Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the inability of a man to get and keep an erection long enough to have sexual intercourse. Occasional ED is common and not necessarily any reason for concern. However, an ongoing issue with ED should be addressed by a physician.
Yes. A number of studies have shown a close association between sleep apnea and ED. In fact, a compilation of research reveals that more than 90% of men who are diagnosed with ED, suffer from sleep apnea as well. Approximately 50% of these men also report a diminished libido.
A direct cause and effect relationship is difficult to prove. It could be the cause. But is may also be that many of the mechanisms that cause sleep apnea are the same as those responsible for ED. This could include sleep fragmentation, for example, which reduces spontaneous nighttime erections (these have also been linked to daytime ED), hormonal impairment, or blood vessels problems. It’s also possible that sleep apnea and ED share comorbidities (conditions that occur at the same time), such as age, obesity, and diabetes. Some studies have even shown that the degree of oxygen saturation is independently associated with ED.
Yes. Several studies have shown a positive effect of sleep apnea treatment on ED. One study found that about 40% of men returned to normal sexual function after undergoing treatment only for sleep apnea. Another study that compared the effectiveness of sleep apnea treatment and prescription ED medication determined that sleep apnea treatment was overall not as effective as the medication, but that every participate who underwent sleep apnea treatment did experience improvement in his sexual function. Before undergoing treatment exclusively for the physical symptom of ED, it’s advantageous to investigate one that can also improve libido, energy, and general quality of life.
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