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  • Writer's pictureDr. H. Singh, ND

Obstructive Sleep Apnea and its Impact on Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a condition where normal breathing during sleep is interrupted. The interruptions are around 10 seconds or longer and occur a minimum of 5 times per hour.

Patients with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) are at a higher risk of developing OSA, regardless of their body mass index (BMI). Symptoms suggestive of OSA include snoring, waking up feeling unrefreshed from sleep, sleepiness during daytime and/or fatigue. These symptoms, however, are insufficient to diagnose OSA. Further diagnostic assessment is still required.

Another helpful tool in screening for OSA is the Berlin questionnaire, which can help identify more specific symptoms and help healthcare providers make the decision if a referral for a sleep study is needed (usually needed for diagnosis).

How does Obstructive Sleep Apnea Impact PCOS?

There appears to be a negative correlation between fertility parameters and OSA for PCOS Patients. An observational study found that being diagnosed with OSA was associated with longer periods of infertility duration, a lower antral follicle count (AFC), higher doses required for ovarian stimulation medications during ovarian hylper-stimulation for infertility treatments and lower quality embryos. It is important to note that only a correlation can be established between OSA and the other parameters, as observational studies are unable to establish causation.

What should you do if you have symptoms of OSA?

Notify your healthcare provider. OSA can be managed and its negative burden on overall health and potentially infertility can be managed.

This article is being shared as educational content and is in no way a replacement for medical advice or medical care, it is advised that anyone concerned about their Health should speak with their Naturopathic Doctor. Please discuss with your healthcare provider and only make changes to your medications regimen if recommended by your doctor and under their guidance and supervision.

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