Sex After Bariatric Surgery
Sex is not just the main way to make a baby, but a very efficient solution when it comes to stress relief, experiencing pleasure, and gaining confidence. It is also a significant way to express your love and gratitude for your partner.
So, there is no surprise why one of the concerns in patients is how is sex going to be after bariatric surgery, will it be better or worse? And finally, when can they start their sexual activity?
Even though the effect of obesity on the sexual quality of people’s lives differs, no one can deny that most people’s sexual satisfaction is influenced by their weight and body image.
In this blog post, I will give you the answers to your most common questions about sex after weight loss surgery including:
– The effects of obesity on your sex life
– How weight loss surgery improves your sexual life
– When you can resume having sex after weight-loss surgery
– Effects of bariatric procedure on women’s fertility
Does Obesity Affect My Sexual Function?
Morbid obesity is one of the main causes that can make one’s sexual life suffering. It not only noticeably decreases your desire for sex but your pleasure as well to an extent that you might be willing to avoid sex altogether.
A cross-sectional study shows there is a higher risk of erectile dysfunction (ED) among the overweight population, which is about 30-90% more than normal-weight people. Also, having a body mass index of 30 or higher causes tripled chances of experiencing sexual mishaps in the bed.
Another recent research found no proof for sexual dysfunction causing extreme obesity. Yet strong evidence was found that proved obesity is one of the main causes of sexual dysfunction. The same study emphasized the positive impact of weight loss on the sexual functioning of obese persons.
Moreover, according to the researcher, psychologist, and director of behavioral health at the Duke Diet & Fitness Center at Duke University Medical center, dr. Martin Binks, morbidly obese people face challenges in their sexual life 25 times more than other people.
According to Binks, obesity is not just a physical function issue, but a “psychosocial one: that seriously affects “body image and performance anxiety.” That is why the body image dissatisfaction obese patients suffer from reduces their desire for sex.
So, if you have a BMI of more than 30 and you’re facing difficulties in your sexual life, don’t feel isolated. There are millions of others undergoing what you’re going through right now. And believe me when I say it’s not the end of the world. Sex should and can be pleasant for you as well.
Changes in Sex After Bariatric Surgery
Libido, or sex drive, increases a lot after weight loss surgery, which is one of the main improvements after surgery. This is not just a claim, but an observation that can be proven using the results from various studies.
A new study in the journal JAMA Surgery reported a noticeable boost in half of the patients’ libido in addition to an increase in their sexual activity.
Also, there is another study that analyzed the effects of both non-surgical and surgical treatments of obesity on both male and female participants’ sexual dysfunction. The results revealed that in the case of functioning among women, the weight loss gained after bariatric surgery was related to the resolution of some of the conditions that caused sexual dysfunction.
However, among male objects, no matter how they’ve lost weight, the results boosted their sexual functionality. We can conclude that weight-loss surgery is directly related to the improvement of sexual experience for both men and women.
Another question that comes to mind is that do the reduction in excess weight and BMI cause the enhancement of sexual life? The answer is yes. According to a 2-year study conducted by Ronette L. Koloktin, a decline in the patients’ BMI resulted in meaningful improvements in their quality of life, the sexual aspect in particular.
In this systematic review, the number of patients in this study was 187 and they all received regular follow-up sessions with their dietitian and bariatric surgeon in addition to getting their personalized diets, medication, and exercise plan. Also, their BMI data were collected every 3 months.
Part of this improvement is because of the hormonal changes weight loss causes. We know that extreme obesity causes malfunctions in your hormones, sexual hormones are not an exception to this fact. Also, as your body image improves, your self-confidence and esteem increase, and then guess what? The better you feel about your body, the better you perform in bed.
Also, according to the JAMA Surgery network, obese patients who have undergone bariatric surgical procedures, have a higher chance of improvement and renewing their romantic life like starting a new relationship or getting married.
There’s no direct answer as to when exactly you can have sex following weight loss surgery. Just as the period of post-surgery recovery varies from person to person, so does the waiting period for when you can engage in sexual activity again.
How Long After Bariatric Surgery Can I Have Sex?
Even though there is no definite answer to this question and it varies for each obese patient, the most common answer is to avoid having sex for at least 2 weeks after surgery. Although in some cases this process may take 3 to 6 weeks. Most patients give themselves about a month to restart their sexual activity.
But if you still feel like your body needs more time, don’t push yourself at all. Listen to your body carefully and consult with your doctor when you want to begin having sex again.
Pain and discomfort during sex or other strenuous physical activities are signs that you should stop. Also, you might feel some hormonal imbalance, especially at the beginning, which is normal.
I know that you cannot wait to enjoy every second of your new life, but you have to start taking in your adventures gradually. If you find any comfortable sex positions, stick to them. Do not put your body in an uncomfortable situation.
And if you feel like you cannot do it at all, just postpone it. Be kind with your body as it has been not completely healed yet. After all, you’ve undergone surgery. You can talk about it with your partner and work on a cooperative agreement. Sex is about the pleasure of two people, not the suffering of one.
One more point. Beware that the recovery time for having sex again differs depending on your type of surgery. For instance, patients who undergo sleeve gastrectomy or gastric bypass surgery need more time in comparison with the ones who experience simpler procedures like gastric balloon.
In the first few weeks after weight loss surgery, sexual life should be carried out with less intensity. That is why most surgeons, recommend lifting fewer weights or avoiding intense physical activities until the incisions are thoroughly healed.
During the early recovery period, less intense sexual and physical activity is recommended; If you feel pain during the sexual position, it is best to change the position or stop the activity altogether.
Gradual improvement in satisfaction and performance
After weight loss surgery, while you’re starting to enjoy sexual activities, you should follow a strict diet for the first 3 months. In this process, rapid weight loss is experienced and the diet begins to return to normal.
This has a positive effect on your sexual power and performance. By the end of the first year, you will become much fitter and stronger.
Effect of Bariatric Surgery on Women’s Fertility
Some of the most important causes of infertility are the results of obesity, including PCOS. So, it is not surprising that female patients’ fertility boosts after weight loss surgery. In case you want to read about this topic in detail, check out my article on the effects of bariatric surgery on women’s fertility and how to have a safe pregnancy in your post-operative life.
In most cases, obese women get back their fertility even faster than they lose excess body fat. so, I strongly advise you to pay attention to your birth control methods in order not to become pregnant while you’re still not prepared.
But what you should know in a nutshell is unless your weight becomes stable, which is mostly about two years after the procedure, most doctors do not recommend pregnancy.
If you give your body the necessary time to lose a sufficient amount of its extra weight, you will experience a sweet pregnancy, exactly what you have always wanted. This was, the damage to the fetus and you, of course, will be prevented.