Conditions

Expanding Waistlines Increases Risk of Sexual and Urinary Problems

Men with large waists are significantly more likely to have problems in the sack, warn scientists.
Men with large waists are significantly more likely to have problems in the sack, warn scientists. Lucas Jackson/Reuters

Men with large waists are significantly more likely to have problems in between the sheets, warn scientists.

Not only does a greater waistline increase the risk of sexual dysfunction, researchers from New York's Weill Cornell Medical Center who studied more than 400 men with urinary problems also found that a larger stomach circumference also produced greater problems in the bathroom as well.

Researchers found that three in four overweight men suffered from erectile dysfunction compared to only one in three of those with slim waists.

Men with larger waistlines were also more likely to suffer from disrupted sleep because 44 percent had to get out of bed twice to urinate compared to just 16 percent of their slimmer counterparts.

The findings, published in the British Journal of Urology International, revealed that heavier men were more likely to suffer from a variety of health conditions like cardiovascular and metabolic diseases.

"The findings demonstrate that obesity in men -- part of a growing global epidemic -- affects their well-being in profound ways," researcher Dr. Steven A. Kaplan, director of the Iris Cantor Men's Health Center and chief of the Institute for Bladder and Prostate Health at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell, said in a news release.

"We have to think of the body in a much more holistic way. What we eat can have devastating consequences on more than just our hearts," Kaplan said. "Quality of life issues, such as sexual and voiding health, can be affected as well in drastic ways."

The latest findings also suggests that losing weight can help men overcome sexual dysfunction or urinary problems, issues that were not previously directly linked to body mass, Kaplan added.

Results from the study showed that cutting back the waist circumference by just 2.5 inches could significantly improve sexual health.

While researchers are still unsure as to why obesity leads to sexual and urinary dysfunction, they hypothesize that obesity may trigger sexual problems by altering hormone levels that would lead to vascular or blood flow changes in the pelvis.

The participants in the study ranged from 40 to 91 years old, and about a third had a waist circumference of less than 36 inches, a third had a waist that measured 36 to 40 inches and the rest had waists that measured greater than 40 inches.

Researchers also linked greater waist circumference to an increased risk of high blood pressure, cholesterol, coronary artery disease and type 2 diabetes.

Kaplan said that the latest findings offer health professionals an easy way to gauge which male patients might be experiencing sexual or urologic problems.

"Measuring a man's waistline is easy, noninvasive and does not require extensive testing," Kaplan said.

"This adds even more importance to the recommendation that men should maintain a healthy weight for their overall well-being."

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