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Weight gain is a common adverse event of menopause, and obesity becomes the most problematic disease of modern times. There is no need to detail the widely known cardiovascular and metabolic consequences of obesity. This week’s commentary will highlight the link between increased weight or body mass index (BMI) and aspects of sexuality. Many studies have addressed the potential reasons for such associations and the role of psychological, hormonal or metabolic factors in weight-related sexuality disturbances. Simoncig Netjasov and colleagues from Serbia investigated the hormonal profile of 73 menopausal women (age range 50–65 years) [1]. They were divided into obese (mean BMI 35.9 kg/m2) and non-obese controls (mean BMI 22.5 kg/m2). The McCoy Female Sexuality Questionnaire (MFSQ) was completed by the participants. The results showed that obese women had less frequent pain during sexual intercourse, on the one hand, but, on the other hand, they reported less enjoyable sexual intercourse, they were less excited and had less frequent orgasms than controls, and tended to be less satisfied with their partner. While testosterone levels were similar in both groups, its value in the obese women showed a positive correlation with arousal, frequency of orgasm and vaginal lubrication. Although estradiol levels were higher in the obese group, there were no correlations between estradiol and the sexuality parameters.

Author(s)

  • Amos Pines
    Sackler School of Medicine, Tel-Aviv University, Tel-Aviv, Israel

Citations

  1. Simoncig Netjasov A, Tancic-Gajic M, Ivovic M, Marina L, Arizanovic Z, Vujovic S. Influence of obesity and hormone disturbances on sexuality of women in the menopause. Gynecol Endocrinol 2016;32:762-66
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27871199
  2. Kolotkin RL, Zunker C, Ostbye T. Sexual functioning and obesity: a review. Obesity (Silver Spring) 2012;20:2325-33
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22522887
  3. Palacios S, Castano R, Grazziotin A. Epidemiology of female sexual dysfunction. Maturitas 2009;63:119-23
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19482447
  4. Nackers LM, Appelhans BM, Segawa E, Janssen I, Dugan SA, Kravitz HM. Associations between body mass index and sexual functioning in midlife women: the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation. Menopause 2015;22:1175-81
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25803669
  5. Ostbye T, Kolotkin RL, He H, et al. Sexual functioning in obese adults enrolling in a weight loss study. J Sex Marital Ther 2011;37:224-35
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21512941
  6. Kolotkin RL, Binks M, Crosby RD, Ostbye T, Gress RE, Adams TD. Obesity and sexual quality of life. Obesity (Silver Spring) 2006;14:472-9
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16648619
  7. Dennerstein L, Lehert P. Women’s sexual functioning, lifestyle, mid-age, and menopause in 12 European countries. Menopause 2004;11:778-85
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15543029
  8. Martelli V, Valisella S, Moscatiello S, et al. Prevalence of sexual dysfunction among postmenopausal women with and without metabolic syndrome. J Sex Med 2012;9:434-41
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22023878
  9. Sarwer DB, Steffen KJ. Quality of life, body image and sexual functioning in bariatric surgery patients. Eur Eat Disord Rev 2015;23:504-8
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26608946
  10. Wingfield LR, Kulendran M, Laws G, Chahal H, Scholtz S, Purkayastha S. Change in sexual dysfunction following bariatric surgery. Obes Surg 2016;26:387-94
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26487651
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