THURSDAY, April 5 (HealthDay News) -- Many women on dialysis for kidney failure may suffer sexual problems, according to a new observational study from Italy.

The researchers examined questionnaires completed by 659 female dialysis patients in Europe and South America that showed 84 percent of all women and 55 percent of sexually active women receiving this therapy experienced sexual problems.

The study, published online April 5 in the Clinical Journal of the American Society Nephrology, also showed that women with a partner were less likely to report sexual dysfunction. But of those living without a partner and not on a waiting list for transplantation, 96 percent reported sexual problems.

Older women, women taking diuretics (water pills), women who had reached menopause, those with less education and those with diabetes or symptoms of depression were more likely to experience sexual difficulties.

"With this study, we shed light on the highly frequent condition of female sexual dysfunction in women on dialysis; this deserves attention and further study, since specific interventions are not yet available to address it," said study author Dr. Giovanni Strippoli, in a journal news release.

The study, which was run by the Mario Negri Sud Consortium in Chieti, Italy, received an unconditional independent research grant from the drug company Amgen.

More information

The U.S. National Institutes of Health has more about dialysis.