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Men who undergo bariatric or weight loss surgery may suffer semen abnormalities and reduced fertility, a study has warned.

A meta-analysis of studies in which men underwent Roux- en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) procedures found frequent sperm aberrations and lower fertility rates despite improvements in weight, androgen levels, and sexual quality of life following the procedure.

Gastric bypass surgery involves dividing stomach into a small upper pouch and a much larger lower "remnant" pouch and then rearranging the small intestine to connect to both.

Researchers, including those from Harvard Medical School in the US, compared the long-term effects of weight loss following RYGB among a group of sexually active men attempting to conceive with a partner to the semen parameters and fertility of obese men who did not undergo bariatric surgery and to a control group of lean men.

They identified elevated levels of the oestrogen hormone estradiol and deficient vitamin D as factors that could negatively impact semen and fertility among the RYGB group."This study is one important piece in solving the puzzle of male infertility," said Edward Lin, from Emory University School of Medicine in the US.

"The challenge is to see if correcting hormonal and micro-nutrient aberrations are enough to reverse male infertility," said Lin. The research was published in the journal Bariatric Surgical Practice and Patient Care.


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