How many times are you getting up at night to pass urine?
Does your urine stream start and stop, start and stop, or is it one continuous stream?
When you have finished urinating, does it feel like you r bladder is empty or does it feel like there is still some urine left in your bladder?
How often do you have to urinate again within two hours of finishing?
These are some of the questions your doctor will ask to see if you are experiencing lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS), caused by either a urine storage problem or a urine emptying problem. Symptoms include:
• having to pass urine a lot
• urgency (you can’t wait to pass urine)
• urge incontinence (you have a urine leak before you can get to the toilet)
• getting up a lot at night
• slower-than-normal urinary stream
• start and stop, start and stop, every time to try to urinate
• straining (forcing) to empty your bladder.
One common obstructive problem is called BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia), a non-cancerous enlargement of a man’s prostate gland. Some reports estimate it affects about one-third of all men by age 50 and about 70 per cent of men by age 70.
You can’t infect someone else with BPH (it is not contagious). The famous “James Buchanan Brady Urological Institute” at John’s Hopkins Hospital in Maryland, USA, is at present doing research on hereditary links to BPH. The good news is there is help for this condition.
Why should you get help
if you suspect you are
Because it can affect the quality of your life (in this case, not make it better) if not checked out. To make a long story short, “Your urine has to flow through a passage that goes through your prostate gland (the passage is called the urethra—pronounced “you-wreath-thra”) to get out of your body. Unfortunately, as men get older, their prostate gland continues to grow and can grow enough to start narrowing that passage and preventing proper emptying of their bladder (see picture at left), causing LUTS.
Not emptying your bladder completely means less time to fill up again and for your brain to send you a message, “It’s time to go again!” If you are getting up a lot at night to pass urine, you are probably not getting the rest you need to function at your best. Remember, your kidneys (the urine factories) are always working. The more you drink, the more urine you make. Some doctors may even suggest cutting back on the amount of liquid you drink before you go to bed so you get up less.
When checking for LUTS, you will be asked to answer some questions about how you pass your urine and if you are happy with your present urinary function. The result of this questionnaire (called the IPSS) will be a number out of 35. Your score helps your doctor
decide if your symptoms are mild, moderate or severe. For more
information on the questionnaire, send a blank e-mail to:
• Dennis Webster is an
oncology-trained nurse and cancer consultant with over 20 years
experience. He has a keen interest
in men’s health, with a focus on
prostate disease, prostate cancer and prostate cancer risk assessment.
Skype: Brachy4u; blog address: