Obese men who have weight loss surgery might see their testosterone levels – and their sex drive – improve in a month, according to new research.
It’s not unusual for obese men to have low testosterone (also called hypogonadism).
Testosterone is the hormone behind sex drive and masculine traits. In all men, some testosterone naturally converts to estrogen, which keeps bones healthy. The conversion takes place in fat cells, and since obese men have more fat, more of their testosterone becomes estrogen. As a result, their testosterone levels decline.
Past studies have found that weight loss surgery can help improve testosterone levels, but scientists weren’t sure how quickly this happens.
In this study, researchers analyzed the results of 29 obese men with an average age of 41 years. In this group, 52% had low testosterone.
All of the men underwent a sleeve gastrectomy, which reduces the size of the stomach.
One month later, their testosterone levels were measured again. At this point, only 12% had low levels, and the men’s average levels increased by 85%. In fact, their average level was higher than that of a comparison group of non-obese men. The surgical group also saw their estradiol (estrogen) levels fall by 35%.
The researchers explained that larger studies are still needed.
The findings were presented in May 2018 at the European Congress on Obesity in Vienna, Austria.
Eurekalert via European Association for the Study of Obesity
“Study finds that weight loss after obesity surgery can rapidly restore testosterone production and sex drive in morbidly obese men”
(Press release. May 25, 2018)
Healio – Endocrine Today
“In severe obesity, bariatric surgery induces rapid reversal of hypogonadism”
(May 30, 2018)
International Society for Sexual Medicine
“Why does obesity lead to low testosterone?”
(January 11, 2018)