Airway Oral Surgery
Can Jaw Surgery Improve Mood and Libido?
Sleep apnea is a disorder characterized by recurrent episodes of cessation or significant reduction in breathing during sleep often caused by a compromised airway. It is a prevalent condition that affects millions of individuals worldwide and is associated with a wide range of health complications, including cardiovascular diseases, metabolic disorders, and cognitive impairment. In addition to these physical symptoms, sleep apnea has also been linked to mood and sexual dysfunction, with patients experiencing symptoms such as depression, anxiety, and low libido.
Mood and Sleep Apnea
Research has consistently shown that individuals with sleep apnea are at an increased risk of developing mood disorders, such as depression and anxiety. One possible explanation for this association is the chronic sleep deprivation that results from the recurrent interruption of breathing during sleep. This leads to a decrease in the amount and quality of sleep, which can disrupt the balance of neurotransmitters in the brain, leading to mood disturbances. Additionally, sleep apnea can also lead to the release of stress hormones, such as cortisol, which can exacerbate mood symptoms.
Another potential mechanism by which sleep apnea affects mood is through the disruption of sleep rhythms. Sleep apnea can lead to a disruption of the normal sleep-wake cycle, which can cause an imbalance in the body's circadian rhythm. This can lead to a dysregulation of melatonin and cortisol secretion, which are known to play a role in stabilizing mood.
Libido and Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea has also been linked to sexual dysfunction, including low libido. One possible explanation for this association is the chronic fatigue and sleep deprivation that result from the recurrent interruption of breathing during sleep. This can lead to a decrease in energy levels and an overall lack of interest in sexual activity. Additionally, sleep apnea can lead to the release of stress hormones, such as cortisol, which can decrease sexual desire. Improving the airway through jaw surgery can thus increase libido and sexual frequency.
Another potential mechanism by which sleep apnea affects libido is through the disruption of testosterone levels. Testosterone is a hormone that plays a crucial role in sexual function and is known to be affected by sleep. Studies have shown that men with sleep apnea have lower levels of testosterone than those without the disorder. This can lead to erectile dysfunction, and other sexual problems.
The underlying mechanisms by which sleep apnea affects mood and libido are becoming better understood, and are likely to involve a combination of chronic sleep deprivation, disruption of circadian rhythms, and alterations in hormone levels. Therefore, it is important for healthcare professionals to consider these potential consequences of sleep apnea when treating patients and to screen for these conditions in patients with sleep apnea. At AOS we firmly believe that time will further expose the benefits of opening up the airway to improve areas of life that were traditionally disassociated.