Men's health

Obesity in men: reproductive and lower urinary tract complications

Gary Wittert



Obesity in men has deleterious effects on reproductive and lower urinary tract function as well as important implications for chronic disease risk. A focus on common sexual and lower urinary tract symptoms by healthcare providers affords an opportunity for prevention or early detection and management of chronic disease in men. 

Article Extract

Based on Australian Bureau of Statistics 2011–2012 data, the prevalence of overweight and obesity is similar in males and females aged 2 to 17 years, but is higher in adult men (70%) than adult women (56%).1 Furthermore, the proportion of men with severe and very severe obesity is increasing rapidly.2,3 Obesity is now the second highest contributor to burden of disease in Australia, and ahead of smoking (AIHW).

Most descriptions of the complications of obesity tend to focus on a ‘generic human’ with little attention to differences between men and women. Obesity has deleterious effects on sexual, reproductive and lower urinary tract function in men that have, until relatively recently, been largely ignored. These effects are the focus of this brief article, together with factors that interact with obesity to determine outcome, and the optimising of healthcare service provision for such men.

Picture credit: © Nastco/
Model used for illustrative purposes only