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Sexual life after weight loss surgery

Published:January 09, 2017DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.soard.2017.01.014

      Abstract

      Background

      Previous research revealed a relationship between higher body mass index (BMI) and lower sexual functioning. However, the role of psychosocial variables, such as body image, in this relationship has been understudied.

      Objective

      To assess sexual life before and after weight loss surgery (WLS) and examine the role of body image and BMI in these changes.

      Setting

      WLS center at a major urban community hospital.

      Methods

      327 participants (275 women and 52 men) who underwent either laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery (n = 225) or laparoscopic adjustable gastric band (n = 102) were assessed on measures of sexual life preoperatively and at 1, 3, 6, 12, and 24 months after surgery. The number of completers were n = 126 at 1-month follow-up, n = 84 at 3 months, n = 86 at 6 months, n = 84 at 12 months, and n = 55 at 24 months.

      Results

      There was a significant increase in quality of sexual life over time, F(5,479.5) = 24.3, P<.001. Greater body image dissatisfaction predicted lower quality of sexual life when controlling for BMI, F(1,580.3) = 36.9, P<.001, but BMI did not predict quality of sexual life when controlling for body dissatisfaction, F(1,566.6)<.01, P = .94. A mediation analysis revealed that the relationship BMI had with sexual life was through its influence on body dissatisfaction.

      Conclusion

      Participants experienced improvements in quality of sexual life over time after WLS, and decrease in body image dissatisfaction was the strongest predictor of these improvements. These results underscore the importance of body image, independent of weight loss, in postsurgical sexual life.

      Keywords

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