Postmenopausal Women's Sexual Dissatisfaction Not Linked to Heart Troubles

Study did see modest tie between displeasure, peripheral artery disease

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THURSDAY, April 10, 2008 (HealthDay News) -- Sexual dissatisfaction in postmenopausal women isn't associated with cardiovascular disease, say U.S. researchers.

It's known that sexual dysfunction in some men is predictive of cardiovascular disease but this association has never been examined in women.

In this study, researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) and Boston Medical Center (BMC) analyzed data collected from more than 93,000 sexually active postmenopausal women, aged 50 to 79, in the Women's Health Initiative Observational Study.

The women, recruited at 40 clinical centers across the United States, were followed for eight to 12 years. They were classified as either sexually satisfied or dissatisfied based on their responses to a baseline survey.

The researchers looked for information about cardiovascular disease -- acute myocardial infarction, stroke or coronary revascularization procedure -- and related cardiovascular problems such as congestive heart failure, peripheral artery disease and angina.

The study did find a modest association between sexual dissatisfaction and having peripheral artery disease. It also found that women who were sexually dissatisfied had a lower rate of angina. However, the researchers found no association between sexual dissatisfaction and any other form of cardiovascular disease.

The study was published in the April issue of The American Journal of Medicine.

"In men, erectile dysfunction is a manifestation of cardiovascular disease and can predict the development of adverse cardiovascular outcomes such as heart attack," researcher Dr. Jennifer McCall-Hosenfeld, a fellow in the department of general internal medicine at BMC and Women's Health at BUSM, said in a prepared statement.

"In our study, we used decreased sexual satisfaction as a rough proxy measure for sexual dysfunction and controlled for lifestyle issues and other factors that might impact sexual satisfaction. We did not find that sexual satisfaction predicted cardiovascular disease in the future," she said.

More information

The U.S. National Women's Health Information Center has more about heart disease.

SOURCE: American Journal of Medicine, news release, April 2, 2008

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