Will Treating Sleep Apnea with CPAP Improve Sexual Quality of Life?

Bottom Line: Long-term use of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment for obstructive sleep apnea was associated an improvement in sexual quality of life for women, but not men.

Why The Research Is Interesting: Obstructive sleep apnea reduces sexual quality of life (QOL) as a result of reduced libido and intimacy, erectile dysfunction and several other factors. Treatment for obstructive sleep apnea may improve sexual QOL.

Who and When: 182 patients with newly diagnosed obstructive sleep apnea who were prescribed CPAP treatment from September 2007 through June 2010.

What (Study Exposures and Outcomes): Use (more than 4 hours per night) or nonuse (fewer than 0.5 hours per night) of CPAP treatment (exposures); sexual QOL as determined by a survey (outcomes)

How (Study Design): This was an observational study. Researchers were not intervening for purposes of the study and cannot control all the natural differences that could explain the study findings.

Authors: Sebastian M. Jara, M.D., University of Washington, Seattle, and coauthors


Study Limitations: The measurement of sexual QOL in this study was not from a dedicated sexual QOL survey, which may have been more sensitive for measuring sexual dysfunction.

Study Conclusions:

For more details and to read the full study, please visit the For The Media website.