Weight-loss surgery boosts patient’s sex life

April 13th, 2009 - 5:25 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, April 13 (IANS) Does weight-loss surgery boost a patient’s sex life or libido? Yes, it does, especially when he is suffering from obesity-related erectile dysfunction or ED.
Obese men with ED have low levels of testosterone, and lower still if their girth is greater. Excess abdominal fat, cardiovascular disease, high blood lipids and type-2 diabetes have been associated with ED.

“This is a landmark study that shows sexual health is clearly linked to overall health,” said Irwin Goldstein, who directs the sexual medicine programme at San Diego’s Alvarado Hospital.

However, similar benefits are not as clear for women. Obese women do report more sexual impairment than obese men. Published studies indicate this may be more related to low self-esteem, unsatisfactory relationships, social stigma, and other psychological issues.

“A woman’s libido can be affected by many factors, such as the stress of caring for a sick relative,” Goldstein said. “There is no evidence yet to indicate that weight-loss surgery automatically makes sex better.”

He said when it comes to sexual activity, body size doesn’t always matter. Thin, healthy people may be perceived as having the best body image and sexual function, but that is not always the case.

“There are plenty of sexually active heavy people and sexually inactive thin people,” Goldstein said. “I see them everyday in my practice.”

Then there’s the new reflection in the mirror. A weight loss of 100 pounds or more may leave folds of excess skin. Plastic surgery is effective, but it is costly and not always covered by health insurance.

Psychologist Lisa Steres, who provides counselling for bariatric (removal of fat) surgery patients at Alvarado Hospital, says it can take years for a patient’s brain to catch up with the new body, said an Alvarado Hospital release.

“Body image greatly impacts libido, particularly in women,” Steres said. “Young women typically have better body image, and some women are sexually confident at any size.”

These findings were recently published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine.

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