Blog | Friday, August 3, 2012

QD: News Every Day--Losing the gut can help men's erectile dysfunction, frequent urination

Men who lose 2.5 inches from their waist circumference improve sexual dysfunction and reduce frequent urination, researchers reported.

Waist circumference also offers physicians an easy metric to gauge which male patients might be experiencing sexual or urologic dysfunction, the researchers added. (For more on how to properly measure waist circumference, read this article from the January 2008 issue of ACP Internist.)

The study, published in the August issue of the British Journal of Urology International, examined 409 men ages 40 to 91 diagnosed with lower urinary tract symptoms at the Institute for Bladder and Prostate Health at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell.

Among the men, 37.5% had a waist circumference of less than 36 inches, 33.5% of men had waists that were between 36 to 40 inches, and 29% of men had waists greater than 40 inches.

39% of men with the biggest waistlines urinated more than eight times in 24 hours, compared to 27% of men in the middle range and 16% of men with the smallest waists.

The same patterns were seen for nighttime urination. 44% of men with the biggest waists had to urinate more than twice at night, compared to 29% of men in the middle-sized group, and 15% of the slimmer men.

The researchers also surveyed the participants about their sexual health and found that 74.5% of men with the largest waists reported erectile dysfunction, compared with 50% of men in the middle group and 32% of men with the smaller waists. Ejaculation problems followed the same pattern: 65%, 40% and 21%, respectively.

Researchers said that vascular or blood flow changes to the pelvis, along with changes in hormone levels due to obesity, may be the major culprit.

John La Puma, MD, FACP, commented online that visceral fat cells in men convert the testosterone in their testes into estrogen, which can shrink their testes.

He cited his own research, in which men in a 24-day program designed to help them lose their gut reduced waist circumference by 3.3 inches. Over half of men that could improve their erectile function and their morning erection frequency did so.