What’s the link between sleep apnea and erectile dysfunction?

What’s the link between sleep apnea and erectile dysfunction?

What’s the link between sleep apnea and erectile dysfunction?

People experiencing sleep apnea are more likely to experience erectile dysfunction than those without the condition. This may be due to changes in testosterone levels.

Obstructive sleep apnea, which is the more common form of the condition, occurs when the airways develop a blockage during the night, disrupting sleep. This can be the result of many factors. Depending on its cause, obstructive sleep apnea is usually treatable.

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is when a person has difficulty getting or maintaining an erection for long enough to have sexual intercourse. ED can be a symptom of sleep apnea.

This article looks at the link between sleep apnea and ED, as well as how to treat both conditions.


What is the link?


Research suggests that around halfTrusted Source the people with sleep apnea also experience ED. It is more common in older adults and people with a higher body mass.

Other research suggests that this number may be even higher. For example, one study Trusted Sourceof 401 participants found that 92% had sleep apnea, and 69% of these people also had ED.

The link between the two may relateTrusted Source to testosterone levels. People with sleep apnea tend to have lower levels of testosterone, which is an essential hormone in relation to sexual activity.



Both sleep apnea and ED have several possible causes.

Causes of sleep apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the muscles in the throat are unable to keep the airways open during sleep. Central sleep apnea is where the brain does not control breathing correctly during sleep.

Airways that become too narrow cause most cases of sleep apnea. This can be a result of several factors, including:

having a large neck
having an overbite
having obesity
having family members with sleep apnea
drinking alcohol
having large tonsils
sleeping on the back
having a small jaw or deep chin
Learn more about sleep apnea here.


Causes of erectile dysfunction

Being unable to get or keep an erection can be the result of stress, fatigue, or drinking too much alcohol. However, when this happens regularly, there could be a physical or emotional cause.

The cause generally relates to problems with blood flow to the penis, nerve supply, or hormones. This can be due to physical factors, such as:

heart disease
high blood pressure
substance use, such as smoking
hormonal disorders, such as thyroid conditions
taking medications, such as antidepressants
Emotional problems can also sometimes cause ED. This could relate to feelings of guilt or a mental health condition, such as depression.

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