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This weight loss surgery has an extra perk for men

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Weight loss surgery and testosterone

Overweight and obesity are linked to low testosterone in men. This weight loss procedure, known as a sleeve gastrectomy, not only can help men lose weight, but it comes with an added perk of boosting testosterone levels.


New study results presented at the 2015 Clinical Congress of the American College of Surgeons found men with low testosterone regained normal levels twelve months after receiving sleeve gastrectomy. The procedure also comes with additional health benefits.

What is sleeve gastrectomy?

The procedure is one of the preferred types of surgeries for weight loss because it:reduces the size of the stomach to lead to feelings of fullness, doesn't interfere with absorption of nutrients compared to gastric bypass, results in lower levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin. and is minimally invasive

Health boosts for men from weight loss go beyond raising testosterone

If normal testosterone isn't enough to consider surgery for weight loss, you might want to consider the following additional health perks found for men studied after gastric sleeve bypass.

  • Increased muscle mass
  • Better heart health
  • Lower risk of heart disease
  • No need for testosterone replacement therapy - your body replenishes the hormone on its own
  • Slower aging

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Study co-author John Morton, MD, MPH, FACS, chief, bariatric and minimally invasive surgery, Stanford University School of Medicine explains low testosterone raises the risk of a condition known as sarcopenia - a condition that causes muscle loss that accelerates the aging process.

Low testosterone is diagnosed at levels below 300 ng/dL. In the study, men undergoing the weight loss surgery experience an average increase in testosterone levels from 295 to 423 ng/dL.

"More men should seek surgical care for obesity as they carry more risk from their weight--low testosterone causes further weight gain, increases cardiac risk, and decreases quality of life. And sleeve gastrectomy can improve all of those comorbidities," Dr. Morton said in a media release.

Sleeve gastrectomy has now become the preferred weight loss surgery and was introduced ten years ago. The study is the first to measure how the procedure that removes seventy-five percent of the stomach can improve quality of life for men.

Being overweight or obese stimulates estrogen production that competes with testosterone, Morton explains. "The nice thing about what this process does is it creates an autotransfusion of testosterone from yourself. This process occurs because you are losing weight, and therefore losing that estrogen, causing your natural testosterone stores to rise."

Morton suggests more men consider weight loss surgery instead of opting for testosterone replacement therapy. The research is the first to show sleeve gastrectomy for weight loss can help men regain normal testosterone levels. Low testosterone not only impacts sexual health. It can also lead to more weight gain, heart disease and loss of muscle for men who are overweight or obese.

Updated 10/6/2015