A clinical sleep specialist may have the answer for would-be fathers with fertility woes. Infertility is one of the many health problems associated with obstructive sleep apnea. A new study shows it is reversible with the right treatment.
Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), the front-line treatment for obstructive sleep apnea, can solve the symptoms of sleep apnea, including infertility.
The study involved 10 men with an average of 57 years of age. All of the men were either obese or overweight with symptoms of sleep apnea. Each subject stopped breathing between five and 28 times per hour of sleep.
Following an overnight sleep study, researchers measured the participants’ secretion of the serum prolactin, a substance that affects male fertility. After 11 to 39 months of CPAP therapy the subjects’ prolactin levels decreased and in some cases normalized.
The findings are encouraging, but further research on the subject is needed due to the relatively small size of the study. Several past studies have investigated the topic but have had mixed results.
More research is needed to determine if alternative approaches including oral appliance therapy and surgery may also possibly help reverse infertility.