frequent urination

  1. Obesity linked to erection and urinary problems

    Big bellies lead to problems below the belt

    Tell a man his big belly will lead to heart disease, diabetes, hormonal problems, and even dementia down the road, and you'll barely get his attention.

    So I take a different approach with my overweight patients -- I tell them how obesity boosts the risks of sex problems, urinary dysfunction, and prostate problems.

    Those'll always get a man's attention.

    It's no exaggeration, either, and a new study confirms all that and more as researchers find that men with oversized belts have a higher risk of big-time problems below the belt.

    Researchers in New York divided 409 men between the ages of 40 and 91 with various urinary tract symptoms into three groups based on their waist size: less than 36 inches, 36-38 inches, and 40 inches or more.

    Sure enough, those with the biggest numbers had the highest risk of any number of issues -- including a complete inventory of all the problems men fear most.

    For example, 74.5 percent of men with waistlines of 40 inches or more had erectile dysfunction, more than double the 32 percent of men with waistlines of less than 36 inches.

    The big-bellied men also had triple the risk of ejaculation problems, with 65 percent of them battling those embarrassing issues, versus just 21 percent of men with waistlines of less than 36 inches.

    Men in the 36-38 inch group fell in the middle, with half of them suffering from erectile dysfunction and 40 percent experiencing ejaculation problems.

    Other "down there" functions also got worse as waistlines got bigger. Men with waistlines of 40 inches or more made the most trips to the bathroom, with 40 percent experiencing frequent urination versus 16 percent of those with the smallest waistlines.

    And of course, men with the biggest waistlines were also more likely to face everything from high blood pressure and high cholesterol to heart disease and type-2 diabetes.

    Obviously, if you're big in the middle and experiencing any of those problems you need to lose the weight pronto. The researchers say shaving just 2.5 inches off an oversized waistline could be enough for most men to overcome these and other issues.

    And for those of you who are big around the middle and not battling sex problems or urinary issues yet, lose the weight now... or suffer later.

  2. Nighttime bathroom runs linked to early death

    Waking up often to use the toilet is more than just a sleep-interrupting inconvenience--it can also be an indication of a more serious problem.

    And it might even kill you, too.

    Two new studies show how people who wake up frequently to urinate have an increased risk of death, and that the risk remains high even after adjusting for the chronic conditions that can cause those wee-hour visits, known as nocturia.

    And while these problems tend to be associated with older people, the researchers in one study say younger adults who visit the toilet in the middle of the night face an even higher death risk.

    In that study, researchers looked at the health records of 15,988 men and women aged 20 and older, and found that those who woke up to use the bathroom two or more times each night were 20 to 30 percent more likely to die prematurely overall.

    But nocturia patients between the ages of 20 and 64 years old actually had double the death risk of those who managed to sleep without potty breaks.

    And while diabetes and cardiovascular problems can lead to those moonlit toilet trips, the researchers found that those conditions didn't account for all of the deaths.

    Overall, the study presented at a recent meeting of the American Urological Association found that 15.5 percent of men and 21 percent of women experienced the condition, and that the odds of getting it increase as you age.

    In another study, Japanese researchers found that elderly patients who suffer from nocturia are more likely to die than those who don't. The study on 788 men and women aged 70 and older found that the more often the patients woke up to use the bathroom, the higher their death risk. And once again, that risk was higher even after adjusting for other risk factors.

    The researchers speculate that there's some other undiagnosed condition causing both the bathroom breaks and the premature deaths... and that's a safe guess.

    It's also a reminder of how even relatively minor changes in our lives and habits at any age could be warning signs of larger problems--from disease to poor diet to nutritional or hormonal deficiencies.

    At the end of the day, no one knows your body like you do... so pay attention to these changes. And if you find yourself heading to the bathroom more often at night, get to the bottom of it so you can get your rest.

    The alternative may be not waking up at all.

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