Have Sleep Apnea? Your CPAP Can Improve Your Sex Life
July 25, 2012 § Leave a Comment
If you or your bedmate have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, you may already be familiar with the Darth Vadar like contraption known as the CPAP, or Continuous Positive Airway Pressure therapy. When used consistently, the CPAP is an effective treatment for sleep apnea.
But even when urged by their physician, some patients don’t use it regularly — if even at all.
What’s the most common complaint? The gas mask headpiece device is a killer in the romance department — if you know what we mean.
But before you or your partner bury the CPAP into an already-stuffed closet, listen up because a new study suggests that the CPAP can actually help men with sleep apnea realize improvement in their six lives.
First things first. Let’s discuss what a CPAP machine does and what sleep apnea is. A CPAP is a machine with headgear worn during sleep. The device pushes air in a constant stream through the wearer’s headpiece, thus preventing the airway from collapsing.
A person with sleep apnea is subject to a repeatedly collapsing airway — and temporary cut-off of oxygen which results in a intermittent halt in breathing. Impacting over 18 million people in the U.S., obstructive sleep apnea is one of the most common sleep disorders. And because it’s often under-diagnosed, the numbers could be even higher. Sleep apnea can lead to serious health risks, including stroke, high blood pressure, obesity, and heart disease. Studies have also shown that having a sleep apnea condition increases the sexual dysfunction likelihood in both women and men.
Back to the study: researchers at Walter Reed National Military Center discovered improvement in both sexual desire and sexual function in men with obstructive sleep apnea who used a CPAP machine regularly. Among 92 men, who had an average age of 45, participating in the study, almost 50 percent were suffering from erectile dysfunction, which is common for sleep apnea patients.
At one, three, and six months of using CPAP therapy regularly, the researchers found that all of the men saw improvement in both their libido and erectile dysfunction as their CPAP treatment continued.
The takeaway: If you have been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea and were instructed to use a CPAP machine, but haven’t given in to using it regularly yet, don’t give up! There’s also some evidence that the CPAP adjustment period may be easier through the use of prescription sleep medications for short-term use, so speak with your physician with respect to this option.
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