Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes people to stop breathing while they are asleep. This serious disorder affects 18 million Americans, and one of the popular treatments for it is the continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) mask. Some people are hesitant to use these masks to treat their sleep apnea, even though doing so could be fatal. Why? Because they’re afraid that it will be a sexual turn-off.
If you do have the fear that wearing a sleep apnea mask will lead to trouble in the sack, you don’t need to. Researchers from Rosalind Franklin University in Chicago surveyed 52 patients who were prescribed CPAP masks, and according to the findings, the masks have no negative impact on one’s sexual life.
The detailed findings won’t be released until the end of the month at the annual meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians, but an article published in the journal Chest briefly described the study results.
Sleeping with your CPAP may actually benefit your sex life, not harm it: http://t.co/dUV5xLQENJ
— AASM (@AASMOrg) October 26, 2014
Per the journal article on the study:
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is common in sleep apnea patients, but studies have shown that the use of CPAP improves ED. However, patients using CPAP may believe that the use of CPAP will have a negative influence on sexual quality, which can in turn make them less likely to use CPAP. Researchers conducted a survey to determine if sexual quality of life (SQOL) differs between CPAP-compliant and noncompliant patients. Patients were deemed to be compliant if they used CPAP more than 4 hours per night for 70% of days.
In this study, 52 patients with OSA on CPAP answered 10 questions pertaining to physical and emotional aspects of lovemaking. Of the 52 patients, 27 were compliant with CPAP, 25 were not. Both groups were similar in age, body mass index, ED, use of medication to treat erectile dysfunction, and presence of depression. Results showed that, when adjusting for all confounding variables, CPAP compliance does not predict sexual quality of life.
“This study suggests that CPAP compliance does not impair sexual quality of life in patients with sleep apnea,” said Dr. Mark Rosen, the medical director of Rosalind Franklin University.
This is great news for those who are hesitant to wear the mask, since hopefully it will convince them that they no longer have to decide between their health or having a sex life.
The new evening wear: Would curing my sleep apnea kill my sex life? (via @cogwbur) http://t.co/IFxXiTRTU4 pic.twitter.com/OAUGkr2cia
— WBUR (@WBUR) September 24, 2014
In other sleep apnea news, researchers have also discovered that the disorder may also cause hearing loss. This is in addition to other medical conditions associated with sleep apnea, such as heart disease, weight gain, and high blood pressure.