Raised cholesterol levels, or hyperlipidemia, have been linked to erectile dysfunction in men, as the build-up of fats in blood vessel walls can reduce blood flow to erectile tissue.
Since some aspects of female sexual arousal also rely on increased blood flow to the genitals, Katherine Esposito and her colleagues at the Second University of Naples in Italy compared sexual function in premenopausal women with and without hyperlipidemia, reports New Scientist.
In the study, researchers found that females with hyperlipidemia reported significantly lower arousal, orgasm, lubrication, and sexual satisfaction scores than women with normal blood lipid profiles.
And 32 per cent of the women with abnormal profiles scored low enough on a scale of female sexual function to be diagnosed with FDS, compared with 9 per cent of women without normal levels. However, women's sexual desire was not affected by hyperlipidemia.
In another research, Annamaria Veronelli at the University of Milan, Italy, and her colleagues found that female sexual dysfunction was also associated with diabetes, obesity and an underactive thyroid gland.
"These two papers suggest that there are strong connections between women's sexual arousal and organic diseases in the same way that men's sexual problems arise," says Geoffrey Hackett, a urologist at the Holly Cottage Clinic in Fisherwick, UK.
"This is currently not even considered in women," the expert added.
The study has been published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.