Weight loss surgery improves sexual function in men

By Will Boggs, MD

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Sexual dysfunction that commonly occurs in morbidly obese men improves after weight loss surgery, according to a new study.

“Sexual dysfunction should be considered one of the numerous potentially reversible complications of obesity,” the study team concludes.

Dr. Ramsey M. Dallal, from Albert Einstein Healthcare Network, Philadelphia, and colleagues measured the degree to which 97 morbidly obese men suffered from sexual dysfunction and then analyzed the change in sexual function after substantial weight loss following gastric bypass surgery.

Before surgery, the morbidly obese men had significantly lower sexual function relative to that of a previously published reference control group of men before surgery, the investigators report.

After losing an average of two thirds of their excess weight, men experienced significant improvements in sexual function, with the amount of weight loss predicting the degree of improvement.

“We estimate that a man who is morbidly obese has the same degree of sexual dysfunction as a nonobese man about 20 years older,” the investigators report. “Sexual function improves substantially after gastric bypass surgery to a level that reaches or approaches age-based norms.”

“Sexual function is an important aspect to quality of life and is now well documented to be a reversible condition,” Dallal explained.

“We are interested in examining sexual function in females, as well as understanding the mechanism of obesity-related sexual dysfunction,” Dallal added.

SOURCE: Journal of the American College of Surgeons, December 2008.

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