If your EMR is like the one in our practice a patients BMI is automatically calculated each time the patient is weighed. (Our system politely highlights a high BMI in bright red just so we don’t miss it!) While many patients understand why their primary medical provider is concerned with obesity issues patients will ask why it is important to address obesity when discussing urologic issues. I often find myself explaining to patients that not only can obesity cause multiple medical problems it can also cause or worsen many urologic problems.
Both stress and urge incontinence are greatly affected by obesity. Exercise and weight loss are two very important behavior modifications that can have a direct impact on lessening the severity of urinary leakage. Obese females may also have a lower rate of long term success with sling procedures for stress incontinence.
Obesity is also a known causative factor for stone formation. Some studies believe that the increase in obesity in the general population, and especially in the pediatric population, is one of the factors influencing the increase in patients diagnosed with renal and ureteral stones.
We all know that obesity is a risk factor for many cancers and that is certainly true when it comes to urologic cancers including renal and prostate cancer. A recent study in the journal Cancer also noted that there is a possible link between excess weight and an increase in prostate cancer reoccurrence. Obese males also have more issues with erectile dysfunction, hypogonadism, and fertility than their peers with a normal BMI.
Hopefully this information when shared with your patients may increase their incentive to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.