Women who underwent gastric band surgery to lose weight reported significant improvements in urinary function and quality of life after the operation, according to research published in the January issue of the urology journal BJUI.
However, men undergoing the procedure did not enjoy the same significant urinary function improvements as the women. They also reported that erectile function was slightly worse after surgery, unlike studies following non-surgical weight loss where sexual function actually improved.
Researchers surveyed 176 patients - 142 women and 34 men - who had undergone laparoscopic gastric banding surgery (LGB) at a single centre in Newcastle, Australia.
"We were keen to see what effect weight loss surgery had had on the patients' sexual and urinary functions, as these are common problems in people who are very obese" says study lead Dr Weranja Ranasinghe from the Department of Urology at Austin Hospital in Melbourne.
"Just under two-thirds of the women (65 per cent) and 24 per cent of the men had some urinary incontinence, while the majority of the men (83 per cent) had erection problems before surgery."
Estimates suggest that 1.6 billion adults worldwide are overweight and 400 million are obese. In 2007-8, 68 per cent of men and 55 per cent of women in Australia were overweight or obese. In Europe alone, obesity accounts for up to eight per cent of healthcare costs and up to 13 per cent of deaths.
"Gastric band surgery is increasingly being used to tackle the most severe cases of obesity, because carrying excess weight increases the risk of life-threatening conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes" says Dr Ranasinghe.
"However it is still regarded as a last resort by many surgeons, after non-surgical options like diet and exercise have failed, and there is limited data to show its effect on sexual and urinary function."
All the patients w
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