Better Sleep Means Better Sex

Erectile dysfunction and sexual satisfaction both improved with CPAP treatment

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

(RxWiki News) For any men out there who have waited to get their sleep apnea diagnosed or treated, here's one reason to do so that's hard to ignore: your sex life will get better.

An unpublished study being presented at a sleep conference has found that treating sleep apnea with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) can lead to sexual improvement for men younger than 60 who suffer from erectile dysfunction.

"Treating sleep apnea can improve men's sexual function and satisfaction."

Joseph Dombrowsky, MD, of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland., led a study that looked at the impact of treatment for sleep apnea on men's sexual function and satisfaction.

The study looked at 92 men at Walter Reed who had just been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea and had begun CPAP therapy.

During CPAP, patients wear a mask that continuously pushes air into their nostrils to prevent them from stopping breathing during the night.

The men, with an average age of 45, were assessed for their sexual function and their sex drive at the start of the study and then after one month, three months and six months of CPAP therapy.

At the start of the study, 46 percent of the men were experiencing erectile dysfunction, and 27 percent had decreased sex drive.

Following CPAP treatment, the sexual function and satisfaction of the men - both those with erectile dysfunction and those without it - improved.

The sexual satisfaction of men without erection difficulties went up about 9 percent, but the most significant improvements were seen among the men who had sexual dysfunction issues at the start. Among these men, 72 percent saw improvement in their ability to get and maintain an erection, and 41 percent saw their sexual function return to a normal level. They also had an 88 percent improvement in sexual satisfaction based on an assessment used by the researchers.

"We were surprised at how prevalent ED is in a relatively young population of men with sleep apnea," Dr. Dombrowsky said. "But we were similarly surprised at how robust a clinically significant response the men had with CPAP therapy."

The study was presented June 13 at the 26th annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies in Boston. Because the study has not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal, its results should be regarded as preliminary and still require review by researchers in the field.

The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health. No conflicts of interest were noted.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
June 12, 2012
Last Updated:
June 13, 2012