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Bariatric surgery improves female sexual function

Thu, 07/23/2020 - 12:50
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Bariatric surgery can improve female sexual function decreasing the risk of sexual dysfunction presence and the advantages are associated with the total BMI loss, according to researchers from Medical University of Warsaw and the Military Institute of Medicine, Warsaw, Poland. The outcomes were featured in the paper, ‘The effect of bariatric surgery on female sexual function: a cross-sectional study’, published in Scientific Reports.

It is known that there is an inverse association between BMI and sexual functioning (defined as persistent, recurrent problems with sexual response, desire, orgasm or pain that distress the patient or affect her relationship). In the study, the investigators sought to analyse the possible association between bariatric surgery and female sexual function.

In total, 1,001 patients who underwent at least one bariatric surgery (sleeve gastrectomy (SG), Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) or adjustable gastric band (AGB)) between 1999 and 2017 were contactedvia telephone and invited to complete a questionnaire which consisted of self-designed demographic questions, questions about pregnancies which occurred after the surgery and a polish version of the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI)22.

Each patient was contacted at least three times in the 48h period before considered unapproachable. Patients completed the questionnaires anonymously via an online questionnaire, paper version of the questionnaire or through a telephone conversation with a medical doctor. The method of questionnaire completion depended on patient’s preferences. For the analysis, 623 completed the questionnaire (response ratio was 62.3%).


The mean age at the point of questionnaire completion was 39.3±9.1 years and median time from surgery to survey completion was 29.3 months. The majority, 65.6% of the patients underwent sleeve gastrectomy, following 26.3% underwent Roux-en-Y gastric bypass. The mean percentage excess weight loss (%EWL) was 72.9±30.4% and 80.4% of the patients reached the clinical goal of <50%EWL.

The total FSFI score, as well as each subdomain, improved significantly after surgery. The prevalence of low score (<26.55) was significantly lower after the surgery in comparison to the status prior the procedure (36.3% vs. 57.5%; p<0.001). There were no differences regarding the number of sexually active patients before and after the surgery (75.3% vs. 76.1%; p<0.63).

There were observed statistically significant, positive correlations between BMI decrease and each subdomain of FSFI score as well as a total score. Negative correlations between age and each subdomain of FSFI, with the exception of the desire subdomain, were also observed.

“The improvement of sexual function is a certain additional benefit from bariatric surgery. Weight loss surgery seems to decrease risk of sexual dysfunction presence and the advantages are associated with the total BMI loss,” the researchers concluded. “Younger age may predispose to higher increase in sexual function quality resulting from bariatric surgery.”

To access this paper, please click here