Dr. Rimm says obesity can cause "more immediate" sex problems in men
It's time to be brutally honest about one of the side effects of being overweight and obese that NOBODY ever wants to talk about, but behind closed doors it is a big problem that really wears on the psyche and emotional stability of men especially. I'm talking about the "i" word known as impotence.
Sometimes referred to as ED, aka Erectile Dysfunction, generally the first reaction to this very serious problem is to start making jokes about it. HA HA HA, You're not a real man if you can't do it...are you not "up" to it...is someone having problems...hardy har freakin' har! Is that out of your system now? Good, because this Harvard study actually shows there is an undeniable link between impotence and obesity that could give men carrying around extra pounds just the motivation they've been looking for to lose weight for good.
Led by Dr. Eric Rimm, associate professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, the researchers conducted a very large survey featuring 22,086 healthy men age 40-75 who had participated in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (HPFS) which began two decades ago to look at diet and chronic disease among male health professionals in the United States. Each of the men surveyed had previously reported good or very good erectile function with no major chronic diseases prior to beginning the HPFS in 1986.
However, what Dr. Rimm discovered was that 17.7 percent of the men in his survey had developed Erectile Dysfunction between 1986 and 2000, even after removing the results of the men who had undergone radiation or surgical treatments for prostate cancer since those procedures can lead to Erectile Dysfunction. The research showed that the primary reasons for the development of ED in the men surveyed had to do with two preventable risk factors: smoking and obesity.
"We found a 2.5-fold difference in risk of Erectile Dysfunction when we compared obese men who did little exercise with men who were not overweight and averaged 30 minutes of vigorous exercise a day," Dr. Rimm explained. "For men younger than 55 there was a 4-fold difference in risk for the same comparison."
Interestingly, the research also showed regular physical activity could actually reverse the effects of ED and improve sexual performance naturally. At the same time, Dr. Rimm found that drinking alcohol was not a significant factor in the risk of ED.
The results of this study appear in the July 2006 issue of The Journal of Urology.
Okay, it's time for me to open up and confess to you about what my sex life was like at 410 pounds. For some people, this is gonna be TMI time, but for others this may be exactly what you need to hear in order to do what I did by losing a lot of weight. It's a sensitive subject to discuss in an open forum like my blog, but I've always been about sharing honestly with you my experiences both before and after my weight loss.
Before 2004, sex pretty much didn't exist because of my morbid obesity. It's not that I didn't want to do it, but it was quite literally a hit or miss proposition. Besides the problem with um, "getting up," there was also the equally discouraging issues of having a lot of trouble breathing without wheezing very loudly (that always freaked out Christine), the very real danger of crushing this woman I'm trying to show my love towards, the strong possiblity of premature, uh, you know, and so on and so forth. For something that is supposed to be a wonderful pleasurable event, I admit I sometimes dreaded it when I was fatter.
Zoom forward to today and oh what a difference losing weight has made in my life when it comes to sex. I'm like a monster that's been caged up for years and now I'm ready to expend all that pent up energy. The problem down there isn't a problem anymore. Just as my overall energy has exploded like dynamite since I lost 180 pounds, so too has my libido. Again, without grossing anyone out by getting too graphic, let's just say it sustains a whole lot longer than it used to, the breathing issues are a non-factor thanks to my daily cardio workouts (does sex now count as a workout? LOL!), the ability to hold it until just the right moment is so much easier, and best of all my wife is the ultimate benefactor of this new man in bed I have become.
Enough already, that's as far as I'll go, I promise! I apologize if that was more than you wanted to know, but I think others need to be informed about what an unbelievable difference weight loss combined with a regular exercise program can have on EVERY aspect of your life, especially with something as common and frequent (at least I hope it is for you within the confines of your marriage vows) as sex. The man I was before 2004 and the man I am now are as different as night and day in bed. That's exactly what Dr. Rimm was aiming to communicate with his study and he thinks it may get some men to take their weight problem more seriously.
"Many men may choose not to change to a healthier lifestyle, which includes exercise and a prudent diet, because they perceive heart disease as something that may only develop decades in the future," Dr. Rimm noted. "Hopefully, these results will help to motivate men to adopt a more active lifestyle to avoid a problem which may be more immediate."
One would think the threat of developing heart disease would be enough to give men and women a swift kick in the pants to do something about their weight while they still can. But maybe hearing that this sexual "problem" they have been experiencing lately might just improve with a little weight loss will have more and more people turning to livin' la vida low-carb and hitting the gym to work as a natural anti-impotence magic trick. And that would not be a bad thing at all!
Speaking of that, guess who supported and helped fund this study along with the National Institutes of Health? If you answered Pfizer, Inc., makers of the #1 selling anti-impotence drug Viagra, then DING DING DING you would be correct! Hey, isn't that what radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh was found with by a custom's agent when he returned from the Dominican Republic recently? Hmmm, I thought he had lost a lot of weight, so what's he doing with these pills? Oh yeah, he IS getting old so he still needs 'em! LOL!
Just like their support for studies connecting cholesterol problems with heart disease so they can sell more of their bestselling statin drug Lipitor, I suppose Pfizer's interest in this study has more to do with the large, both figurative and literally, potential consumer base for Viagra. If two out of every three Americans is overweight or obese, then identifying a connection between obesity and impotence is a cash crop just waiting to be harvested! They don't really care if those men ever lose weight and restore their sex life or not. All they want is for more people to start buying their "little blue pill." NOT ME! Not anymore! :D
You can e-mail Dr. Eric Rimm about his study at firstname.lastname@example.org.