Lower urinary tract symptoms in men: Causes, symptoms, and treatment

By: Dr. Victor Marchione | Bladder | Monday, September 19, 2016 - 03:00 PM

lower urinary tract symptomsAlthough lower urinary tract symptoms are common in women, they can affect men, too. The term lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) refers to storage, voiding, and post-void dribbling. Not only do LUTS affect a man’s quality of life, but they can also signal a more serious health concern. Being able to spot these symptoms can help reduce the risk of any lower urinary tract complications.

Nearly half of all adults will experience at least one lower urinary tract symptom: Study

A study found that nearly half of adults over the age of 20 will experience at least one lower urinary tract symptom by the year 2018. Issues such as incontinence will increase as well, especially in South America, Asia, and developing areas of Africa.

Lead author of the study Dr. Debra E. Irwin said, “Our study suggests that urinary and bladder symptoms are already highly prevalent worldwide and that these rates will increase significantly as the population ages. These findings raise a number of important worldwide issues that will need to be tackled, as a matter of urgency, by clinicians and public health experts if we are to prevent, and manage, these conditions.”

The researchers used data from the U.S. Census Bureau International Data Base and the EPIC study, a large population-based, cross-sectional telephone survey of more than 19,000 men and women in five countries, led by Dr. Irwin.

Dr. Irwin explained, “It is well known that people do not always seek medical attention for urinary problems, so basing our figures on studies using self-reported symptoms is an effective way of measuring worldwide prevalence.”

Key findings of the study showed worldwide prevalence of LUTS will increase to just under 46 percent by 2018, between 2008 and 2018 the number of people who experience at least one LUTS will grow 18 percent (affecting 2.3 billion people), overactive bladder will increase 20 percent, urinary incontinence will increase 22 percent, and LUTS and bladder outlet obstruction will rise 18.5 percent by 2018.

“We believe that our study underlines the clear and urgent need to improve the awareness, prevention, diagnosis, and management of these conditions. International and national programmes that increase public awareness, educate clinicians, and implement public health campaigns that tackle the social stigma of LUTS, will be a significant step towards reaching this objective. These public health programmes would need to be adapted by region, because countries often differ in their healthcare resources, treatment guidelines, and social perceptions,” Dr. Lutz concluded.

Causes and signs of lower urinary tract symptoms in men

Enlarged prostate complicationsCommon causes of lower urinary tract symptoms include an infection, an enlarged prostate, or even bladder stones. Symptoms arise as a result of problems with the lower urinary tract, including the bladder, prostate, and urethra. Symptoms can be categorized as either voiding symptoms or storage symptoms.

Voiding symptoms include:

  • Hesitancy to release urine
  • Weak and poorly directing stream of urine
  • Straining to urinate
  • Dribbling after urination
  • Chronic urinary retention
  • Overflow of urine

Storage symptoms include:

If you’re a male over the age of 60 and are experiencing any of the above symptoms, you don’t have to suffer in silence. Speak to your doctor to uncover the underlying cause of your bladder problems and get on a treatment plan to help improve your bladder problems as well as the overall quality of your life.

Risk factors for lower urinary tract symptoms include increased serum dihydrotestosterone levels, obesity, elevated fasting glucose, diabetes, fat and red meat intake, and inflammation.

Lifestyle changes for managing lower urinary tract symptoms in men

If symptoms are not bothersome or complicated, then your doctor may just monitor you and ask you to report any changes you notice. You will be asked to moderate your fluid intake (too much fluid can aggravate your symptoms) and reduce your intake of alcohol, caffeine, and sweeteners, as these can worsen infections.

Other lifestyle changes include supervised bladder training and supervised pelvic floor muscle exercises.

Diagnosis and treatment options for lower urinary tract symptoms

Pyuria (pus in urine) causes and treatmentsYour doctor will try to uncover any underlying cause of your lower urinary tract symptoms. Diagnostic methods may include examining the prostate, looking for any neurological condition, and running other tests to confirm a diagnosis of diabetes or other chronic health condition that could contribute to LUTS.

Treatment for LUTS is generally targeting the cause. This could be treating a urinary tract infection, addressing the problem of an enlarged prostate, and so on. Combination therapies may be most successful in treating your LUTS. If medical treatment is unsuccessful, your doctor may advise surgery.

Speak to your doctor about appropriate treatment options for your lower urinary tract symptoms in order to get the most relief and improve your quality of life.

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