Bariatric Surgery Turns On Testerone Switch

Testerone levels associated with weight

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News)  "The Biggest Loser" ranch have been holding out on us. The TV show's contestants have already reported that diabetes can disappear after significant weight loss. What they haven't told us?

Obese men who lose a bunch of weight get their sexual groove back on. The show should call this side effect of weight loss "The Biggest Winner". A new study shows low testosterone levels and erectile dysfunction in morbidly obese men is reversed by weight loss.

"Obese men should lose weight to raise testosterone levels."

Study co-author Jean-Paul Thissen, MD, PhD, a professor at the University of Louvain in Brussels reports that men who are morbidly obese  have a high prevalence of low testosterone and erectile dysfunction. Weight loss is associated with sexual functioning's return. 

Thissen's study focused on 75 obese men by having their hormones tested, measuring body fat and assessing via questionnaire signs of male hormone deficiency. Erectile dysfunction and low sex drive were also assessed. 

Of these 75 patients, 17 underwent gastric bypass surgery. These 17 were assessed two more times: three months post-surgery and 12 months post-surgery. 

Initial assessment of the 75 patients indicated that 54 were male hormone deficient and 27 had low testosterone levels. The higher the men’s body mass index, waist circumference and body fat, the lower their testosterone levels.

Thissen observes as 36 percent of these obese men have low testosterone levels indicates a potential causal relationship between obesity and low testosterone.

The 17 men who had undergone weight-loss surgery had their testosterone levels increase significantly and were within the normal range. The weight loss caused the low testosterone levels to normalize.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
June 3, 2011
Last Updated:
June 7, 2011