Lower urinary tract symptoms are common urinary disorders in men over the age of 50. The cause can be, for example, a benign enlargement of the prostate or a change in the urinary tract. Treatment depends on the primary cause.
What are Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms?
According to Phonecations, the lower urinary tract consists of various structures. In addition to the bladder, the urethra is part of the lower urinary tract. In English, the term “lower urinary tract” encompasses the two urinary tract structures. Lower urinary tract disorders primarily affect older men. The symptoms of urethra and bladder symptoms are summarized with the term lower urinary tract symptoms.
These symptoms of the lower urinary tract or symptoms of the lower urinary tract can occur both when collecting urine and when emptying the bladder. Lower urinary tract symptoms are a common disease. In the group of men over 50 years of age, up to 30 percent suffer from symptoms of the lower urinary tract structures that require treatment.
Bladder emptying disorders are the most common. Lower urinary tract symptoms are not limited to the human race, but are also common in the animal kingdom. For example, in cats, the same symptoms are referred to as Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease.
Lower urinary tract symptoms can have a variety of causes. In terms of age physiology, changes in the urinary tract appear in men from the age of 50. A common change is hyperplasia of the prostate, which manifests as an increase in the size of the organ and presses on organs and anatomical structures in the immediate vicinity.
Prostatic hyperplasia is the most common cause of lower urinary tract symptoms. Theoretically, however, inflammation can also lead to the symptoms. In extreme cases, the trigger of the symptoms is a tumor in the area of the urinary bladder or on the prostate.
Anatomical changes in the urinary tract are also possible causes, such as the narrowing of the bladder neck. This narrowing can be present in normal-sized or hyperplastic prostates. Research into the causes of lower urinary tract symptoms is correspondingly complex and requires extensive examinations by a urologist.
Symptoms, Ailments & Signs
The lower urinary tract symptoms include, in particular, a sudden urge to urinate with urge incontinence. Many patients experience delayed emptying of the bladder, even though they have a strong urge to urinate. Their urge to urinate is often so unexpected and sudden that those affected can hardly reach the toilet in time.
To actually urinate, many of those affected have to push extremely hard. In spite of all efforts, in many cases their urinary stream remains unusually weak. Patients often take longer than usual to empty their bladders. In addition, most sufferers do not feel that the bladder has been emptied sufficiently.
A permanent feeling of residual urine persists after each micturition. In most cases, there is an urge to urinate again shortly after a void. These symptoms can be associated with urination disorders such as dribbling urine. Which of the symptoms mentioned are actually present in the individual case varies from case to case. Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms can include many other symptoms depending on the primary cause. It is therefore not a uniform clinical picture.
Diagnosis & disease progression
The urologist makes the diagnosis of the lower urinary tract symptoms after a detailed medical history. When it comes to diagnostics, investigating the cause is sometimes the most crucial factor. The standard urological examination can provide information about possible prostate hyperplasia. Clarifying the cause is crucial for an effective therapy.
The lower urinary tract symptoms usually summarize various complaints and symptoms that generally lead to a significant reduction in the quality of life. Most of those affected primarily suffer from what is known as residual urine, which can often lead to psychological problems or even depression. Furthermore, the lower urinary tract symptoms lead to urge incontinence, so that those affected can no longer reach the toilet in time.
Especially in stressful situations, these symptoms can become very uncomfortable and lead to sweating or panic attacks. It is not uncommon for patients to feel ashamed of the lower urinary tract symptoms and delay a visit to the doctor, which is why treatment is usually initiated late. However, life expectancy itself is not affected or reduced by lower urinary tract symptoms.
The treatment of these complaints is always causal and depends on the underlying disease. In most cases, the symptoms can be limited relatively well with various training and therapies. If a tumor is causing the lower urinary tract symptoms, it must be removed. Under certain circumstances, this can also lead to a reduction in the life expectancy of the patient.
When should you go to the doctor?
If irregularities occur when urinating, the observations should be discussed with a doctor. Constant urination is uncommon. A doctor should be consulted if the symptoms persist for several days or increase in intensity. Incontinence is also one of the health signs that should be examined and treated by a doctor. If the person concerned has to push unusually hard when emptying the bladder, this should be discussed with a doctor and should be checked by various examinations. If the stream of urine remains weak even with a full bladder, a doctor should be consulted.
A feeling of residual urine in the bladder is another indication of an existing discrepancy that should be clarified by a doctor. If the urge to urinate again immediately after a successful visit to the toilet, there is a health problem. A doctor must be consulted so that the cause of the irregularities can be diagnosed and treated as quickly as possible. Since residual urine in the bladder contributes to the development of unwanted bacteria, the patient needs early medical care for existing symptoms. A doctor’s visit should therefore be made only a few days after the problems develop, even if there is no pain or other impairments in carrying out everyday activities.
Treatment & Therapy
Patients with lower urinary tract symptoms are usually treated causally. Any causal treatment aims to eliminate the trigger. As soon as the cause is eliminated, the symptoms also subside. Depending on the primary cause of the symptoms, different treatment options are available.
As a rule, the therapy includes conservative drug procedures. Since the most common cause of lower urinary tract symptoms is benign, i.e. benign prostatic hyperplasia, 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors, drugs such as alpha blockers or the active ingredients of PDE-5 inhibitors are usually used in the causal treatment.
If there is no improvement in symptoms with medication, invasive treatment methods can be considered. Such invasive procedures usually involve surgery to remove excess prostate tissue. If there is a malignant change in the prostate, ideally complete removal of the tumor is required. Above all, the malignancy of the tissue decides on combined measures such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
A similar procedure applies to bladder tumors. Inflammatory changes in the lower urinary tract are usually healed with antibiotics. Most often, inflammation is a reaction caused by bacteria that have been carried over into the body. If there are constrictions in the urinary tract, these constrictions are widened by surgical incisions.
Outlook & Forecast
The prognosis of the changes in the urinary tract depends on the causal triggers of the disease. Under optimal conditions and early diagnosis and therapy, a large number of those affected can alleviate the symptoms and ultimately be free of symptoms. Nevertheless, a chronic course of the disease is also possible. This often triggers complications or secondary diseases.
The health impairments lead to psychological problems and irregularities in many patients. Those affected are therefore at an increased risk of suffering from mental disorders. This has a negative effect on the overall prognosis, since the quality of life is permanently impaired as a result.
Drug therapy is usually used. This should trigger an improvement in the symptoms. Nevertheless, the administration of medicines is associated with the possibility of side effects. Alternatively, surgical procedures are used to remove a narrowing of the urinary tract. An operation is also associated with risks and can lead to lifelong impairments if the process is disrupted.
In severe cases, tumors develop. Since these represent a fundamentally life-threatening situation for the patient, the prognosis worsens considerably when cancer develops. Surgery and cancer therapy are necessary, otherwise the patient may die prematurely.
Lower urinary tract symptoms are a widespread disease. Almost one in three men will suffer from it in their lifetime. This connection is due to the age-physiological changes in the urinary tract. The individual symptoms can therefore only be prevented to a limited extent. In connection with prostate hyperplasia, for example, nutrition is the focus of possible preventive measures.
The consumption of vegetables, for example, should be able to prevent the phenomenon to a certain extent. Physical activity also lowers the risk of developing prostate symptoms. Obesity increases the risk of the disease and should therefore be reduced as much as possible.
Since the treatment of the lower urinary tract symptom is relatively complex and lengthy, follow-up care focuses on dealing with the disease safely. Those affected should try to focus on dealing with the situation in a positive way despite the adversities. To establish the right attitude, relaxation exercises and meditation can help calm the mind. This is a basic requirement for a partial recovery. Relaxation exercises can help take some of the mental tension off, relieving the constant fear of being unpredictable.
The lower urinary tract symptom leads to a significantly reduced quality of life for those affected. Most patients suffer from depressive moods. Sometimes it can help to have this treated by a psychologist. It cannot be universally predicted whether this will lead to complete healing. As a rule, this disease does not reduce the life expectancy of the affected person.
You can do that yourself
The mostly older, male patients with lower urinary tract symptoms usually suffer from an enlarged prostate. However, it does not have to be cancer. A benign enlargement, called benign prostatic hyperplasia, also causes symptoms such as excessive urination or urge incontinence, but also the opposite symptoms such as delayed emptying of the bladder, a weak urge to urinate or dribbling urine. Even inflammation could cause these symptoms, so it is important for the patient to have a urologist clarify what is behind their symptoms as early as possible. Only in this way can appropriate therapies be initiated in good time, which in the best case lead to a complete healing of the underlying disease.
Once all therapeutic measures (medication or invasive) have been exhausted, bladder or pelvic floor training can help the patient. The aim is to extend the time between two trips to the toilet as long as possible. The treating urologist can help with addresses and contact persons. Problems with urination cause stress. Therefore, relaxation exercises are also recommended. Jacobson ‘s progressive muscle relaxation is very effective and easy to learn. But meditation and breathing exercises, as taught in yoga, also bring relaxation. It is important to do the exercises consistently and regularly if you want them to be successful.