Outcome of CPAP Treatment on Intimate and Sexual Relationships in Men with Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Keywords: CPAP, functional status, obstructive sleep apnea, relationships, sexual, sleepiness

Several medical professionals and the Multisite Study Group produced a study on the effects of CPAP treatment on intimate and sexual relationships in men with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).  The report would go on to conclude that OSA has a negative effect on intimacy and sexual relationships due to the participants’ sleepiness but can be improved upon with the use of a CPAP device.  CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure and is a common device used in treating OSA.  Dr. Stan Farrell understands that many patients find it challenging to remain compliant with using the CPAP.  At AZ TMJ, Dr. Farrell, who is a prominent doctor in treating a wide range of causes of sleep apnea, is skilled at presenting an alternative for the CPAP to patients through the use of an oral appliance.   If you struggle with using your CPAP or think you might be suffering from obstructive sleep apnea, call Dr. Farrell at 480-945-3629 to set your consultation and visit AZ TMJ at www.headpaininstitute.com.

Judith L. Reishtein, Ph.D., Greg Maislin, M.S., M.A., Terri E. Weaver, Ph.D., and the Multisite Study Group


Study Objectives: To examine intimate and sexual relationships in patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), the association with daytime sleepiness, and the change in these outcomes with continuous positive airway pressure treatment (CPAP).

Design: Pre-post test, quasi-experimental study

Setting: Seven sleep disorders centers in the US and Canada

Participants: 123 males with OSA (AHI ≥ 20), aged 21 to 60 years

Interventions: Nasal CPAP for ≥ 3 months

Measurements and Results: Compared to normal values, at baseline patients were significantly sleepier, as measured by the Multiple Sleep Latency Test and Epworth Sleepiness Scale. They were also more impaired in intimate and sexual relationships, as measured by the Intimate and Sexual Relationships subscale of the Functional Outcomes of Sleep Questionnaire. Neither race nor marital status was significantly associated with impaired intimate and sexual relationships. Following treatment, patients were significantly more alert and had reported improved intimate and sexual relationships, with the greatest change occurring in those with the most disease severity.

Conclusions: OSA has an adverse impact on intimate and sexual relationships that is related to subjective sleepiness and improved with CPAP treatment (J Clin Sleep Med 2010;6(3):221-226).