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Hypertension/High Blood Pressure Health Center

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High Blood Pressure Harms Women's Sexual Function, Too


The investigators identified 224 women who were in heterosexual relationships who either had or did not have mild high blood pressure. The women completed a self-administered questionnaire and participated in a telephone interview.

There were no differences between medicated and unmedicated women, or by the type of medication used to treat their blood pressure. Current smokers were more likely to report problems with orgasms than were nonsmokers.

"Patients should be aware of sexual difficulties and open to discussing them with their doctors, especially if they have hypertension," Daniel C. Fisher, MD, tells WebMD. He is a cardiologist at New York University Medical Center in New York City.

"If your sex life is not what you want it to be, or even if you don't know what it should be, talk to your physician. Several health problems can affect your sexual function," Steven C. Kaplan, MD, tells WebMD. Kaplan is a professor of urology at Columbia University and researcher in sexual function at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center. He was not involved in the study.

Vital Information:

  • High blood pressure has been known to affect sexual function in men, but new research shows it also may cause sexual problems for women.
  • Women with high blood pressure are more likely to report a decrease in vaginal lubrication, less frequent orgasm, and more frequent pain during intercourse, compared to women with normal blood pressure.
  • Experts advise anyone with sexual problems to talk to their physicians, as it may be related to a variety of medical conditions.

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