The machine that helps people who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) may do more than just help them breathe better. According to a new study, this machine may also help increase a person's sexual performance.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
The Mayo Clinic states that OSA is a serious sleep disorder that causes a person to repeatedly stop breathing while they sleep. OSA, which is the most common form of sleep apnea, causes the throat muscles to intermittently relax and block a person's airway while they sleep.
Various symptoms of OSA vary from loud snoring, high blood pressure, decreased libido, and excessive sleepiness during the daytime. This condition affects 22 million people in America and 1.5 million people in Britain.
A common way to treat OSA is by using a device that will keep the airway open while a person sleeps.
The study, which was published in the JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, states that regular use of the device, CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure), can improve sexual functions, particularly among women. OSA can cause erectile dysfunction among men and vaginal dryness among women.
The researchers noted that women who used the device for three years for four hours each night became better in bed. The study followed 182 participants who were just diagnosed with OSA and were prescribed therapy from September 2007 to June 2010. The researchers compared the changes in the sex lives of 72 people who used the machine regularly and 110 people who did not.
The team saw that the use of the CPAP machine had a profound effect on women but not on men. The researchers saw this when they separated the group and noted that the improvement in sex life was nine times greater in women than in men.
"Long-term sexual quality of life may be improved in women with OSA who are using CPAP treatment for at least four hours a night compared with those women not using CPAP therapy," said the corresponding author of the study, Dr. Sebastian Jara. Previous studies showed that CPAP improved the sexual performance of men but the studies done on women were limited.
Jara commented that this new study was the most "thorough" to date. Jara also commented that it is unclear why the CPAP machine had a better improvement on women than men.
Jara did note that the CPAP machine has overall improved the health of both sexes but that these new findings should encourage more people to get tested and treated for sleep apnea.