New program treats sleep and sex disorders | May 18, 2012 | Mountain View Voice | Mountain View Online |

Mountain View Voice

News - May 18, 2012

New program treats sleep and sex disorders

by Nick Veronin

Every day — on billboards, in magazines, over the radio and on TV — we're bombarded by advertisements for products to help us sleep more soundly or perform better in bed.

The problem with these ads, according to one El Camino Hospital doctor, is that they are only offering treatment for one of two issues that are often connected. A recently launched program at El Camino's campus in Los Gatos aims to address the link between sexual dysfunction and sleep disorders by treating both conditions simultaneously.

The Sleep Disorders Program will be the first one run by a major hospital in Silicon Valley to focus on the link, according to Dr. Edward Karpman, a urologist at El Camino.

"We don't want to just give patients a pill," Karpman said. "We want to get down to that root cause" — which in the case of sexual issues such as erectile dysfunction is very often related to sleep apnea.

"There is a significant relationship between sleep disorders and many of the problems men face when they get older" related to sexual dysfunction, Karpman said.

Men are not the only ones who may suffer sexual side effects as a result of sleep apnea. According to 2011 study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine, men and women with obstructive sleep apnea between the ages of 28 and 64 had significantly higher levels of sexual dysfunction than those in a similar group without the sleeping disorder, according to a Sleep Disorders Program press release.

It isn't exactly clear why sleep disorders impact libido, Karpman said, but he offered a theory to which he ascribes.

The airway of someone with obstructive sleep apnea becomes partially or completely blocked. This not only causes the person to repeatedly wake up — thus disturbing the natural sleep cycle — it also deprives the body of oxygen.

"Oxygen is essential to every cell in the body," Karpman explained. "If you deprive the brain of oxygen repetitively, it could cause a disturbance of the circadian rhythm and of hormone production in the brain." This could, in theory, cause a cascade of hormone disruption and depletion, which would result in lower testosterone production in men, and ultimately, sexual dysfunction.

Karpman said he believes a large number of people who come into his office for sexual dysfunction, as well as for waking up in the middle of the night to urinate, are really experiencing some form of sleeping disorder.

"When people wake up in the middle of the night, they often get up to pee, even if that wasn't the reason they woke up in the first place," he said. "It's a confusion people have."

Not all sexual dysfunction is attributable to a sleeping disorder, Karpman said. It is important for people to understand all the potential causes for the condition, as a lackluster libido can put a damper a relationship, and consequently, on a person's marriage and overall happiness, he said.

"I think this is an exciting thing for the local community," he said of the new Sleep Disorders Program, "and I think this is something people should know about."


Like this comment
Posted by MD
a resident of Rex Manor
on May 19, 2012 at 7:30 am

The Sleep Disorders Program will be the first one run by a major hospital in Silicon Valley to focus on the link, according to Dr. Edward Karpman, a urologist at El Camino.

This statement is simply on true. Stanford has had a massive sleep clinic in operation for years with a branch in the Melchor Pavilion behind El Camino Hospital.

Sleep Medicine equals big money, so any type of spin a hospital can put on it, makes it all the more valuable. People with moderate to severe sleep apnea have a lot more to worry about than sexual dysfunction, but that's the phrase that makes the headlines.

This is more free advertising posing as an article. No wonder given that Don Frances, former editor of the Voice, is now director of media realtions at ECH.

The Voice has once again sunken to new lows in terms of lacking journalistic integrity. If that is even possible at this point.
(Don Frances has not worked at El Camino Hospital for nearly two years and when he did had nothing to do with Voice coverage. --Ed.)

Like this comment
Posted by Doogie Hauser
a resident of Willowgate
on May 19, 2012 at 7:56 pm

I agree. This isn't journalism. This is promoting the hospitals revenue generating clinics by tapping into connections in the local press. It also amounts to free advertising every time one of these articles on the new services being offered by ECH comes out. There have been quite a few over the past few years since Don Frances headed over there. The Voice should charge for printing these articles.

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