Sleep and Breathing

, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp 3–10 | Cite as

Obstructive sleep apnea and erectile dysfunction: still a neglected risk factor?

  • Nikolaos Zias
  • Vishnu Bezwada
  • Sean Gilman
  • Alexandra Chroneou



Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a well-known entity with determined risk factors, which generally has a negative impact on quality of life. Obstructive sleep-disordered breathing (SDB), often referred to as obstructive sleep apnea, stands among the possible risk factors for ED.


Literature review suggests that SDB induces a spectrum of abnormalities in neural, hormonal, and vascular regulation that may contribute to the development of ED. While more studies are required to imply SDB as a risk factor for ED, several case series and expert opinion have contributed evidence for a causal relationship.


In clinical practice, men presenting with symptoms of sexual dysfunction often have concomitant sleep disorders requiring treatment. There is now evidence to suggest that treating SDB may be an effective treatment for ED. It is the authors’ opinion that patients with erectile dysfunction would benefit from a sleep evaluation.


Erectile dysfunction Obstructive sleep apnea Testosterone CPAP Obesity OSA 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nikolaos Zias
    • 1
    • 3
  • Vishnu Bezwada
    • 1
  • Sean Gilman
    • 2
  • Alexandra Chroneou
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Lahey Clinic Medical CenterTufts University School of MedicineBurlingtonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical CenterHarvard University School of MedicineBostonUSA
  3. 3.Department of Pulmonary and Critical Care MedicineLahey Clinic Medical CenterBurlingtonUSA

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