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It is already known that the benefits of bariatric surgery are myriad, including sustained weight loss and reduced cardiovascular risk. Now, a new study has found that bariatric surgery can also improve a woman's sexual health.
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania examined factors such as women's sexual functioning and hormone levels, as well as their quality of life, body image and symptoms of depression.
For the purpose of the study, which was published in JAMA Surgery earlier this month, the researchers followed 106 female bariatric surgery patients. Of those women, 85 had undergone a gastric bypass, while the other 21 had gastric banding procedures.
The women in the study had lost, on average, 33.5 per cent of their pre-surgery weight two years after bariatric surgery. They also reported additional benefits, including improvements in body image, increased sexual satisfaction and sexual functioning, and improved reproductive hormone levels.
"Two years following surgery, women reported significant improvement in overall sexual functioning and specific domains of sexual functioning: arousal, lubrication, desires and satisfaction,” the authors of the study wrote.
Dr David Sarwer, the lead author of the study, said that for many people sex was 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," Dr Sarwer said.
"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."
According to the researchers, the results suggest that improved sexual health can be added to the list of benefits associated with bariatric surgery and resulting weight loss.
“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,” they wrote.
“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.”
IMAGE CREDIT: mozzercork