Original Article

International Journal of Impotence Research (2007) 19, 486–491; doi:10.1038/sj.ijir.3901555; published online 2 August 2007

Mediterranean diet improves sexual function in women with the metabolic syndrome

K Esposito1, M Ciotola1, F Giugliano2, B Schisano1, R Autorino2, S Iuliano1, M T Vietri3, M Cioffi3, M De Sio2 and D Giugliano1

  1. 1Division of Metabolic Diseases, Department of Geriatrics and Metabolic Diseases, University of Naples SUN, Naples, Italy
  2. 2Division of Urology, University of Naples SUN, Naples, Italy
  3. 3Department of General Pathology, University of Naples SUN, Naples, Italy

Correspondence: Dr K Esposito, Division of Metabolic Diseases, Policlinico Universitario, Piazza L Miraglia 2, Naples, Italy. E-mail: katherine.esposito@unina2.it

Received 21 February 2007; Revised 19 March 2007; Accepted 21 March 2007; Published online 2 August 2007.



In the present study, we tested the effect of a Mediterranean-style diet on sexual function in women with the metabolic syndrome. Women were identified in our database of subjects participating in controlled trials evaluating the effect of lifestyle changes and were included if they had a diagnosis of female sexual dysfunction (FSD) associated with a diagnosis of metabolic syndrome, a complete follow-up in the study trial and an intervention focused mainly on dietary changes. Fifty-nine women met the inclusion/exclusion criteria; 31 out of them were assigned to the Mediterranean-style diet and 28 to the control diet. After 2 years, women on the Mediterranean diet consumed more fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grain and olive oil as compared with the women on the control diet. Female sexual function index (FSFI) improved in the intervention group, from a mean basal value of 19.7plusminus3.1 to a mean post-treatment value of 26.1plusminus4.1 (P=0.01), and remained stable in the control group. C-reactive protein (CRP) levels were significantly reduced in the intervention group (P<0.02). No single sexual domain (desire, arousal, lubrication, orgasm, satisfaction, pain) was significantly ameliorated by the dietary treatment, suggesting that the whole female sexuality may find benefit from lifestyle changes. A Mediterranean-style diet might be effective in ameliorating sexual function in women with metabolic syndrome.


Mediterranean diet, metabolic syndrome, female sexual dysfunction

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