We know that sleep apnea can lead to numerous health problems that affect both your length of life and your quality of life. One of the effects of sleep apnea is sexual dysfunction, especially erectile dysfunction (ED). The good news is that sleep apnea treatment can reverse this, as well as other sleep apnea dangers.
How Close Is the Relationship between Sleep Apnea and Erectile Dysfunction?
Studies have shown that sleep apnea and ED are actually very closely related. Compiling the findings of several studies, it seems that about 40-65% of male sleep apnea sufferers also suffer ED. About half of these men also suffer diminished libido. When looked at from the other perspective, several studies have confirmed that more than 90% of men diagnosed with ED also have sleep apnea.
Does Sleep Apnea Cause Erectile Dysfunction?
This is a harder question to answer, as the science is not as clear. There are several mechanisms 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 studies have even 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 causes and comorbidities (conditions that occur at the same time), such as age, obesity, and diabetes. Some studies show that it’s not possible to say whether sleep apnea is actually a cause of ED.
Does Sleep Apnea Treatment Also Treat Erectile Dysfunction?
Yes. There are several studies that have looked at the impact of sleep apnea treatment on ED. Studies showed that all men who underwent treatment for sleep apnea saw improvement in their ED, although the degree of improvement varied. At least one study showed that about 40% of men were able to return to normal sexual function just by treating their sleep apnea.
However, 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 medication, although every man using treatment saw improvement in his sexual function.
Most studies just look at CPAP treatment for sleep apnea, but a recent study compared CPAP and oral appliance therapy. It found that only oral appliance therapy led to significant improvements in quality of life for men with ED.
If you have ED, it’s quite likely that sleep apnea is the cause. Before getting a treatment just for the physical symptom, you should investigate a treatment that can not only improve your erectile function, but also your libido, energy, and general quality of life.
To learn more, please contact the Advanced Dental Sleep Treatment Center in Omaha.