REVIEW: Metabolic Syndrome and Sexual (Dys)function


Ricardo Borges, MD, Serviço de Urologia—Centro Hospitalar de Coimbra. Quinta dos Vales. 3041-801 S. Martinho do Bispo. Coimbra, Portugal. Tel: (+351) 964 550 144; Fax: (+351) 239 800 098; E-mail:


Introduction.  The general worldwide increase in metabolic syndrome (MS) among most populations may result in more individuals with sexual dysfunction.

Aim.  To provide an update on clinical and experimental evidence regarding sexual dysfunction in patients with MS from both sexes and treatment modalities.

Methods.  A comprehensive literature review was performed using MEDLINE with the MeSH terms and keywords for “metabolic syndrome,”“obesity,”“female sexual dysfunction,”“erectile dysfunction,”“androgen deficiency,”“weight loss,” and “bariatric surgery.”

Main Outcome Measures.  To examine the data relating to sexual function in both men and women with MS, its relationship and the impact of treatment.

Results.  The MS is strongly correlated with erectile dysfunction, hypogonadism (predictors of future development of MS), and female sexual dysfunction. Few studies have been addressed in the treatment of these dysfunctions in the special setting of MS, other than the observational effects on sexual function of individual risk factors correction. This can be a result of their understudied etiopathogeny. Nonsurgical weight loss has been shown to improve sexual function (with the mainstay on sedentarism prevention), whereas the efficacy of bariatric surgery in this respect, which has been suggested by some preliminary evidence, needs to be further confirmed by adequate clinical trials.

Conclusion.  As the global incidence of MS increases, more individuals may experience sexual dysfunction and a systematic evaluation should be emphasized in this patient population, in order to identify those who are in need of intervention. Borges R, Temido P, Sousa L, Azinhais P, Conceição P, Pereira B, Leão R, Retroz E, Brandão Á, Cristo L, and Sobral F. Metabolic syndrome and sexual (dys)function. J Sex Med 2009;6:2958–2975.