Bariatric surgery
Bariatric surgery improves women's sex lives (Reuters)

Women who have weight loss surgery have "dramatically improved" sex lives as a result of the operation, researchers have found.

A study by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania looked at how sexual function is affected by bariatric surgery, where the size of the stomach is reduced through a gastric band or the removal of a portion of the stomach.

Published in the journal JAMA Surgery, the study found weight loss surgery provided significant improvements to sexual function, reproductive hormones and psychological wellbeing.

Over half of women seeking bariatric surgery show signs of sexual dysfunction and psychological stress as a result.

"For many people, sex is 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," said lead author David Sarwer.

"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."

Fertility improvements

Researchers studied 106 women with an average body mass index of 44.5 prior to surgery. By the second year, they had lost an average of 33.5% of their original body weight.

Women reported vastly improved sex lives across all the categories, with improvements reported in desire, arousal, lubrication and overall satisfaction. Women also reported improvements in body image, symptoms of depression and relationship satisfaction.

Women who had the poorest quality sex life before surgery showed the biggest improvements a year after the operation.

As well as increased satisfaction, researchers also found some evidence that fertility was improved following surgery.

"These results suggest that improvements in sexual health may be added to the list of benefits associated with large weight losses seen with bariatric surgery," the study said.

"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."

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