Weight loss surgery improves more than the waistline


Study finds long-term improvements in sexual function following bariatric procedures. Andrew Masterson reports.


For about half of patients, bariatric surgery brought multiple benefits.

For about half of patients, bariatric surgery brought multiple benefits.

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For about 50% of patients, reported improvements in sexual function following bariatric surgery persist long term, a US study reveals.

Over the past decade, there have been numerous studies that found upswings in sexual performance and levels of desire among obese men and women in the months following weight-loss surgery.

However, until now there has been no longer-term research to determine whether such improvements persist beyond the immediate post-surgical period.

A study published in the journal JAMA Surgery brings good news, at least for some. Questionnaire-based follow-ups of 2215 bariatric surgery patients over five years found that about half of them – both men and women – reported continuing improvements and satisfactions with sexual function.

The research was conducted by a team led by Kristine Steffen of the North Dakota State University.

Before their surgery, 70% of the female cohort and 74% of the males reported that they were not satisfied with their sex lives. Of those, in the 12 months following their operations, 60% of women and 66% of men reported improvements in function and frequency of desire.

The percentage reporting good news in the bedroom declined in subsequent years, but by no means wholly so.

“Approximately half of women and men who were not satisfied with their sexual life prior to bariatric surgery experienced improvements in satisfaction in five years of follow-up,” the authors conclude.

The method of bariatric surgery did not affect the outcomes.

In a perhaps not unrelated result, Steffen and colleagues also found many people reported a decrease in depressive symptoms and the use of antidepressant medications – an area they say warrants further investigation.

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  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20039972
  2. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/264434010_The_Effect_of_Bariatric_Surgery_on_Patient_HRQOL_and_Sexual_Health_During_a_1-Year_Postoperative_Period ]
  3. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamasurgery/fullarticle/2724862?guestAccessKey=a305b0ac-2da1-4809-a46a-1197d63ac14d&utm_source=JAMA Network&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=ftm_links&utm_content=tfl&utm_term=022019
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