For all you men out there - a bulging waist not only spells higher risk of blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes but also damages your sexual life and causes frequent urination, reveals a recent study.
The study by New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center is the first to comprehensively show that obesity in men affects not just their hearts and metabolism, but also their sexual and urinary health.
Researchers also surveyed the participants about their sexual health and found that 74.5 percent of men with the largest waists reported erectile dysfunction, compared with 50 percent of men in the middle group and 32 percent of men with smaller waists. Ejaculation problems followed the same pattern - 65 percent, 40 percent, and 21 percent, respectively.
"The findings demonstrate that obesity in men -- part of a growing global epidemic -- affects their well-being in profound ways," says senior study investigator Steven A. Kaplan, professor of urology at Weill Cornell.
"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. Quality of life issues, such as sexual and voiding health, can be affected as well in drastic ways," says Kaplan, according to a Weill Cornell statement.
In fact, additional findings, conducted since this study was completed, show reducing the waist size by 2.5 inches may lead to measurable improvement in sexual dysfunction and frequent urination. "Measuring a man's waistline is easy, non-invasive and does not require extensive testing," Kaplan adds.
The research team studied 409 men diagnosed with lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) at the Institute for Bladder and Prostate Health at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell. The goal of the study was to see if obesity was linked to LUTS, a common problem affecting older men.
Previous smaller studies have suggested body weight could be linked to LUTS, but this new study was designed to be the most definitive and comprehensive to date, Kaplan says.
Of the participants enrolled in the study ranging from 40-91 years of age, 37.5 percent had a waist circumference of less than 36 inches, 33.5 percent of men had waists that were between 36-40 inches, and 29 percent of men had waists greater than 40 inches.
The investigators found that a larger waist size was linked to more frequent urination: 39 percent of men with the biggest waistlines urinated more than eight times in 24 hours, compared to 27 percent of men in the middle range and 16 percent of men with the smallest waists.
The same patterns were seen for night-time urination: 44 percent of men with the biggest waists had to urinate more than twice at night, compared to 29 percent of men in the middle-sized group, and 15 percent of the slimmer men.
Kaplan hypothesizes that vascular or blood flow changes to the pelvis, along with alterations in hormone levels due to obesity, may be the major culprit in sexual and urinary dysfunction.