Hyperlipidemia and sexual function in premenopausal women

J Sex Med. 2009 Jun;6(6):1696-1703. doi: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2009.01284.x. Epub 2009 Apr 23.


Introduction: No reported studies exist assessing the relationship between sexual function and hyperlipidemia in women.

Aim: In this study, we assessed the domains of sexual function in a representative sample of sexually active premenopausal women with hyperlipidemia, but without cardiovascular disease, as compared with an age-matched female population without hyperlipidemia.

Methods: To be enrolled in the study, women had to meet at least one of the following criteria for the diagnosis of hyperlipidemia: low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels >160 mg/dL; high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels <50 mg/dL; or triglyceride levels >150 mg/dL. Lipid parameters were assessed and verified on blood taken at least twice in the hospital during the screening phase. Four hundred forty-one premenopausal women with hyperlipidemia were compared with 115 age-matched premenopausal women without hyperlipidemia.

Main outcome measures: We used the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) for assessing the key dimensions of female sexual function.

Results: The two groups were well matched for age and smoking prevalence. Compared with women of the control group, women with hyperlipidemia had reduced mean global FSFI score (22.8 +/- 6.8 vs. 29.4 +/- 4.9, P < 0.001). Individual analysis of the different domains showed that women with hyperlipidemia reported significantly lower arousal, orgasm, lubrication, and satisfaction scores than control women. Based on the total FSFI score, 51% of women with hyperlipidemia had scores of 26 or less, indicating sexual dysfunction, as compared with 21% of women without hyperlipidemia (P < 0.001). Based on a more conservative analysis including women under the lower quartile of the distribution of FSFI score, 32% of women with hyperlipidemia had scores of 23 or less, as compared with 9% of women without hyperlipidemia (P < 0.001). Multiple regression analysis identified age, body mass index, HDL-cholesterol and triglycerides as independent predictors of FSFI score.

Conclusions: Women with hyperlipidemia have significantly lower FSFI-domain scores as compared with age-matched women without hyperlipidemia. HDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels were independently associated with the FSFI score.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperlipidemias / blood
  • Hyperlipidemias / epidemiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Premenopause / physiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sexual Dysfunctions, Psychological / diagnosis
  • Sexual Dysfunctions, Psychological / epidemiology*
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Triglycerides / blood
  • Young Adult


  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Triglycerides