Monday, October 31, 2011

Obstructive Sleep Apnea Linked To Sexual Dysfunction

Untreated obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) has been linked to impotence in men and loss of libido in women. Many women report to me in my clinic that they are just too tired ot have sex. However, there are not many formal studies about women with OSA and sexual dysfunction. In the September edition of the Journal of Sexual Medicine, researchers studied the sexual functioning of women with OSA. They studied 80 female patients (28 to 64 years old) who were diagnosed with any severity of OSA after a sleep study. Sexual functioning was assessed with subjective questionnaires and the subjects' responses were compared to a population sample.

The results showed that females with OSA had a higher risk of sexual "distress" and sexual dysfunction. The sexual dysfunction was not related to OSA severity, meaning that even mild OSA can impact their sexual functioning. It's not clear whether treatment of their OSA improves sexual functioning. My clinical experience, however, is that women who report an improvement in sleep quality and daytime sleepiness with OSA treatment do report an improvement in sexual functioning.

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