Sexual dysfunction in women is now linked to low resting heart rate variability, according to a study performed by psychologists from The University of Texas at Austin.
Previous studies have proved that low resting heart are variability (HRV) is linked to a range of mental health conditions like anxiety, depression, alcohol dependence, as well as erectile dysfunction in men.
By using the Female Sexual Function Index, which considered domains such as pain, satisfaction and desire, researchers analyzed HRV and self-reported data from 72 women aged 18-39 to evaluate overall sexual functioning. The researchers found that women with below average HRV were more likely to experience difficulties with sexual arousal.
With recent support from the Food and Drug Administration on what could be the first-ever approved drug for the treatment of female sexual dysfunction, the researchers believe that HRV could be used as an index of drug-related changes in sexual function.
Stanton noted that “Because evidence shows that low HRV is a potential risk factor for sexual dysfunction, physicians have a simple, low-cost and nonintrusive method to measure a woman's risk for sexual dysfunction. It makes it easier to talk about something a little bit more private and get women the help that they need."
The study has been published in the journal Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback.