Assessing Sexual Function in Obese Women Preparing for Bariatric Surgery

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Obesity has become a modern epidemic, increasingly affecting the general population worldwide. Obese people are vulnerable to a variety of co-morbidities, including cardiovascular and pulmonary disease, osteoarthritis, diabetes, cancer and psychiatric conditions, that not only diminish life expectancy but also impair quality of life. Research has shown that obesity is further linked to sexual dysfunction, although relevant studies are limited and further investigation is needed.


We assessed the sexual function of 60 obese women scheduled to undergo bariatric surgery and 50 healthy controls matched by age, education and marital status. All participants were administered the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI). Additionally, participants completed the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS).


Obese women reported significant impairment on most domains of sexual function, including sexual desire, arousal, lubrication, orgasm, and satisfaction, compared to healthy controls. The observed sexual impairment was associated with BMI but was not entirely attributed to the presence of anxiety or depression. Conclusion: Obese women complain of significant sexual impairment. Obesity-related sexual dysfunction appears to be a complex condition linked to a range of social, psychological and biological factors. Clinicians are encouraged to evaluate routinely sexual function in this patient population in order to detect those who are in need of intervention.

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