Staying up all night working may be killing the sex lives of some men.

Erectile dysfunction and a low sex drive were found to be related to men who worked overnight hours on a regular basis, according to a new scientific study.

Researchers were able to show a relationship between overnight working men and “hypogonadism” where subjects “have low testosterone levels accompanied by physical symptoms such as erectile dysfunction, decreased muscle mass, low sex drive and trouble sleeping.”

The research was presented over the weekend in Boston at the annual meeting of the American Urological Association. Dr. Howard L. Adler, clinical associate professor of urology and medical director of the prostate care program at Stony Brook Medicine in New York, moderated the session.

“In an effort to determine whether a relationship exists between non-standard shift work and hypogonadal symptoms, researchers examined data from nearly 2,500 men who were patients at an andrology clinic between July 2014 and September 2016. Seven hundred sixty-six men worked non-standard shifts, and 282 were diagnosed with Shift Work Sleep Disorder,” according to a statement from the research team.

“Shift work is known for having unique demands that set it apart from other jobs with traditional daytime working hours. It is also known for having such benefits as better pay or the convenience of not needing child care,” according to the statement. “However, new studies show the downside to men who regularly work hours outside of a 7 am. – 6 p.m. workday may include an increased risk of hypogonadal or low-T symptoms, altered semen parameters (e.g., sperm count, motility) and increased lower urinary tract symptoms.”

The statement said that results showed:
  • Shift workers diagnosed with Shift Work Sleep Disorder have worse lower urinary tract symptoms than other men.
  • Poor sleep habits, rather than shift work itself, contribute to worse urinary tract symptoms.
  • Modifying work and sleep schedules may reduce risk.

Results also showed:

  • Shift workers with the disorder have lower testosterone levels and worse hypogonadal symptoms than daytime workers.
  • Poor sleep habits caused by the disorder may contribute to more severe hypogonadal symptoms in non-standard shift workers.
  • Shift Work Sleep Disorder was independently associated with lower testosterone levels when controlling for age, comorbidities and history of testosterone supplementation.
  • Sperm density, total motile count (TMC) and testosterone levels were lower in shift workers.
  • No differences in semen volume, sperm motility, leutinizing hormone or follicle stimulating hormone were observed.
  • Infertile shift workers have worse semen parameters than non-shift workers, which is consistent with alterations in the HPG axis observed in shift workers.

Results also showed:

  • Of the 6,158 men who completed the survey questions, seven percent reported a sleep disorder.
  • Men with sleep disorders, particularly obstructive sleep apnea, have increased nocturia and are more likely to experience daytime urinary tract problems.
  • Older age, Caucasian race, elevated BMI and increased comorbidity score are factors associated with an increased risk of urinary tract problems in men with sleep disorders.
  • Men with obstructive sleep apnea were more likely to experience bothersome daytime urinary tract problems compared to men with other sleep disorders.

“These findings demonstrate how sleep disruption and shift work can negatively impact a man’s urologic health,” said Adler. “The improved understanding about the role sleep plays in contributing to or worsening lower urinary tract symptoms, male infertility and low testosterone can lead to more effective diagnosis and treatment options.”

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