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PLoS One. 2018 Oct 23;13(10):e0205934. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0205934. eCollection 2018.

A lifestyle intervention improves sexual function of women with obesity and infertility: A 5 year follow-up of a RCT.

Wekker V1,2,3,4, Karsten MDA1,2,3,4,5, Painter RC1,2, van de Beek C1,2,4, Groen H6, Mol BWJ1,7, Hoek A5, Laan E8, Roseboom TJ1,2,3,4.

Author information

1
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Amsterdam UMC, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
2
Amsterdam Reproduction and Development Research Institute, Amsterdam UMC, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
3
Department of Clinical Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Bioinformatics, Amsterdam UMC, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
4
Amsterdam Public Health Research Institute, Amsterdam UMC, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
5
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Groningen, University Medical Centre Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands.
6
Department of Epidemiology, University of Groningen, University Medical Centre Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands.
7
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Monash Medical Centre, Monash University, Clayton, Australia.
8
Department of Sexology and Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynecology, Amsterdam UMC, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Obesity and infertility are associated with poorer sexual function. We have previously shown that a lifestyle intervention in women with obesity and infertility reduced weight and improved cardiometabolic health and quality of life, which may positively affect sexual function. We now report on sexual function 5 years after randomization.

METHODS AND FINDINGS:

In total 577 women, between 18-39 years of age, with infertility and a BMI ≥29 kg/m2 were randomized to a six-month lifestyle intervention targeting physical activity, diet and behavior modification or prompt infertility care as usual. Intercourse frequency and sexual function were assessed with the McCoy Female Sexuality Questionnaire (MFSQ), 5.4±0.8 years after randomization. 550 women could be approached for the follow-up study, of whom 84 women in the intervention and 93 in the control group completed the MFSQ. Results were adjusted for duration of infertility, polycystic ovary syndrome and whether women were attempting to conceive. The intervention group more often reported having had intercourse in the past 4 weeks compared to the control group (aOR: 2.3 95% CI 0.96 to 5.72). Among women reporting intercourse in the past 4 weeks, the intervention group (n = 75) had intercourse more frequently (6.6±5.8 vs. 4.9±4.0 times; 95% CI 0.10 to 3.40) and had higher scores for vaginal lubrication (16.5±3.0 vs. 15.4±3.5; 95% CI 0.15 to 2.32) and total 'sexual function' score (96.5±14.2 vs. 91.4±12.8; 95% CI 0.84 to 9.35) compared to the control group (n = 72). Sexual interest, satisfaction, orgasm and sex partner scores did not differ statistically between the groups. The intervention effect on sexual function was for 21% mediated by the change in moderate to vigorous physical activity.

CONCLUSION:

A six-month lifestyle intervention in women with obesity and infertility led to more frequent intercourse, better vaginal lubrication and overall sexual function 5 years after the intervention. (Trial Registration: NTR1530).

Conflict of interest statement

I have read the journal’s policy and the authors of this manuscript have the following competing interests: The department of Reproductive Medicine of the UMCG received an unrestricted educational grant from Ferring pharmaceuticals BV, The Netherlands. Ben Willem J. Mol reports consultancy for ObsEva, Merck and Guerbet. All other authors have no competing interests to declare. This does not alter our adherence to PLOS ONE policies on sharing data and materials.

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