Tuesday, October 30, 2012.
Obese women who manage to shift the pounds may experience a higher sex drive, although there is no evidence that fertility is improved.
Such is the suggestion of a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.
Researchers at Penn State College of Medicine examined the effects of Roux en Y gastric bariatric bypass surgery on reproductive function in women.
Some 29 morbidly obese women were enlisted in the study, identified by the adverse effect their size could have on their health.
Daily urine samples were used to determine ovulation frequency and quality over the course of the menstrual cycle.
According to the findings, ovulation rates remained high at one, three, six, 12 and 24 months after surgery - much to the surprise of the scientists.
While the quality of the ovulation remained unchanged, the researchers noted a shortening of eight to nine days of the follicular phase - the first half of the menstrual cycle.
As the study explained, obesity is linked to longer menstrual cycles because of a lengthening of the follicular phase - the reason for which remains unknown.
It was found that sexual function, as measured by the Female Sexual Function Index, was increased independent of changes in hormone levels and body composition.
In particular, sexual desire and arousal were heightened the most, which the scientists suggested may have led to more sexual activity.
Professor of obstetrics and gynaecology Richard Legro said: "In terms of ovulation, there doesn't appear to be a window after surgery where fertility is improved.
"Other factors may be involved with infertility in obese women, such as diminished sexual desire and thus less intercourse."
Half of women in England are expected to be obese by 2050, as well as 60 per cent of men and a quarter of children.