Among the ways that sleep apnea can significantly impact your quality of life is by increasing your risk of erectile dysfunction.
How Strong Is the Link between Sleep Apnea and ED?
The link between sleep apnea and erectile dysfunction has been confirmed by many studies. It seems that there is a very strong connection between these two conditions. Among men who have sleep apnea, about 40-60% experience erectile dysfunction. Other studies looking at men with erectile dysfunction have found that nearly all of them, perhaps 90% or more have sleep apnea.
Does This Mean Sleep Apnea Causes ED?
Not necessarily. We know that the two conditions have a strong overlap in affected populations, but we can’t be sure that sleep apnea actually causes ED. It’s quite likely that it could: there are several causal mechanisms that could lead from sleep apnea to ED. For example, sleep fragmentation might interfere with your nocturnal erections, which have been linked to the ability to get and maintain an erection during the day.
Sleep apnea interferes with hormones, which would impact your sexual function. Sleep apnea may damage blood vessels related to erections, or the reduced oxygen saturation could undermine sexual function. It’s hard to know whether sleep apnea causes ED when some studies suggest that ED risk is independent of the severity of sleep apnea.
But it’s also possible that the two conditions just have common risk factors. Obesity, diabetes, and age all increase your risk for both conditions.
Will Sleep Apnea Treatment Help My ED?
Yes. The science strongly suggests that sleep apnea treatment can reduce ED. All studies seem to show that men experience significant improvement in erectile dysfunction with sleep apnea treatment. Some even suggest that sleep apnea treatment may be better than drugs for ED, although other studies say that it is not as effective as drugs, though still significant.
But treatment only works if you comply with it. Men who are prescribed CPAP but don’t comply with treatment don’t improve. For these men, oral appliances offer a convenient alternative that can allow them to get the sleep apnea treatment they need.
If you are suffering from sleep apnea or other conditions associated with sleep apnea in New Jersey, we may be able to help. Please call 201-343-4044 for an appointment with a sleep dentist at River Edge Dental, center for TMJ, sleep apnea, & reconstructive dentistry.