When a patient is diagnosed with sleep apnea, a sleep disorder that causes snoring and disrupted sleep, the doctor may recommend treatment with a CPAP machine, a nasal mask that provides more airflow and keeps the airways open during sleep. But many patients who are diagnosed wonder, If I wear this machine, what will happen to my sex life?
“Over 50 million Americans suffer from snoring and some form of Obstructive Sleep Apnea,” said Dr. Michael Friedman of Chicago ENT. “Most of these are reluctant to come in for diagnosis and treatment because of the dreaded ‘CPAP machine.’ One of the major concerns of my patients is the impact the machine will have on personal relationships.” A recent study may dispel this notion, and in fact point to the opposite effect. The study, published in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, showed that regular use of a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines could improve the sex lives of people with obstructive sleep apnea, especially in women.
“Patients are concerned the machine will make them less attractive or add to a loss of libido, but the study shows that this is not the case,” said Dr. Friedman. While the study showed a self-reported improvement in sex life overall, women showed the largest improvement. Women can often suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, without significant snoring. Their most common complaints before treatment, according to Dr. Friedman, are loss of libido, fatigue, and early depression. In the study, women reported nearly a full point of improvement on a scale of 1 to 5 in their sex life after using a CPAP machine.
Regarding males suffering from obstructive sleep apnea, Dr. Friedman finds that the most common complaint comes from their bed partner. Usually the combination of loud disruptive snoring, episodes of not breathing, choking, and gasping are both terrifying and disruptive to the bed partner. Treatment of sleep apnea can eliminate all of these nighttime stressors for the bed partner.
While the study doesn’t confirm the direct reason for the improved sex life, it doesn’t come as a huge surprise. People who treat obstructive sleep apnea feel more rested, which can improve overall mood. And with treatment, bed partners also can share a bed and sleep more soundly.
If you suffer from snoring, it’s also possible you won’t be sent home with a CPAP machine at all. At Chicago ENT, we offer several treatment options and solutions individualized to your health needs. Our snoring and sleep apnea specialists will work with you to rule out serious underlying medical conditions and recommend the treatment, from CPAP to dental appliances to surgery, including minimally invasive options and specialize solutions.
Do you suffer from snoring? Visit Chicago ENT today for diagnosis and to be on your way to treatment.
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