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Improved body image and sex drive after bariatric surgery

The researchers also report that two years after surgery, woman also saw improvements in most reproductive hormone levels.

Bariatric surgery not only results in years of sustained weight loss but improves body image and increased sexual satisfaction, according to a study, Changes in Sexual Functioning and Sex Hormone Levels in Women Following Bariatric Surgery, published in JAMA Surgery.

"For many people, sex is an important part of quality of life. The massive weight losses typically seen following bariatric surgery are associated with significant improvements in quality of life," said the study's lead author Dr David Sarwer, professor of Psychology in Psychiatry and Surgery in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. "This is one of the first studies to show that women also experience improvements in their sexual functioning and satisfaction, as well as significant improvements in their reproductive hormones."

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania conducted a study to ascertain whether bariatric surgery affects women's sex drive and satisfaction. They examined sexual functioning and sex hormone levels, as well as quality of life, body image and depressive symptoms.

They report that during these years of sustained weight loss, the women reported additional benefits, including improvements in body image and increased sexual satisfaction.

The researchers also report that two years after surgery, woman also saw improvements in most reproductive hormone levels.

"These results suggest that improvements in sexual health may be added to the list of benefits associated with large weight losses seen with bariatric surgery,” the authors note. “Two years following surgery, women reported significant improvement in overall sexual functioning and specific domains of sexual functioning: arousal, lubrication, desires and satisfaction."

The American Psychological Association states that obesity and depression often go hand in hand, obesity in women is associated with a 37% increase in major depression.

The study included 106 women who underwent bariatric surgery. The women lost an average of 32.7 percent of their initial body weight in the first year and an average 33.5 percent at the second postoperative year.

“Our study provides new information on changes in sexual functioning, reproductive hormone levels, and psychosocial functioning in women in the first 2 years after bariatric surgery,” the authors conclude. “These results suggest that improvements in sexual health may be added to the list of benefits associated with large weight losses seen with bariatric surgery. Future studies should investigate if these changes endure over longer periods of time, and they should investigate changes in sexual functioning in men who undergo bariatric surgery.”

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