Women, Sex, and Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Here’s a subject I’ve blogged about before:  how Obstructive Sleep Apnea negatively affects sexual function in women.   A very interesting study was recently performed in a hospital in Turkey, showing that yes, as a woman’s apnea gets worse, so does her sexual function.

Previously the relationship between apnea and decreased sexual function had been a well known fact in men, but not yet studied in women.

In the Turkey study, 25 women, with an average age of 48 and with an average marriage length of 26 years, who were having intercourse an average of 3 times per month, found that as their OSA was more and more severe (the number of times per hour that they stopped breathing worsened), that there was an increasingly negative impact on most areas of sexual function, including desire and sensation.

It should be stressed that those who remain untreated for apnea are putting not just their physical health but also their sexual health at risk… which in turn can harm romantic relationships. 

Saving one’s marriage or relationship is sometimes the best motivator for getting into a clinic to have obstructive sleep apnea diagnosed and treated.  As I often say in my book (and on television), in my work as a sleep specialist I may have saved more marriages than I ever could have as a relationship counselor!

Here are some more resources on Obstructive Sleep Apnea: