Gastric Bypass Improves Sexual Function in Men

By McNamara, Damian | Clinical Psychiatry News, July 2008 | Go to article overview

Gastric Bypass Improves Sexual Function in Men


McNamara, Damian, Clinical Psychiatry News


ORLANDO -- Gastric bypass surgery leads to significant improvement in the sexual dysfunction experienced by many morbidly obese men, according to a recent study.

The effects of surgical weight loss on sexual function are not well studied, although dramatic improvements in diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease risk have been associated with gastric bypass surgery in previous studies.

"We have an increasing problem with obesity worldwide," said Dr. Ira Sharlip, moderator of a press briefing at the annual meeting of the American Urological Association. "One of the problems that arise[s] with morbid obesity is sexual dysfunction." Dr. Sharlip practices internal medicine and urology in San Francisco.

The decrease in sexual function can be considerable. "A male--obese or morbidly obese--has the same amount of sexual dysfunction as a male 20 years older," study coauthor Dr. Jason A. Smith said during the briefing.

Participants had substantially lower sexual function scores before surgery than did normal-weight men, said Dr. Smith, a urology resident at Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia. The researchers used function scores from a reference group of normal-weight men who participated in a previous study (J. Urol. 2007;177:1438-42).

"So far, only 20% of patients seeking [gastric bypass surgery] treatment are men," Dr. Smith said. "We think there are more social pressures for women. We believe sex life is important to men, so this will be an incentive for men to seek gastric bypass."

Dr. Smith, with lead author Dr. Ramsey M. Dallal, a bariatric surgeon in Elkins Park, Pa., and their associates, assessed sexual function among 95 morbidly obese men before and after Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery. Their mean body mass index was 51 kg/[m.sup.2] and the mean age was 48 years. No participant was taking a phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitor (PDE5) in hibitor.

Participants rated their preoperative and postoperative sexual function using the 11-question Brief Sexual Inventory. …

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