Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome and erectile dysfunction: does long term continuous positive airway pressure therapy improve erections?

Afr Health Sci. 2015 Mar;15(1):171-9. doi: 10.4314/ahs.v15i1.23.


Objectives: The aim of this age-matched, controlled, prospective clinical study was to investigate frequency and degree of erectile dysfunction (ED) in patients with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) and to evaluate the results of only continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy on ED in patients with OSAS.

Materials and methods: A total of 90 patients were evaluated for potential OSAS. They were given an International Index of Erectile Function questionnaire (IIEF) and Beck Depression Inventory. Sixty-two patients with the diagnosis of OSAS were regarded as study group. Twenty-eight patients in whom the OSAS was excluded, were regarded as the control group. Biochemical and hormonal laboratory evaluation were performed. Then all patients underwent a full-night in laboratory polysomnography examination. The degree of OSAS were evaluated by an expert from chest diseases department.

Results: When compared to the control group, a decrease in IIEF-5 scores was found in patients with OSAS. However, this decrease was not statistically significant. After 3 months of CPAP usage in patients with mild to moderate and severe degree OSAS, improvement in IIEF-5 scores was statistically significant. Mean value of IIEF-5 score was 16.63±5.91 before CPAP and were improved up to 20.92±6.79 (P=0.001).

Conclusion: It is not certainly possible to say that OSAS is clearly associated with ED. However, after 3 months of regular CPAP usage, ED complaints in patients with OSAS might improve positively. Trials with larger series may give more conclusive data.

Keywords: CPAP; Sleep disorder; erectile dysfunction; obstructive sleep apnea syndrome.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Continuous Positive Airway Pressure / adverse effects*
  • Depression / drug therapy
  • Depression / psychology
  • Erectile Dysfunction / etiology*
  • Erectile Dysfunction / therapy
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polysomnography
  • Prospective Studies
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / complications
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / therapy*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antidepressive Agents