Sexual Health Q&A

Can treatment for obstructive sleep apnea improve a man’s ability to have erections?

Yes. Many men find that their erections improve once they start treatment for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

Continuous positive airway pressure therapy (CPAP) is one of the most common treatments for OSA. Patients using CPAP wear a mask at night. The mask is connected to a machine that pushes air to the back of the throat, keeping the airway open. This allows for regular breathing during sleep and better rest overall.

Many men who use CPAP have better erections even if they haven’t been diagnosed with erectile dysfunction. Improved sleep can lead to better testosterone production and allows more oxygen into the body. Testosterone and oxygen are important for erections.

Getting enough rest also reduces fatigue, which can interfere with sexual function.

Researchers have also investigated how surgical treatment of OSA affects erectile function. Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) involves removing some of the tissue that blocks the airway. A recent study in The Journal of Sexual Medicine found that participants who underwent UPPP had improved erectile function compared to men who were treated without surgery. However, the authors acknowledged that their study was small. More research would need to confirm these results.