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Many Experience Improvement in Sex Life After Bariatric Surgery

Last Updated: February 21, 2019.

About half of women and men who report some level of dissatisfaction with their sexual life prior to bariatric surgery experience clinically meaningful improvement during five years of follow-up, according to a study published online Feb. 20 in JAMA Surgery.

THURSDAY, Feb. 21, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- About half of women and men who report some level of dissatisfaction with their sexual life prior to bariatric surgery experience clinically meaningful improvement during five years of follow-up, according to a study published online Feb. 20 in JAMA Surgery.

Kristine J. Steffen, Pharm.D., Ph.D., from North Dakota State University in Fargo, and colleagues calculated the percentage of adults with impairment in sexual functioning who experienced improvements after bariatric surgery. Participants completed assessments before the procedure and annually for five years after surgery; 2,036 participants completed one or more follow-up assessments (1,431 at year 5).

The researchers found that 69.7 percent of 1,456 women and 74.3 percent of 409 men were not satisfied with their sexual life before surgery. Of these, 56.0 and 49.2 percent of women and men, respectively, experienced clinically meaningful improvements at one year. During further follow-up, these percentages did not differ significantly. Overall, 59.9 percent of 1,490 women and 65.8 percent of 406 men reported physical limitations to sexual activity at baseline. Among these participants, there was a decrease in the percentage of those experiencing improvement in this domain during follow-up; however, 73.6 and 67.7 percent of women and men, respectively, continued to report improvements at year 5.

"Given the demonstrated improvement of sexual function after bariatric surgery and the association of sexual function with quality of life, clinicians should be encouraged to address sexual function with all patients with obesity," write the authors of an accompanying editorial.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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