Skip to content

    Erectile Dysfunction Health Center

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Sleep Apnea May Spur Erectile Dysfunction

    ED Drug Cialis Helped but Didn't Overcome Problem in Lab Tests on Mice
    By
    WebMD Health News
    Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

    Sept. 12, 2008 -- Sleep apnea may make erectile dysfunction more likely, and the erectile dysfunction drug Cialis may ease but not erase that problem, new research shows.

    Those findings come from lab tests on mice, but the researchers say that erectile dysfunction (ED) is common among men with obstructive sleep apnea, a condition in which breathing stops several times per night.

    In the new study, male mice showed less sexual activity within a week of being exposed to brief but chronic bouts of oxygen deprivation during sleep. That includes attempts to mate with female mice and spontaneous erections.

    The researchers, who included the University of Louisville's Galia Soukhova-O'Hare, ground up Cialis pills and mixed them into peanut butter for the male mice. The mice became more sexually active, but not quite as active as they had been before the study started.

    How were sleep apnea and ED linked? Testosterone wasn't the problem; testosterone levels were unaffected by sleep apnea. And there weren't any problems with the mice's anatomy, either.

    But the mice did have lower levels of an enzyme needed to make nitric oxide during the experiment, and they may have needed nitric oxide to help with blood flow for erections.

    The researchers stop short of recommending ED drugs for men with sleep apnea, and they also note that using a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine to treat sleep apnea can help with erectile dysfunction.

    The findings appear in the Sept. 15 edition of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

    Today on WebMD

    handsome midadult man
    11 tips to protect your erection.
    man and woman on beach
    How much do you know about ED?
     
    stress in bed
    Things that can deflate erections.
    senior couple hugging
    How medications work.
     
    concerned man
    Article
    stress in bed
    Slideshow
     
    Life Cycle of a Penis
    Article
    Mens Body Problem
    Slideshow
     
    bored man
    Article
    Lamm Erections Over Life
    Video
     
    Food Men 10 Foods Boost Male Health
    Article
    senior couple hugging
    Article
     

    WebMD Special Sections