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How Sleep Apnea Affects Your Sex Life

You have sleep apnea and are seeking a solution. The effects of sleep apnea have had a major impact on your life, and not a good one. You’re exhausted during the day. You find yourself distracted, unable to pay attention to needed tasks. 

At Turnquest Surgical Solutions, we offer several approaches to treating sleep apnea. Some are lifestyle changes, while others are surgical options. We treat many patients with sleep apnea whose symptoms are relieved once treatment is underway. 

Sleep apnea can cause sexual dysfunction

Aside from undue fatigue and inability to concentrate, sleep apnea has one more blow that affects your life. You or your partner may have noticed a decline in your libido if you’re a woman and ability to perform if you’re a man. 

Loss of sexual function can be a bona fide byproduct of sleep apnea. Studies find that up to 70% of men with suspected sleep apnea had sexual performance problems, and that women with untreated apnea have increased instances of sexual dissatisfaction/dysfunction. 

The inability to get a good night’s sleep on a regular basis also has a negative impact on the marital or partner relationship, which in turn can affect the sexual relationship. 

Studies show that being constantly fatigued can create moodiness, irritability, and an inability to empathize with your partner and consider their needs. 

When your sleep is constantly interrupted, testosterone levels drop. Both women and men’s bodies produce testosterone, a sex hormone. Scientists think that the drop in testosterone is a factor that leads to erectile dysfunction and loss of libido. 

Is your partner sleeping in a different bedroom because of your incessant, loud snoring? Sleeping apart doesn’t help your marital relationship. If your partner is still in the bedroom, neither of you is getting a good night’s sleep, leading to fatigue and discord during the day. 

How we can treat sleep apnea 

Our board-certified surgeons, Dexter Turnquest, MD, and Victoria Chang, MD, offer an array of options to help combat and control your sleep apnea. They review your medical history and make one or more recommendations based on your individual case.

CPAP device

One of the first options to consider is a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. This device is like a headset with straps going across and around your head. A breathing mask is attached to a tube, which connects to the CPAP machine. 

The machine blows air into your throat to keep the passage open. But some of our patients can’t adjust to the headpiece and mouthpiece and can’t sleep easily when using the device.  

Lifestyle change

If you’re a smoker, we explain how smoking relaxes the muscles in your throat, blocking your airway. We then recommend a smoking cessation program. 

Obesity is most commonly the culprit causing sleep apnea. You have excess tissue in and around your mouth and throat, and when the surrounding muscles are relaxed, the soft tissue can block your airway. If you can lose weight, you may get better sleep. 

Weight loss surgery

If you’ve tried diet after diet and can’t lose the weight, we offer several weight loss surgery options. After a review of your medical history and talking with you, we recommend what we feel is the best option. 


Researchers have found that removing the tonsils helps mitigate the effects of sleep apnea. Your tonsils may be enlarged and could be responsible for blocking your airway when you’re sleeping. 

One study found that the number of apnea events dropped from 40 to seven per hour after a tonsillectomy. 

Call or book an appointment online today at one of our Houston, Texas, locations for expert help with your sleep apnea. You’ll feel like a new person once you’re able to sleep peacefully throughout the night. Life will look good in the mornings again.

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