Is Sleep Apnea Linked Io Erectile Dysfunction

Sleep apnea is a disorder, characterized by a difficulty wherein an individual struggles with breathing for a short time during a deep sleep state.

The sudden shortage of breath makes them wake up in the middle of sleep causing them to gasp and wake up. It disrupts slumber and the person finds it difficult to go back to sleep.

As per some evidence, sleep apnea might have a negative impact on the erection function in men. Keep reading to understand the link between sleep apnea and erectile dysfunction.

About sleep apnea

Sleep apnea, also called Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), is a sleep disorder characterized by frequent episodes of partial or complete obstruction of the upper airway during sleep.

Due to obstructions, the breathing pattern may change because of sudden pauses. This disrupts the sleep patterns ultimately. Such interruptions happen because of the collapsing of the airways or throat.

If the condition is left untreated, it can potentiate the risk of several health complications like heart disease, high blood pressure (hypertension), type 2 diabetes, and others.

Does sleep apnea cause erectile dysfunction?

According to some sources, a condition like sleep apnea can affect the erection response in some men. Here is how sleep apnea leads to erectile dysfunction:

Reduced oxygen levels

Repeated episodes of obstructions may lead to a significant drop in the oxygen levels in the blood. The tissues around the throat region block the free flow of oxygen.

If this keeps happening from time to time, might contribute to several problems like oxidative stress, systemic inflammation, and endothelial dysfunction.

Each of these problems is an individual contributor to erectile dysfunction. In this way, the deprivation of sufficient oxygen can trigger erection difficulties.

Endothelial dysfunction

Sleep apnea can lead to endothelial dysfunction, wherein the endothelium function gets impaired. Endothelium refers to the inner lining of the blood vessels. Its role is to regulate blood flow, vascular tone, blood clot formation, and inflammation.  

Impairment of endothelial function can lead to the development and progression of cardiovascular diseases, such as hypertension (high blood pressure), atherosclerosis, and coronary artery disease.

All these conditions are strong contributors to erectile dysfunction. However, erectile dysfunction can be managed with ED medicines such as Assurance 20. These medicines increase the nitric oxide levels in the endothelial walls, relieve constrictions, boost blood flow to the penile, and help restore erection function.  

Hormonal imbalance  

Obstructive sleep apnea plays a role in disruption of the regulation of hormones. It can lead to a decline in the levels of the testosterone hormone. Being the primary sex hormone in males, testosterone decrease can impact a range of physiological processes.

Testosterone regulates the sexual function and sexual desire. A drop in its levels because of sleep apnea can contribute to the development of erectile dysfunction in men.

Psychological factors

Sleep quality can be negatively impacted because of the condition. Sleep is a restorative activity, which is extremely essential for the overall health and well-being of an individual.

Lack of adequate sleep can contribute to increased stress levels, anxiety, and depression, which are psychological factors that can lead to psychogenic erectile dysfunction.  

Neurological factors

The condition can cause changes in brain function and fluctuations in the neurotransmitter levels. This may have an adverse impact on sexual arousal and the ability to achieve and maintain stronger erections.


Obstruction sleep apnea (OSA) can be treated with the help of interventions such as continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy. The therapy can improve the erection function as well.

In addition to the treatment, the individual needs to cultivate several lifestyle modifications that may help improve endothelial health and function.

Timely treatment will also lower the risk of developing cardiovascular disease in individuals living with OSA. This will prevent the erectile dysfunction symptoms from worsening.

The lowdown

Researchers have concluded that there is a strong link between sleep apnea and erectile dysfunction. However, not all men with sleep apnea need to develop erectile dysfunction symptoms. It may not necessarily lead to erectile dysfunction either.

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