Does sleep apnea cause low testosterone?

This question was asked in Ames, Kansas on 05/09/2013.
if i have been diagnosed with a pituitary tumor. Could sleep apnea be a cause of low testosterone? My doctor wants a sleep study to rule out OSA, already been diagnosed with pituitary tumor secreting prolactin. My testosterone has not returned after 6 months. My doctor feels OSA could be cause and does not want to restart testosterone without sleep study. I already used testosterone replacement before tumor was discovered without complications.

Doctors Answers (3)

Vector Sleep Diagnostics Center
Answered on: 5/13/2013

Simple answer is yes, obstructive sleep apnea in some studies was associated with low testosterone levels during night time and in the morning. But in your case the answer is more complex given that you have a hormonal secreting pituitary tumor. It may be a good idea to exclude all other contributing factors (like sleep apnea) particularly if there is a strong suspicion for obstructive sleep apnea (daytime sleepiness, snoring, obesity among other risk factors).

Robert C. Jones, M.D.
Answered on: 5/10/2013

Very unlikely OSA is causing low testosterone. If your doctor wants you to have a sleep study, then you should. One can have very subtle respiratory events that a bed partner can't detect, yet will lead to fatigue and sleepiness.

J. Douglas Hudson, MD, DABSM
Answered on: 5/10/2013

I will not address the pituitary tumor. Your doctor is wise to investigate the possibility of sleep apnea prior to starting testosterone. Yes, sleep apnea is a common cause for low testosterone and taking testosterone can aggravate sleep apnea as it can thicken the tissue in the throat, compromising the airway.