14% of men who snore have problems achieving an erection.
Severe snoring can disrupt the sex lives of both partners because it causes tiredness, irritability and, in men, makes an erection difficult as was found in a study presented at a meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians in Chicago.
Carried out at the National Naval Medical Centre in Bethesda, Maryland, it looked at 29 men and women with sleep apnoea – which causes the airway to become temporarily blocked several times during sleep – who were receiving treatment for the condition.
Asked to rate their sex lives before and after treatment – they found that afterward they experienced better orgasms and improved sexual drive.
Janet Myers, who led the study, said: “In men, sexual dysfunction may be related to suppression of reproductive or hormonal functioning.”
She said that men may also have diminished oxygen levels in their bloodstream that could hinder erection.
She treated the volunteers by placing a special mask over their face as they slept. This was attached to an air compressor that forced air through the nasal passages.
Altogether patients were asked about five categories of sexual performance. Apart from the two in which they showed improvement, these were sexual cognition or fantasy, sexual arousal, and sexual behaviour.
“If patients are more alert, they’re less fatigued, and they’re more likely to have better sexual functioning,” Ms Myers said.
Many of those taking part in the study were moderately obese – a recognised risk factor for sleep apnoea – and the mean age was 45.
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