Sexual function status in women with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome

J Sex Med. 2007 Sep;4(5):1352-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2006.00302.x. Epub 2006 Aug 14.


Introduction: Several co-morbid diseases have been shown to affect sexual functions in both genders. In the literature, sexual function status in men with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) has been studied; however, sexual functions in women with OSAS have not yet been studied.

Aims: In this prospective study, we aimed to determine sexual function status in women with OSAS and its relationship with the disease parameters of OSAS.

Methods: Women, who were diagnosed with OSAS with polysomnography performed in the sleep center of our university hospital, formed the study population. Women with any genital deformity, postmenopausal women, and women without a regular partner were excluded from the study. General demographic properties, medical histories, polysomnography parameters, and frequency of intercourse per month were noted for each patient. Patients completed the Sexual Function Questionnaire Version 2 (SFQ-V2) and Epworth Sleepiness Scale. The patients were grouped as mild, moderate, and severe OSAS according to the level of respiratory disturbance index (RDI).

Main outcome measures: Scores of sexual function domains were determined from SFQ, and their relationships with parameters of polysomnography and demographics were studied.

Results: Twenty-five patients were included in the study. Mean age was 48.1 +/- 2.7 years. All were married with a mean marriage duration of 25.6 +/- 3.3 years. Mean frequency of intercourse per month was 3.3 +/- 1.8. All domains of sexual functions except pain and enjoyment significantly decreased with increasing severity of OSAS. When we controlled for factors of age and co-morbid diseases, correlation analyses showed significant negative correlation between levels of RDI and all domains of sexual functions except pain and enjoyment (P < 0.05).

Conclusions: Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome negatively impacts sexual function in women independent of age and associated co-morbid diseases.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Coitus
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Polysomnography
  • Prospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / etiology*
  • Sexual Dysfunctions, Psychological / etiology*
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / complications*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Women's Health*