Trying to conceive is a struggle faced by millions of people around the world. It can be frustrating and heartbreaking, especially when you don’t know why you’re not conceiving. But a new study has uncovered another possible reason conception may not come so easily to some partners.
It seems that the sleep disorder, sleep apnea may be to blame – at least in male partners. The study was conducted by the Tri-Service General Hospital at the National Defense Medical Center in Taipei, Taiwan, and examined data from 4,607 men from the Longitudinal Health Insurance Database. Each of the 4,607 men had an infertility diagnosis.
The study found that among those with obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, the risk of infertility was higher. In fact, they even found that the longer the patient’s sleep apnea went untreated, the higher the man’s risk for infertility.
Men who did receive treatment for their sleep apnea were assessed a lower infertility risk.
WHAT IS SLEEP APNEA?
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder wherein the patient experiences the stopping and restarting of breathing. The patient may snore loudly enough to wake their partner or themselves, and they may experience tiredness and lethargy during the day.
Sleep apnea occurs when the airway becomes blocked while the patient is sleeping in the lying position. This causes the airway to close up, and the patient to struggle to breathe. This also lowers the blood oxygen level, putting the patient at risk for many serious conditions, including diabetes, some cancers, Alzheimer’s Disease, and even heart disease.
There are several options for treating sleep apnea. For very severe cases, surgery may be required, and CPAP therapy still remains a popular option, though many find it uncomfortable and awkward and thus do not use it as prescribed, rendering it useless. Sleep orthotics that fit comfortably into the mouth have become a popular option, as they position the jaw naturally, are comfortable, and are very effective.
If you have sleep apnea or suspect you may have sleep apnea and are trying to conceive, talk to Dr. Abelar about your options for a sleep device that can help you breathe better as you sleep, and hopefully you can improve your fertility odds as well.