Weight-loss surgery can get the blood flowing

Published: 13 February 2017 at 12:19

Man using callipers to pinch his belly fat

Research reveals patients regain urinary and erectile function within a month

Men with severe obesity who undergo lifesaving bariatric surgery start to regain urinary and erectile function within a month, according to a new study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.

Research carried out by Dr Maha Aleid of King Faisal Specialist Hospital Research Centre, in collaboration with Anglia Ruskin University and University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, surveyed 30 men with obesity over the age of 30 who were undergoing bariatric surgery – used to treat people who are severely obese when other treatments, such as lifestyle changes, haven’t worked. Of these, 18 reported erectile dysfunction before the operation. 

The patients were then surveyed a month, three months and six months after surgery, as their Body Mass Index (BMI) decreased and each reported rapid improvement in urogenital function, unexpectedly starting as quickly as a month afterwards.

Urogenital function was also tested before and after the surgery and the same rapid improvements were found.

Selim Cellek, Professor of Health and Biomedicine at Anglia Ruskin University, said: 

“Previous studies found that patients who have undergone bariatric surgery show improvement in erectile and urinary function within 19 months, but this study shows that these functions can in fact start to improve far quicker than we expected.” 

“Obesity is a complex disorder that has a negative effect on urinary and erectile function, which can be extremely tough to live with. For people with severe obesity, bariatric surgery leads to marked sustained weight reduction, decreases mortality and improves many of the co-morbidities that are associated with obesity. 

“This study shows that bariatric surgery also leads to rapid improvement in urogenital function and these findings warrant further investigation.”