Apnea and erectile dysfunction
Submitted by: Marc C. Gittelman, M.D.
Submitted on: September 23, 2008
Q: My husband is 36 and I thing he might have sleep apnea. I have read that it can be related to erectile dysfunction. Is that true and is there a way to prevent it?
A: Sleep apnea is a condition that causes decreased or shallow breathing while sleeping for some 18 million Americans. It affects about one in 10 women and nearly one in four men.
It is related to snoring and can cause sleep deprivation, which leads to increased fatigue and sleepiness and possible reduced productivity.
And recent research from the University of Kentucky suggests there is reduced oxygen flow to the male genital organs. Studies in mice with sleep apnea showed a dramatic decrease in erections and much less interest in sex.
Once the condition was corrected, however, there was a dramatic recovery. Researchers believe these results are likely to be true in humans. Oxygen is important not only for our brain and heart, but for a healthy sexual response in men.
If your husband has breathing problems affecting his sleep, it should be evaluated. There are many medical techniques to help people with sleep apnea. Not only can you help his breathing, but you may be able to improve his daytime productivity and boost his sex drive.