Prevalence and degree of sexual dysfunction in a sample of women seeking bariatic surgery

Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Miriam Hospital/Weight Control and Diabetes Research Center, Providence, Rhode Island, USA.
Surgery for Obesity and Related Diseases (Impact Factor: 4.07). 08/2009; 5(6):698-704. DOI: 10.1016/j.soard.2009.07.004
Source: PubMed


Sexual functioning has been shown to be impaired in women who are obese, particularly those seeking bariatric surgery. However, most previous studies evaluating sexual function in these populations have not used validated measures. We used the validated Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) to assess the prevalence of female sexual dysfunction (FSD) in a sample of >100 women evaluated for bariatric surgery.
The FSFI was administered to reportedly sexually active women during their preoperative evaluation. The scores for the individual FSFI domains (desire, arousal, lubrication, orgasm, satisfaction, and pain) ranging from 0 (or 1.2) to 6 were summed to produce a FSFI total score (range 2-36). A FSFI total cutoff score of <or=26.55 was used to identify participants with FSD. The participants' FSFI total and domain scores were compared with previously published norms available for women diagnosed with female sexual arousal disorder and healthy controls.
Of the 102 women, 61 (59.8%) had FSFI total scores of <or=26.55, indicative of FSD. Older age and menopause were associated with FSD. Compared with published norms, bariatric surgery candidates had FSFI domain scores that were lower than those of the control group (all P values < 0.0001) but greater than those of the female sexual arousal disorder group (all P values < 0.0001), except for desire, for which the scores were similar.
Women seeking bariatric surgery are clearly a population with substantial sexual function impairment, with 60% of participants reporting FSD. These findings highlight the need to initiate routine assessment of sexual functioning in this population and examine whether the weight loss after bariatric surgery contributes to a reversal of FSD.

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