Bariatric surgery leads to better sex


Female patients undergoing bariatric surgery may expect improvements in sexual function, according to one study.



Bariatric surgery may be the answer to increasing sexual function in obese women, according to a new study published in JAMA Surgery. The study is one of the few that have looked at sexual health after this surgery.

Researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania looked at a cohort of 106 women who belonged to phase 2 of the Longitudinal Assessment of Bariatric Surgery between 2006 and 2012. Median body mass index in the cohort was 44.5 (41.4–49.7). Eighty-five of the women underwent Roux-en-Y gastric bypass and 21 underwent laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding.

The Female Sexual Function Index was used to assess sexual functioning, and hormone levels were measured through blood assay. All the women completed questionnaires about their quality of life, body image, depressive symptoms, and marital adjustment.

Over the course of the first postoperative year, the women lost a mean 32.7% (95% confidence interval [CI], 30.7%–34.7%) of initial body weight and had lost a mean 33.5% (95% CI, 31.5%–35.6%) at postoperative year 2. At 2 years, overall sexual function significantly improved, as did arousal, lubrication, and satisfaction. Hormones of interest also showed significant changes.

On the questionnaires, the cohort stated that they had seen improvements in quality of life, body image, and depressive symptoms after the first year of surgery and the improvements were maintained during the second postoperative year.

The researchers concluded that improvement in sexual health should be added to the list of health benefits resulting from bariatric surgery.


Sarwer DB, Spitzer JC, Wadden TA, et al. Changes in sexual functioning and sex hormone levels in women following bariatric surgery. JAMA Surg. 2013. [ePub ahead of print.]


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