Sleep apnea generally causes obstructive breathing in the middle of the night for more than 12 million Americans. Fatigue, high blood pressure and weight gain are just a few of its symptoms.

Several researches concluded during recent past have established that sleep apnea can be a drain on intimacy, causing erectile dysfunction in men and loss of libido in women.

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. Because it causes intermittent waking and chronic sleep deprivation, apnea may directly drive down levels of these hormones, causing sexual dysfunction.

In a study published in the September issue of The Journal of Sexual Medicine, scientists compared 80 women with obstructive sleep apnea between the  ages of 28 and 64 with 240 women who sleep normally without interruptions. The results revealed that sleep apnea patients had significantly higher rates of sexual dysfunction.

In a study in 2009, researchers looked for signs of sexual problems in 401 men who showed up at a clinic for suspected sleep apnea. Of those who received the diagnosis, about 70 percent also had erectile dysfunction, compared with 34 percent in those without sleep apnea.

An earlier study in Turkey determined sleep apnea “negatively impacts sexual function in women independent of age and associated co-morbid diseases.”

In a 2009 German study, researchers studied 401 men who were seeking treatment for suspected sleep apnea. Of those confirmed to have the condition, about 70 per cent also had erectile dysfunction, as opposed to 34 per cent in those who had no sleep disorders.

However,an effective sleep apnea treatment can make a difference. Patients who undergo surgery to correct facial abnormalities that contribute to sleep apnea see improvements in intimacy, and those who start using masks at night that administer continuous positive airway pressure also report benefits in their sexual relationships.

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Filed under: FatigueHigh Blood PressureObstructive Sleep ApneaOther DisordersSleepSleep ApneaSleep Apnea EffectsSleep Apnea ResearchSleep Apnea TreatmentSleep Disordered BreathingSleep DisordersSleep Problems

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