Sexual Health Week 2005

Sexual Health Week 2005

Sexual Health Week 1-7 August 2005
Don't be a snore bore - stop snoring and improve your sexual health

Over one third of snoring couples hardly ever make love because of snoring. Is this because snorers are a flop in bed?

From a recent survey conducted by the British Snoring & Sleep Apnoea Association it was found that over half of all respondents reported that snoring was having a negative effect on their sexual relationship. When it came to love making a third of all snoring couples said they hardly ever make love because of the snoring and 63% of couples said they would make love more often if snoring stopped. As one respondent reported 'The frequency of our love making would increase if we went to bed at the same time. My partner retires early to get to sleep before the snoring starts!'

Although couples now realise that snoring can have a devastating effect on their love life, they may not know that it can also have a negative effect on the sexual function of the snorer. From a study by Dr Madani of nearly 5,000 snorers, it was found that a significant number of heavy snorers had reduced sexual drive with over 50% of them experiencing erectile dysfunction. One respondent to this present study said 'My wife and I are now separated which had much to do with a poor sexual relationship'.

An erection is achieved by an integration of psychological, neural, hormonal and vascular systems. A problem with any one of these may cause erectile dysfunction. For snorers, and for those who suffer the more serious condition of OSA (Obstructive Sleep Apnoea), a series of events occurs at night that has an effect on their daytime functioning. The apnoeas (cessation of breathing) that occur in sleep cause blood pressure to rise above normal levels which puts a strain on the heart and vascular system. High blood pressure increases the risk of heart attack and stroke and can also suppress a healthy interest in sex. Additionally the respiratory disturbances and the reduction of oxygen in the blood caused by the apnoea adversely affects blood vessel and hormone levels.

During normal male sleep, every REM (Rapid Eye Movement) period is associated with erection. Because longer REM sleep periods occur towards the morning, it is very common to wake up with an erection. However, apnoeas also tend to occur during REM sleep and Margel et al (2003) in their research found an absence of 'morning erection' in sleep apnoeaics. These findings were similar to those of other research where sleep apnoea patients were found to have impaired nocturnal erection.

Morning tiredness, excessive fatigue, depression and loss of libido suggest a psychological role in the incidence of erectile dysfunction. In the Margel study the incidence of morning tiredness rose with increasing severity of sleep apnoea. This fact is well known and is probably caused by the poor quality of sleep and frequent awakenings experienced by snorers and OSA sufferers.

It would seem that a combination of physical and psychological factors are responsible for erectile dysfunction but other parameters such as age, BMI (Body Mass Index) and RDI (Respiratory Disturbance Index) must also be considered as predictive factors for erectile dysfunction in snorers and OSA sufferers.

Snorers and sufferers of OSA should be aware that not only is their snoring disruptive to their loved ones but can also have a deleterious effect on their sexual well being.

Our message to the 15 million snorers in the UK
Stop snoring now and improve your sexual health

For further information and ISDN interviews
please call Marianne Davey Tel: 01737 245638

Glossary of Terms:
BMI (Body Mass Index)
20-25 Normal
25-30 Overweight
>30 Obese

RDI (Respiratory Disturbance Index)
<5 no apnoeas
<20 apnoeas present but not always
clinically significant
20-40 moderate OSA
>40 severe OSA

British Snoring & Sleep Apnoea Survey 2005
Snoring Affects Your Love Life - True or False?

Madani M (2001) Snoring can affect your sex life.
American College of Oral & Maxillofacial surgeons May 2001.

Margel D et al (2004) OSA is associated with erectile dysfunction.
Urology Mar 63 (3) 545-9.