Most men become aware of their enlarged prostate because of frequent bathroom visits during the night. Other indicators include difficulty starting to urinate, a weak urination stream, and other common symptoms.
A new study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society reveals a hidden effect of enlarged prostate.
Some effects are often ignored but are even more serious than the more obvious symptoms.
Researchers often use a concept called life–space mobility to analyze elderly people’s ability to move around.
They check how far people can move from their beds or bedrooms, how frequently they can move large distances, and whether they can do so independently.
This is especially useful in studying patients with diseases like arthritis.
The authors of this study decided to check whether men with urinary problems common in cases of an enlarged prostate could move around properly, given the possibility that they would need to be close to a bathroom.
They distinguished between two concepts: lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) and urinary bother.
LUTS can be any lower urinary symptoms such as difficulty in starting urinating, a weak urination stream, frequent nighttime bathroom visits, urinary incontinence, leaking, and so on.
Urinary bother refers to whether urinary symptoms annoy a person. LUTS and urinary bother are different concepts because not everyone is annoyed by, for example, a weak urine stream or nighttime urination.
They analyzed data from more than 3,000 men collected for the Osteoporotic Fractures in Men study.
The participants completed the American Urologic Association Symptom Index questionnaire, which categorizes LUTS severity from none to severe.
The researchers also diagnosed urinary bother using one question: “If you were to spend the rest of your life with your urinary condition just the way it is now, how would you feel about that?” Subjects replied with scores from zero to six.
The subjects also completed the University of Alabama Life–Space Assessment to check their mobility.
These were the findings.
1. Compared to men without urinary bother (scores 0–1), those with urinary bother scores of 4–6 was more than twice as likely to report mobility restrictions.
2. The severity of LUTS was not linked to mobility restrictions, regardless of urinary bother.
Therefore, it is not LUTS, but urinary bother, that limits men’s ability to move large distances.
Most men with urinary bother have LUTS, but it is probably only some lower urinary tract symptoms that are genuinely bothersome.
In 2014, a study in European Urology identified urgent urinary incontinence as the most bothersome lower urinary tract symptom among both men and women.
If this is true for the subjects of the newer study as well, it is unsurprising that they cannot move around freely, far away from bathrooms, if they cannot control their bladders.
More important than dealing with urinary bother is curing it.