Review: Sex-Specific Aspects in the Bariatric Treatment of Severely Obese Women

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Apr 15;17(8):2734. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17082734.


This systematic literature review aims to point out sex-specific special features that are important in the bariatric treatment of women suffering from severe obesity. A systematic literature search was carried out according to Cochrane and Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic review and Meta-Analysis Protocols (PRISMA-P) guidelines. After the literature selection, the following categories were determined: sexuality and sexual function; contraception; fertility; sex hormones and polycystic ovary syndrome; menopause and osteoporosis; pregnancy and breastfeeding; pelvic floor disorders and urinary incontinence; female-specific cancer; and metabolism, outcome, and quality of life. For each category, the current status of research is illuminated and implications for bariatric treatment are determined. A summary that includes key messages is given for each subsection. An overall result of this paper is an understanding that sex-specific risks that follow or result from bariatric surgery should be considered more in aftercare. In order to increase the evidence, further research focusing on sex-specific differences in the outcome of bariatric surgery and promising treatment approaches to female-specific diseases is needed. Nevertheless, bariatric surgery shows good potential in the treatment of sex-specific aspects for severely obese women that goes far beyond mere weight loss and reduction of metabolic risks.

Keywords: bariatric aftercare; bariatric surgery; obesity; sex-specific treatment; women/females.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Bariatric Surgery*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Obesity
  • Obesity, Morbid* / surgery
  • Pregnancy
  • Quality of Life
  • Weight Loss