A new study suggests that men who suffer from sleep apnea could be more likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction.

The results of the study by researchers from the University of Louisville were published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

According to the authors, the regular deprivation of oxygen that takes place during obstructive sleep apnea syndrome episodes could lead to a treatable form of erectile dysfunction.

The researchers tested mice that were deprived regularly of oxygen and discovered that they showed a 55% decrease in daily spontaneous erections.

They further found that after six weeks of no oxygen deprivation the mice returned to 74% of their original erectile rates. Treatment with the drug tadalafil also showed a return to normal among almost all the mice.

Sleep apnea is characterised by pauses in breathing during sleep, often caused by an obstruction of the airway by the soft tissue of its walls. An individual with sleep apnea is rarely aware of having difficulty breathing, even upon awakening.

The authors have recommended early treatment of sleep apnea syndrome, which is considered a common disorder.

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