One of the unpleasant effects of sleep apnea is nocturia, where a person needs to wake up at night to urinate. However, a new study shows that treating sleep apnea can reduce the need to urinate at night, allowing people to get more uninterrupted sleep.
Why Sleep Apnea Can Cause Nocturia
Sleep apnea isn’t just related to getting up to urinate, it can be related to bedwetting in adults. It’s hard to see the connection between the breathing disorder sleep apnea and a need to urinate at night. However, there are many possible connections between these two types of sleep disturbance.
The simplest link is that sleep apnea awakens you at night. You may not know why you awoke, but now that you’re awake, you become aware of needing to urinate.
But it’s likely more than that. The body uses the hormone vasopressin to suppress its production of urine at night. However, sleep apnea interferes with the body’s production of vasopressin and other hormones. This may make it harder for the body to suppress urine production at night.
Treating Sleep Apnea Decreases Nocturia
So how common is nocturia among sleep apnea patients? Very, according to this study presented at the European Association of Urology’s convention in London in 2017.
The study looked at 256 sleep apnea patients. It found that 69% of these patients experienced nocturia.
All patients were prescribed sleep apnea treatment with CPAP. Researchers then found that 65% of those with nocturia experienced a significant improvement in their ability to stay asleep and not wake up to urinate. For example, about half of those who had needed to wake up twice a night with nocturia were able to sleep all night after getting their sleep apnea treated.
Limitations of the Study
Although these results are promising, there are some reasons why we have to be cautious about them. First, study results are only preliminary. They’ve been presented at a scientific conference, not published in a scientific journal, which means that they haven’t been fully evaluated yet.
And researchers opted to use just CPAP as their sleep apnea treatment of choice. CPAP has notorious problems with compliance–many people just don’t use their CPAP machines. This means that many of the individuals treated with sleep apnea weren’t actually getting sleep apnea treatment. These patients may benefit from oral appliance therapy, which is much simpler and more comfortable to use. But researchers didn’t address the issue of compliance in their press release.
The mode of treatment really doesn’t matter if the patient is in fact compliant. If your patients mention they wake up often to urinate during the night, and test positive for sleep apnea, treatment could help them tremendously in their daily lives! We will take great care of your patients who refuse to try a CPAP or have found themselves intolerant. Submit a referral online or via fax at 1-877-811-8129 at the Advanced Dental Sleep Treatment Center.