Erectile dysfunction is common in patients with OSA. Sleep apnea induces hormonal alterations, deviations in neural regulation, endothelial dysfunction and changes in micro vascular perfusion that can cause or contribute to the development of ED.
Arousal and erection are activated by the parasympathetic nervous system, which controls digestion and reproduction, so too much stress will lessen these functions.
Not only is there a high incidence of ED (impotence) among patients with OSA, but the 2 conditions together also tend to cause further detriments in both mood and quality of life than either condition alone.
The pathophysiology of sexual dysfunction in OSA is likely multifactorial and affected by several disease-related factors, including obesity, sleep fragmentation, hypoxia and intermittent desaturations, and alterations in vascularity. Intermittent hypoxic events and sleep fragmentation limit spontaneous nocturnal erections, which have been linked to daytime erectile function. OSA produces endothelial dysfunction and sympathetic activation, which leads to hypertension and micro vascular disease, both of which are established risk factors for ED. Androgen deficiency, which is also commonly identified in patients with untreated OSA, may further mediate ED in these patients.
Erectile dysfunction resolved in 17 of 42 men who used machines that maintain air flow throughout the night. And even those without sexual dysfunction who used the CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) devices reported a boost in sexual performance, the study found.
In conclusion, CPAP Therapy has been shown to improve both sexual function and satisfaction in the majority of patients, regardless of baseline erectile dysfunction.