In older women, sexual dysfunction could be linked to metabolic syndrome

By Rebecca Burton • Published: October 14th, 2016
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

As women age and enter menopause, it’s important for them to discuss their sexual health with their doctors. This is because sexual well-being is often seen as an indicator of overall health and activity level.

Now, there’s yet another reason to have that conversation: A study has found that metabolic syndrome, or biochemical and physiological abnormalities that are associated with heart disease and diabetes, is linked to sexual dysfunction in postmenopausal women. These metabolic abnormalities were strongly linked to decreased sexual desire, activity and enjoyment. The findings were published recently in The American Journal of Medicine.

To conduct the study, researchers from the University of San Diego surveyed 376 postmenopausal women. The findings showed that in addition to metabolic syndrome, waist size, hypertension and diabetes were also linked to lower sexual activity. The research team also looked at the association between heart health and sexual health, finding that women who had sex less often were more prone to heart attacks and heart disease than those who were more active.

The team said the study shows that metabolic syndrome may play a part in a sexual slump — including activity and satisfaction — as a woman ages. Previous studies have shown that sexual decline is more closely related to psychological factors, such as depression. However, this study provides evidence that physiological factors such as metabolism also play a role.

The author notes that one way women can maintain a healthy sex life is by taking preventive measures, such as eating a balanced diet and exercising, to avoid heart and metabolism problems in the future.