Sleep Med Psychophysiol.  2010 Jun;17(1):11-15.

Effects of Menopause on Obstructive Sleep Apnea

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Yongin Mental Hospital, Yongin, Korea.


Obstructive sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that predominantly affects adult men than women. However, the prevalence in women increases with menopause dramatically. Menopause has long been described as a risk factor for obstructive sleep apnea. Recent large well-designed population studies support that menopause increases the risk for sleep-disordered breathing. The mechanism of that hypothesis is not yet clear. But, the decline in progesterone has been thought to influence the development of obstructive sleep apnea because progesterone is a respiratory stimulant and plays a protective role against sleep apnea. Increased visceral obesity and hypertension as major symptoms of metabolic syndrome are also associated with menopause and place women at increased risk for obstructive sleep apnea and other serious health problem. Hormone replacement therapy has been associated with a lower prevalence of sleep apnea. But, relative risk and benefits of hormone replacement therapy compared with other treatment options will require thorough consideration for each individual woman. Finally, attention should be drawn to the need for obstructive sleep apnea evaluation in perimenopausal and postmenopausal women.


Menopause; Obstructive sleep apnea
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