Obesity linked to sex and urinary troubles

If you're a guy who is big above the belt and dysfunctional below it, you've found out the hard way that obesity makes you go soft.

Now, a new look at data on 409 men with lower urinary tract symptoms confirms you're not alone -- because men with the biggest waistlines have more than double the risk of erectile dysfunction and triple the risk of ejaculation problems of men with normal waistlines.

"Big" in this case is 40 inches or more. "Normal" is less than 36 inches. Just four inches... but four inches that can add up to a world of difference: Three-quarters of men in the "big" category have erection problems, versus just a third of those in the normal category, according to the study.

If that was the only risk, it should be enough to scare the pounds off any man. But the risks don't end there.

The study in the British Journal of Urology International also finds that men in the 40+ inch waistline category have double the risk of frequent urination and are nearly three times as likely to suffer from frequent nighttime urination compared to men with normal bellies.

That's not just an inconvenience that leads to lost sleep. It's often a sign of more serious underlying problems -- and some studies have found that too many late-night trips to the bathroom can actually increase the risk of death.

The risks didn't kick in at 40 inches, by the way. Men in between the two groups -- men with waistlines of between 36 and 38 inches -- also fell in between in risk.

But don't get caught in the middle on this one. While the researchers say big men who shave just 2.5 inches off their middle can cut their risk of problems, I say don't stop at 2.5 inches.

Lose as many inches as it takes to bring yourself back down to size before you risk battling some of the worst problems a man could face.

I'm not done with men's health yet. Keep reading.