There has been growing recognition of the interconnectedness between various aspects of women’s health. One particularly intriguing area of research that has emerged is the intricate relationship between women’s sexual health and their cardiovascular well-being. Studies suggest that understanding and addressing women’s sexual health may have implications for assessing their risk for heart disease.

While the association between sexual health and heart health may seem tangential, research suggests they are closely linked. Both sexual and cardiovascular health share common risk factors, including hormonal changes, age and body weight. 

The benefits of sexual activity

Numerous studies have highlighted the positive impact of an active sex life on cardiovascular health. Regular sexual activity has been associated with improved circulation, better sleep, decreased anxiety, stress reduction and reduced blood pressure. These effects are likely associated with hormonal shifts during intimacy, specifically neurotransmitters, oxytocin and a reduction in cortisol.

The influence of hormones

Hormonal fluctuation over the lifespan (menarche, menstruation, pregnancy, breastfeeding and menopause) influence both cardiovascular and sexual health. Estrogen, a hormone playing a leading role in female reproductive health, is also known to have cardioprotective effects on the arteries. Likewise, the drop in natural estrogen levels during both natural or medical/surgical menopause influences increased cardiovascular risk in women.

Birth Control and Heart Health

Hormonal birth control with estrogen is known to increase the risk for cardiovascular complications including strokes, heart attacks and blood clots; specifically in women already at higher risk. While discussing the need for contraception, a full cardiovascular history and assessment should be considered while deciding on the safest form of birth control.

Common risk factors

There are several shared risk factors for the development of cardiovascular disease and sexual dysfunction. These include high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, poor sleep, unhealthy eating patterns, sedentary lifestyle and high stress levels. Recognizing and addressing the intersection of these risk factors can positively impact both sexual and cardiovascular health.

Research continues to illuminate the connections between women’s sexual health and heart health. To optimize women’s heart health in a holistic way we must recognize the intersection between sexual well-being and cardiovascular wellness. Sexual health should be assessed as part of a comprehensive health history, as a healthy sex life can be a wonderful indicator of a healthy cardiovascular system, while improvement in cardiovascular conditions can improve sexual wellness.

Health Vectors by Vecteezy