Bariatric Surgery Resolves Sexual Dysfunction In Women With Morbid Obesity

Well now this is a cool story.

First off, I can’t imagine anyone is surprised that morbidly obese women are more likely to be sexually dysfunctional. OR that losing weight would help, OR that such drastic weight loss would bring on “psychological changes.” DUH.

Still, we know how these science types get excited when they can prove the obvious. So here’s the story:

Bariatric Surgery Resolves Sexual Dysfunction In
Women With Morbid Obesity

Bariatric surgery not only helps people lose weight, it can resolve or significantly improve female sexual dysfunction (FSD), a prevalent and complex condition that adversely affects women’s health and quality of life, according to a new study presented today at the 27th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS).

Researchers from The Miriam Hospital’s Weight Control and Diabetes Research Center and the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University studied 54 sexually active women before and after having either laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding (LAGB) or Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery. Women in the study had an average body mass index (BMI) of 45 before surgery, meaning they were about 100 pounds or more overweight.

Before surgery, 63 percent of the women had FSD as measured by the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI), a standardized test used to assess sexual function. Using the same FSFI measurement, by six months after surgery, 68 percent no longer had FSD. Nearly all women in the study reported significant improvements in all aspects of sexual function, including desire, arousal, lubrication, orgasm, satisfaction and less or no pain during or after intercourse. Gastric bypass surgery patients lost an average of 60 percent of their excess weight while LAGB patients lost an average of almost 35 percent of their excess weight within six months.

“Sexual functioning appears to improve quickly and dramatically after bariatric surgery and it doesn’t seem to matter if a patient undergoes gastric bypass or laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding,” said Dale Bond, Ph.D., study co-author and assistant professor of psychiatry and human behavior at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. “Clearly significant weight loss plays a role, but further research is needed to determine the extent to which improvements in body image, obesity-related diseases, hormonal mechanisms, and emotional health contribute to better sexual functioning.”

It is estimated that up to 43 percent of women are affected by some form of sexual dysfunction with higher rates linked to advancing age, decreasing estrogen levels, and medical conditions including obesity, Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. In this prospective study, women with morbid obesity had a 25 percent higher prevalence of sexual dysfunction than the general female population and the level of sexual dysfunction was significantly worse.

People who are morbidly obese are generally 75 to 100 or more pounds overweight, have a BMI of 40 or more, or a BMI of 35 or more with an obesity-related disease, such as Type 2 diabetes, heart disease or sleep apnea. According to the ASMBS, more than 15 million Americans have morbid obesity and in 2009 an estimated 220,000 people had some form of bariatric surgery. The most common methods of bariatric surgery are laparoscopic gastric bypass and laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding (LAGB).

In addition to Dr. Bond, co-authors of the study were Rena R. Wing, Ph.D. and Sivamainthan Vithiananthan, MD from The Miriam Hospital and The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University; Harry C. Sax, Esq. from The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University; G.D. Roye, MD and Beth A. Ryder from Rhode Island Hospital and The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University; and Dieter Pohl and Jeannine Giovanni, MD from Roger Williams Hospital.

About the ASMBS
The ASMBS is the largest organization for bariatric surgeons in the world. It is a non-profit organization that works to advance the art and science of bariatric surgery and is committed to educating medical professionals and the lay public about bariatric surgery as an option for the treatment of morbid obesity, as well as the associated risks and benefits. It encourages its members to investigate and discover new advances in bariatric surgery, while maintaining a steady exchange of experiences and ideas that may lead to improved surgical outcomes for morbidly obese patients. For more information about the ASMBS, visit www.asmbs.org

Sounds like a pretty good weight loss surgery benefit to me.

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One Response to Bariatric Surgery Resolves Sexual Dysfunction In Women With Morbid Obesity

  1. Hello Lisa!

    This is an interesting study indeed. I remember I saw this article on PubMed earlier this year when it was published along with another article about pregnancy after weight loss surgery.