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Better Sex Life May Be a Weight-Loss Surgery Bonus

Effects were long-lasting, and both men and women benefited, researchers say

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 4, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Following weight-loss surgery, activity in the bedroom may pick up as the pounds fall away, a new study finds.

The research suggests the effect may be long-term, and similar for both men and women.

"Improvements in sex life are an additional benefit that goes beyond weight loss," said Dr. John Morton, president of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS). He was not involved in the new study.

The findings were to be presented Wednesday in Los Angeles at Obesity Week, an annual meeting hosted by ASMBS and The Obesity Society.

The study was led by Dr. Kristine Steffen, associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences at North Dakota State University in Fargo. Her team tracked outcomes for more than 2,000 people -- nearly 80 percent women -- who were surveyed about their sex lives for five years after they underwent weight-loss (bariatric) surgery.

One year after the procedure, patients typically reported increased sexual desire and activity, greater satisfaction with sexual functioning, and fewer health-related limitations in their sexual activity, the study authors said.

The benefit appeared to continue long-term. Five years after the surgery, all measures of sexual functioning remained much improved compared to before surgery, Steffen's team reported. At the five-year point, about 52 percent of women and 58 percent of men remained moderately-to-very satisfied with their sexual function -- compared with about 31 percent and 28 percent, respectively, before surgery.

Similarly, about 39 percent of women and 55 percent of men said they were more sexually active after the surgery than they had been before, the findings showed.

Depression was often a key factor, the study authors noted, with both men and women typically having improved sex lives after surgery if they had also achieved improvements in depression symptoms.

"Limited research has suggested that bariatric surgery is associated with short-term improvements in sexual function," Steffen said in a meeting news release. "This study shows these improvements are long-lasting."

Experts note that findings presented at medical meetings are typically considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has more about weight-loss surgery.

SOURCE: Obesity Week, news release, Nov. 4, 2015

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