight weeks.
  • A couple nights of sleep deprivation is not likely to cause ED, though you may feel less libido in that time period.
  • However, it’s also possible that sleep apnea and ED just have a lot of common causes and comorbidities (conditions that occur at the same time), such as age, obesity, and diabetes.
  • Patients who suffer from apneas also tend to exhibit hypopneas, a partial occlusion of the airway that results in a 25-50% reduction in airflow.
  • This drug has a similar chemical structure to sildenafil citrate and works in a similar manner. Sitemap

These differences could be explained by the inclusion in previous studies of patients with known ED risk factors, such as uncontrolled or advanced chronic conditions, drug addiction, or age greater than 70 years. Incisions were made along the abdominal and perineal midline. The mice became more sexually active, but not quite as active as they had been before the study started. Although it is often kept a secret, erectile dysfunction is a very common problem. If the cause relates to taking certain medications, a doctor might suggest an alternative drug that does not cause ED. People with OSA stop breathing repeatedly during sleep. Obstructive hypopnoea was defined as a reduction (30% to 90%) in airflow lasting ⩾10 s associated with a decrease in arterial oxygen saturation ⩾3% and/or a micro-awakening on the electroencephalogram, in presence of both thoracic and abdominal movements.


In the second phase of the experiment, Dr. Sleep apnea is when your sleep is disrupted by pauses in your breathing. Premature ejaculation is divided into lifelong and acquired categories: But there’s good news: In that case, Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) treatment can almost completely reverse the detrimental health effects of sleep apnea. Do you feel tired during the day?

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Their findings echoed those of earlier studies on women and apnea. At the end of the study researchers concluded that every extra hour of sleep the women received made them 14 percent more likely to engage in partnered sexual activity. This indicates that psychological problems are not the main predisposing factors in OSAS cases with ED; metabolic disturbances are more effective on ED in these patients. Women with untreated sleep apnea are at a very high risk for sexual dysfunction, such as reduced desire and arousal or even pain during intercourse. After 5 weeks of CIH exposures, there were significant increases in the latencies to mounts (>60-fold; P < 0. )Both of these mechanisms may lead to high blood pressure and abnormalities of the small blood vessels predisposing to erectile dysfunction.

The principal neurotransmitter for penile erection is nitric oxide (NO), which is released from nonadrenergic, noncholinergic neurotransmission of the cavernous nerves and the endothelium (7, 8). The beneficial effects of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) on ED among patients with OSAS suggest a potential mechanistic role for the episodic hypoxemic events during sleep. After analyzing 20,822 young adults they found that those who were short sleepers were more likely to report psychological distress from the lack of sleep and, for some, it turned into full-blown depression. OSA causes people to stop breathing intermittently throughout the night. In the past, these tests meant patients had to sleep in a clinic or lab for a sleep study. Clearly, this was going to continue to be an issue. In rats, exposures to CIH have been associated with significantly lower levels of both nNOS mRNA and protein in the paraventricular hypothalamic nucleus (36).

Finally, the equipment records data for your sleep doctor. I signed up for one of the two sleep study tests you can do. Six weeks of recovery in normoxia after CIH were associated with a return of the number of daily spontaneous erections to within 74. In many, a causative relationship has either been well established or strongly associated. Men with erectile dysfunction were more than twice as likely to have OSA than those without erectile dysfunction. In addition, men who have both sleep apnea and sexual dysfunction have decreased quality of life and decreased mood compared to men who have either condition alone. We are bombarded with ads for medications that improve erectile function and correct low testosterone levels.

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