Treat Sleep Apnea For Better Sex

CPAP treatment of obstructive sleep apnea improves sexual and erectile dysfunction

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Treating sleep apnea can make for a better night's sleep. The same apnea treatment can make for better sex too. 

Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition that causes the flow of air to pause or decrease when sleeping. Airflow is interrupted because the airways become too narrow or blocked. 

Obstructive sleep apnea is associated with erectile dysfunction (ED). ED is the inability to get or keep an erection during sex. 

Treatment of obstructive sleep apnea often requires continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy. This therapy uses a machine and tight fitting mask to make sure airways stay open during sleep. 

A recent study found that long-term CPAP treatment of obstructive sleep apnea may improve moderate to severe ED and sexual dysfunction. 

"Ask your doctor about sleep apnea treatments."

Stephan Budweiser, MD, of Department of Internal Medicine III, RoMed Clinical Center in Germany, and colleagues set out to determine if CPAP therapy had any long-term effect on sexual and erectile dysfunction. 

The study included 401 men with obstructive sleep apnea. A total of 91 patients returned a questionnaire that measured erectile dysfunction, satisfaction with intercourse and sexual desire. The questionnaire was filled out during a follow-up appointment that occurred on average about 36 months after the sleep apnea diagnosis. 

Patients that reported moderate to severe sexual dysfunction were put into two groups. The first group used the CPAP treatment. The second group did not. 

Results showed that CPAP-treated patients reported an overall improvement in their sexual functioning and ED, compared to patients not using CPAP. Patients reported improvement despite having other common risk factors for ED, such as age and prescription medications. 

Researchers suggested that "the regular, long-term use of CPAP has a beneficial effect on erectile and overall sexual function even in the presence of other risk factors predisposing for ED." 

The study had some limitations. Sexual and erectile dysfunction was measured using a self-reported questionnaire. Use of the CPAP treatment was also self-reported. The effect of other risk factors and ED were not measured. 

This study, titled "Long-Term Changes of Sexual Function in Men with Obstructive Sleep apnea after Initiation of Continuous Positive Airway Pressure," was published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine. It was supported by RoMed Clinical Center in Germany. Some of the authors disclosed receiving fees from Phillips Home Healthcare Solutions and from two pharmaceutical companies, AstraZeneca and Covidien.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
February 5, 2013
Last Updated:
February 6, 2013