Bariatric Surgery Improves Sexual Function in Obese Patients

David Goitein, MD, Alex Zendel, MD, Lior Segev, MD, Rostislav Sourinovich, MD, Dov (Douglas) Zippel, MD. Surgery C Department, Chaim Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, Israel.

Introduction: Research suggests that obesity is linked to specific sexual problems including lack of sexual desire, poor performance and avoidance of sexual encounters. The aim of our study was to systematically evaluate the effect of bariatric surgery on patient’s sexual function in comparison to their preoperative status.

Materials and methods: The bariatric service of the Chaim Sheba Medical Center maintains a prospective database of all bariatric surgery patients. 80 patients were polled with a questionnaire on the day before surgery, and again one year post surgery on their sexual function. Females were polled with the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) and males with the Brief Sexual Function Inventory (BSFI). Full compliance with the questionnaire was achieved in 48 patients who represent the cohort of the study.

Results: The 48 patients include 34 females and 14 males, with a mean age of 40.2 (+/- 10.2). Mean preoperative BMI was 43.4 (+/- 5.3) and post-operative BMI was 31.4 (+/- 4.9). 36 patients underwent sleeve gastrectomy and 12 underwent gastric bypass. 9 patients were diabetic prior to surgery. For females, the FSFI index rose significantly from 24 to 30 (p=0.006), indicating increased sexual performance and satisfaction. For males there was also an increase in the BSFI from 40.2 to 43.9, although it did not reach statistical significance (p=0.084). However the general satisfaction index within the BSFI for males was significantly increased (p=0.0006).

Conclusions: Our small study shows that in addition to the well documented metabolic benefits of weight loss following bariatric surgery, there is also clear improvement in patient’s sexual function, both physical and psychosexual. There is not a lot of data in the literature regarding the effect of bariatric surgery, especially sleeve gastrectomy, on sexual function. However, this study shows that improved sexual function, can be verified, and this gives further credence to the idea that bariatric surgery has benefits over a wide range of physical, psychological and social parameters.

Domain Pre-op P Post-op
Desire 3.6+-1.2 0.18 4.2+-1.1
Arousal 3.8+-1.8 0.025 4.9+-1.2
Lubrication 4.4+-2 0.011 5.5+-0.7
Orgasm 4.2+-2 0.046 5.2+-0.9
Satisfaction 4+-1.9 0.001 5.4+-1
Pain 3.8+-2.5 0.027 5.1+-1.4
Total 24+-9.6 0.006 30+-4.5


Domain Pre-op P Post-op
Desire 6.1+-1.6 0.018 7.8+-2.7
Erection 4.5+-0.8 0.053 12+-3.6
Ejaculation 9+-1.3 0.315 8.3+-2.6
Perception 11.3+-3.7 0.42 11.8+-4
General satisfaction 2.8+-0.8 0.0006 4.1+-1.1
Total 40.2+-9.2 0.084 43.9+-12



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