Low vitamin D impairs Women's Sexual Function

Author: Emily Seddon   Date Posted:26 September 2016 

Vitamin D - the sexiest vitamin?

Which is the sexiest vitamin? A recent study says the answer for women could be…. Vitamin D!

Vitamin D deficiency is associated with female sexual dysfunction (FSD), according to the study published in International Urology and Nephrology. The researchers found that women diagnosed with FSD had significantly lower Vitamin D levels than healthy controls, and that all symptoms of FSD were significantly associated with Vitamin D deficiency.

Vitamin D3 deficiency is associated with female sexual dysfunction in premenopausal women.


The Issue:

Women’s sexuality is complex and is affected by numerous different biological, psychological, social and emotional factors.

Female sexual dysfunction (FSD) is when a woman experiences symptoms relating to impairments of desire, arousal, lubrication, orgasm, satisfaction and pain. Experiencing any single one of these can elicit a diagnosis, however they must also be a source of distress for the woman to qualify as a sign of FSD.


The Study:

The study involved 58 women with FSD and 50 healthy women (controls). Ages ranged between 22 and 51. After evaluation for depression, a series of hormones were tested along with serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 (Vitamin D).

The healthy controls had an average Vitamin D status of 26.3 nmol/L while the vitamin D status of those with FSD was 15.8 nmol/L.


In Australia, medical doctors use the following levels for diagnosis:

Normal: Above 50 nmol/L.
Mild deficiency: 25-49 nmol/L.
Moderate deficiency: 12.5-24 nmol/L.
Severe deficiency: <12.5 nmol/L.

Every aspect of the Female Sexual Function Index (the index used to diagnose FSD in the study) was associated with deficient levels of vitamin D, but not significantly correlated with hormone levels.

The study concluded by noting that although the study had some limitations (such as the small number and narrow age group), “the main finding of this study is that deficiency of vitamin D3 may impair the sexual functions in women of reproductive age.”



The answer?

Unfortunately for women suffering FSD, the answer isn’t as straight forward as taking a Vitamin D supplement. However, this study indicates that investigating serum Vitamin D levels with your doctor may be a good place to begin.

Vitamin D plays an important role in hormonal production. It assists in the production and regulation of testosterone and oestrogen (low levels can affect libido and lubrication, respectively). Vitamin D is also involved in bone development and strength, cell growth, immune system function and nervous system regulation, all of which can impact sexual health.

Other things that may be affecting sexual responses in women include:

  • Thyroid, adrenal, pituitary disorders.
  • Conditions such as diabetes, sickle cell anaemia.
  • Nerve damage.
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease, vaginitis, endometriosis.
  • Prolapsed uterus.
  • Certain medical procedures.
  • Certain pharmaceutical medications.

If you are concerned you may be experiencing FSD, make an appointment to see your doctor.


Written by Emily Seddon
Emily Seddon

Emily (BHSc Naturopathy) is a qualified naturopath with a love of science. Growing up with a hippy mum and dad, Emily grew used to thinking outside the box for her own health. She has since completed a degree in Health Science, majoring in Naturopathy, combining that passion for healthy living with scientific and traditional evidence to help others to live happy and healthy lives.

She loves using herbal and nutritional medicine to treat ailments and lives by the philosophy of "there is no such thing as too much tea."

Leave a comment

Comments have to be approved before showing up