How does sleep apnea affect testosterone and sexual function?

There’s strong evidence of a relationship between testosterone and sleep-disordered breathing, including obstructive sleep apnea. Studies have shown that low testosterone levels frequently occur in men with obstructive sleep apnea. Men with obstructive sleep apnea are also more likely to suffer from complications to their sexual function, including low libido, erectile dysfunction and impotence.

Men with erectile dysfunction were more than twice as likely to have obstructive sleep apnea as those without erectile dysfunction, according to one study. This study also showed that the more serious a man’s erectile dysfunction, the more likely he was to also have obstructive sleep apnea.

Another study showed that men with obstructive sleep apnea and erectile dysfunction also exhibited highly fragmented sleep that reduced or eliminated their REM sleep.

Men are more likely than women to suffer from sleep apnea and sleep-disordered breathing -- though there is widespread belief that sleep apnea in women remains significantly underdiagnosed -- and testosterone deficiencies may play a role.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.