Health problems for men are often beset with obstacles. While women live longer, and have a higher rate of survival from deadly deseases, men often resist visiting the doctor when something is wrong.
To "be a Man"
Studies tell us that the classic male stereotype hinders men from seeking medical care. Tough, stoic "manly" men don’t need help... They don’t have time to see a doctor, can "get through it" and often feel embarrassed talking about and sharing their issues - with their partners and close ones, and especially with other men. The lower abdomen and it's functions present a uniquely sensitive topic for men involving matters of pride that bring into question the definition of what it is "to be a man".
Enduring symptoms and keeping quiet about it cause unnecessary suffering and pain, but it doesn't have to be this way. Fear of the doctor’s appointment and putting it off until the symptoms can no longer be ignored lead to a poorer outcome for many treatments. So please keep on reading to find out if you should consult your doctor.
LUTS in men
LUTS is a term used to describe a range of symptoms related to the Lower Urinary Tract (bladder, prostate and urethra).
In this group we find bladder problems such as increased frequency, urgency, nocturia and incontinence. This means you need to go more often, quicker, and also in the night.
The definition of nocturia is voiding more than two times per night. It is the single most common symptom of LUTS. More than 40% of men older than 70 years are affected, but the symptoms may start as early as in the 40’s. It’s often associated with sleep loss and daytime fatigue.
This group includes symptoms that have to do with urinating, such as weak urinary flow, hesitancy and straining.
- Post micturition symptoms
Sometimes you have remaining symptoms after your toilet visits. Incomplete emptying / residual urine and dribbling are examples of post micturition symptoms. When urine remains in the bladder it can cause infections (UTIs).
LUTS also include symptoms associated with sexual function and pain.
Quality of life
LUTS has a strong impact on well-being and health-related quality of life. It increases the risk of depression and even suicidal thoughts and the more severe the symptom, the higher the risk. In fact, studies show that the impact on quality of life can be as severe as for a person with a spinal cord injury.
LUTS and sex life
There is a connection between LUTS and sexual problems. Hormone factors seem to affect the possibility of erection and psychological factors such as stress and anxiety caused by severe urinary symptoms, can also affect impact upon issues surrounding sex.
Many of the symptoms of LUTS are caused by incomplete bladder emptying. The good news is that it is treatable.
Sometimes LUTS can be treated with medication, sometimes with intermittent catheterization (self-catheterization), and sometimes with a combination of both.
Intermittent catheterization is the second best way to urinate, the way that mimics the natural way. It’s an easy technique to learn and can be practiced everywhere. It helps you to completely empty your bladder. At the very least you will get a better night’s sleep, if you happen to be one of the many men that need to visit the toilet once, or several times per night.
Download the LUTS passport and bring it to your urologist’s appointment to identify, manage and track your treatment!