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Can Sleep Apnea Cause Low Testosterone? (Evidence-Based)

Connor Sellers
Published by Connor Sellers
Last updated: January 8, 2023

Sleep disorders like sleep apnea wreak havoc on the body, affecting testosterone levels, impairing cognitive function, and leading to a host of other health problems.

So, in order to establish the link between sleep apnea and testosterone deficiency, I teamed up with a sleep physician and spent several weeks researching this topic.

In addition, this article highlights the available treatments and explains who can be a suitable patient.

Read on to learn what we found.

Quick Summary

  • Sleep disorders, including obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), are proven to affect testosterone production.
  • Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is a safe way to relieve health problems related to sleep apnea.
  • Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) is considered dangerous for individuals with OSA.

Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome Associated With Low Testosterone?

a person with sleep apnea caused by low testosterone

Yes, obstructive sleep apnea is associated with low testosterone, as most daily testosterone production occurs during sleep.

Research has proven that both the quantity and quality of sleep affect testosterone levels [1].

Adding to this, obstructive sleep apnea syndrome and low testosterone levels can cause similar health problems, such as decreased energy levels, mood swings, erectile dysfunction, and trouble concentrating [2,3].

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of either condition, it is crucial to seek treatment.

That said, people who suffer from reoccurring nighttime awakenings and experience reduced sleep efficiency can choose from a few treatment options, such as lifestyle changes, medications, and continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP).

What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that causes a person to stop breathing during sleep.

It can lead to health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke [4].

An upper airway collapse causes sleep apnea syndrome.

This can result from throat muscles relaxing too much during sleep or excessive tissue in the airway [5].

When the airway becomes blocked, the person stops breathing and starts snoring.

This can happen hundreds of times a night, resulting in sleep deprivation and extreme tiredness during the day.

This is because patients with OSA suffer from less REM sleep and increased nighttime awakenings.

“Your breath can become very shallow, or you may even stop breathing briefly. You usually start to breathe again with a loud gasp, snort, or body jerk. You may not sleep well, but you probably won't know that it’s happening.”

- Minesh Khateri, MD And Editor At Webmd.com

Sleep Apnea: What Are the Symptoms and Risks?

Wife annoyed at husband because of sleep apnea caused by low testosterone

There are a few key symptoms of sleep apnea to be aware of.

If you experience any of these, it's essential to consult with a doctor to get checked out:

  • Choking or gasping during sleep
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Snoring loudly and continuously
  • Irregular breathing patterns during sleep

Be aware that severe OSA can lead to many health conditions, such as cardiovascular problems, neurocognitive diseases, and type 2 diabetes [6,7].

Can CPAP Increase Testosterone Production?

Yes, CPAP can increase testosterone production in men with obstructive sleep apnea because sleep and testosterone are related.

Although it cannot directly increase low testosterone, CPAP can reduce sleep apnea episodes, resulting in improved T levels [8].

CPAP therapy is a treatment for obstructive sleep apnea that involves wearing a device that gently blows air into your nose while you sleep, keeping your airway open.

This helps to prevent breathing pauses that can lead to reduced blood oxygen levels and daytime drowsiness [9].

There are several mechanisms by which CPAP could increase testosterone levels, including reducing inflammation, improving sleep quality, and reducing stress levels.

Testosterone Replacement Therapy and Sleep Apnea

An old person appointment with a nurse

There is some evidence that this testosterone therapy may help patients alleviate some side effects from obstructive sleep apnea, such as decreased sexual function [10].

However, many health practitioners warn of the side effects of TRT for men with severe untreated OSA.

It has been shown that TRT worsens the symptoms of this sleep disorder due to several physiologic changes, including changes in the airways and metabolic requirements [11].

FAQs

Which Hormones Are Affected By Sleep Apnea?

Testosterone, growth hormone, aldosterone, and vasopressin are the hormones affected by sleep apnea, according to the European Respiratory Journal.

Does Sleep Apnea Cause Erectile Dysfunction?

Yes, sleep apnea can cause erectile dysfunction due to oxygen deprivation. Many studies found that having sleep apnea causes a loss of libido in both men and women.

Maintain Healthy Testosterone Levels

If you’re diagnosed with sleep apnea, there is a chance that it is causing low testosterone levels and stagnation in muscle gain.

Your best chance to reverse the condition or reduce its symptoms is maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly.

Additionally, I advise combining your new regime with one of the high-quality testosterone boosters:

Our team has tested numerous testosterone-boosting supplements to create a list of the best ones on the market.

Each one is made with natural ingredients at dosages that have been scientifically confirmed to work.


References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4445839/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6082539/
  3. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1352458511432328
  4. https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/sleep-apnea/sleep-apneahttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4549693/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3117288/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6123041/
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6712440/
  8. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/cpap
  9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30803919/
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6305865/
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