WEDNESDAY, June 13 (HealthDay News) -- In younger men, sleep apnea and impotence often go hand in hand. But a small study finds that treating the sleep disorder with a mechanical device can jump-start a guy's sex life.
Erectile dysfunction resolved in 17 of 42 men who used machines that maintain air flow throughout the night. And even those without sexual dysfunction who used the CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) devices reported a boost in sexual performance, the study found.
While earlier studies have produced similar results, this one is especially strong, said Dr. Steven Park, an ear, nose and throat physician and sleep medicine specialist familiar with the new findings.
The study "has huge implications," said Park, of Montefiore Medical Center in New York City. "If you snore or you're tired and you're having intimacy issues, consider getting tested for obstructive sleep apnea," he said.
Sleep apnea treatments have revitalized his male patients, Park noted. "In my practice, one of the most common comments is that they're having erections again upon wakening in the morning," he said.
"Bed partners report improved relations," Park added.
The National Sleep Foundation estimates that 18 million Americans have obstructive sleep apnea, but 90 percent may not know it.
People with sleep apnea subconsciously awaken many times a night -- even dozens of times an hour -- because their airways close, disrupting their breathing. Sleep apnea sufferers often snore heavily and are tired during the day.
Erectile dysfunction is common among men with sleep apnea, said Park, author of the book Sleep, Interrupted: A physician reveals the #1 reason why so many of us are sick and tired.
"Having multiple breathing pauses at night causes a massive stress response, increasing your fight-or-flight response, and reproductive function is your
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