Of late, your partner has been complaining about a loud, rumbling, sleep-disturbing noise. The source of this thunderous sound has been attributed to you. While you have ignored it this long, it is advisable to consider this accusation seriously. For this growling sound may be a harbinger of a sexual disorder. Yes, heavy snoring is one of the risk factors for Erectile Dysfunction.
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Snoring is the result of weakened airway muscles. Men tend to snore more, especially as they age. With age, muscles of the throat and mouth relax too much, obstructing the free flow of air through the passages. When the uvula, soft palate, and the tissues vibrate together, this irritating sound is produced.
Snoring is a sign of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) and is one of the factors of Sleep Disordered Respiration (SDB). Loud snoring, not breathing while you sleep, headaches, restlessness in the night, reduced concentration, fatigue during the daytime, and sudden breathlessness during the night are some of the characteristics of OSA.
Researches have shown that sexual satisfaction is the first casualty of heavy snoring. One of the obvious reasons may be that snorers are too tired to think about sex leave alone getting into the act due to lack of quality sleep. Also, most couples resort to home remedies of sleeping in separate rooms or on the couch, cutting back on intimacy. In addition to the loss of libido, men with OSA are known to develop ED over the long run.
Erection, as we know, is a complex interplay of psychological, neural, chemical, hormonal, and vascular elements. A malfunction in any of these can result in ED. A recent study showed that in addition to lack of quality sleep, snoring reduced testosterone production during the night, resulting in reduced libido and the inability to achieve and maintain an erection.
OSA is also known to numb the brain’s reception of dopamine. Dopamine is an organic chemical neurotransmitter that controls the brain’s pleasure centers. It is responsible for libido and the strength of an erection. Numbing of the receptors leads to a lack of sexual interest and ED.
Stage 3 sleep is the most vital part of the sleep cycle. During this phase, the blood pressure and body temperatures drop, leading to slow breathing. It is during this phase that the brain secretes and rebuilds hormones like dopamine, gonadotropins, and testosterone. Snoring and OSA disrupt the stage 3 phase of sleep, interrupting this repair mechanism, thus leading to reduced libido and ED.
Some simple lifestyle changes like undergoing weight loss, diet changes, and reducing the intake of alcohol can help in combating OSA. Also, using certain products like nasal dilators, anti-snoring pillows, nasal pumps, EPAP (Expiratory Positive Airway Pressure) devices, CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) devices are known to reduce snoring. Choose the appropriate remedy based on the severity and the cause of snoring.
Treating snoring and OSA can increase sex drive. However, ED can also be caused due to other factors in addition to OSA. So, seek advice from your doctor about your condition.