Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Hypertension/High Blood Pressure Health Center

Font Size

High Blood Pressure Harms Women's Sexual Function, Too

WebMD Health News

June 28, 2000 -- Whether it's a matter of not being "in the mood" or having difficulties with vaginal dryness or orgasm, women's sexual difficulties can stem from a variety of causes. Now it appears that a culprit long associated with men's erectile problems, high blood pressure, also can diminish women's sexual pleasure.

Although it has long been known that men with high blood pressure are more likely to have difficulty with erections, little medical research has been done in women. This is because in men, the question is more simple and focused: Can the man get and sustain an erection, or can't he?

With women, there are more questions and fewer ways to evaluate them: the level of desire, ability to remain excited, degree of vaginal lubrication, and frequency of orgasms, as well as overall satisfaction with the relationship.

One trend in researching women's sexual problems is to determine which conditions known to cause erectile problems in men, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, also create problems for women. Apparently, high blood pressure does not discriminate when it comes to sexual dysfunction, according to a study published in the June issue of the American Journal of Hypertension.

In this study of premenopausal women, those with high blood pressure were more likely to report a decrease in vaginal lubrication, less frequent orgasm, and more frequent pain with intercourse than were women with normal blood pressure, the authors write. But this doesn't mean that sexual difficulties are a tip-off to heart disease, co-author Carol Lewis, MSW, MPH, tells WebMD.

"So many medical conditions can affect sexual functioning, and sexual difficulties can also be unrelated to other aspects of a patient's health," she says. "However, patients need to report problems with sexual functioning, as they would any other aspect of their health."

Lewis and colleagues found a link connecting women's sexual problems to high blood pressure, whether or not the blood pressure was being treated, she tells WebMD. Therefore, women on blood pressure medication should report any changes "whether or not they think the change is drug-related," she says. Lewis is an epidemiologist and behavioral scientist at the Research Institute of Bassett Healthcare in Cooperstown, N.Y.

Today on WebMD

blood pressure
Symptoms, causes, and more.
Learn the causes.
Compressed heart
5 habits to change.
Mature man floating in pool, goggles on head
Exercises that help.
heart healthy living
Erectile Dysfunction Slideshow
Bernstein Hypertension Affects Cardiac Risk
Compressed heart
Heart Disease Overview Slideshow
thumbnail for lowering choloesterol slideshow
Heart Foods Slideshow
Low Blood Pressure