Is there a relationship between sleep disorders and ED (erectile dysfunction) that clinicians should be more aware of and discuss with their patients? Based on the findings of a study conducted at University College London Hospitals, the answer appears to be yes.
In fact, at least one previous research study found that men with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and sexual function issues experienced an improvement in sexual function and libido when they were treated for the OSA using continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy. Now a more recent study has reinforced the need to test for sleep disorders among men who are being assessed for erectile dysfunction.
In the new study, 129 men with erectile dysfunction who were attending a specialized andrology outpatient facility were asked to complete three questionnaires: the International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF), the Obstructive Sleep Apnoea Screening questionnaire, and the Insomnia Severity Index (ISI).
Men who scored 3 or greater on the Obstructive Sleep Apnoea Screening questionnaire were diagnosed with OSA.
The authors found that:
- 71 (55%) men were diagnosed with OSA
- Men who scored 3 or higher were significantly older and had a significantly higher body mass index when compared with controls
- Significantly worse IIEF and ISI scores also were seen among men who had sleep apnea scores of 3 or greater
The findings of this study indicate that men with erectile dysfunction often also have undiagnosed sleep disorders, such as obstructive sleep apnea. This sleep disorder is associated with a number of potential dangers, including daytime drowsiness that could result in motor vehicle or heavy equipment accidents. The combination of insufficient oxygen and disturbed sleep also may lead to heart disease, memory problems, mood swings, hypertension, and compromised work performance.
Given the high percentage of men with erectile dysfunction who had concomitant sleep issues, screening for sleep problems should be part of a man’s evaluation for erectile dysfunction.
Read more in our Erectile Dysfunction Health Center.
Kalejaiye O et al. Sleep disorders in patients with erectile dysfunction. BJU International 2017 Dec; 120(6): 855-60