LUTS (Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms)
Lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) are a very frequent issue for both men and women and unfortunately become more common with age. In men the most likely cause is developing obstruction thanks to non-cancerous growth of the prostate gland (BPH), however, the symptoms may also relate to problems with bladder function and this too may affect women.
Therefore, typically, LUTS are described as being either
Filling or storage symptoms, which include
- Increased frequency in the need to urinate
- Increased urgency in the need to urinate even leading to incontinence
- Having to urinate possibly several times at night
Voiding or obstructive symptoms, including
- Poor urinary stream
- Difficulty initiating the flow of urine
- The sensation of poor bladder emptying
- Needing to strain to pass urine
All these symptoms are very common and are actually very unlikely to relate to prostate cancer.
A useful tool in assessing the severity of LUTS in men is the International Prostate Symptom Score (IPSS)
International Prostate Symptom Score (IPSS)
The IPSS is an eight question, (7 symptom and 1 quality of life) questionnaire used to derive a score (0-35) and determine the management of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH). You can determine your IPSS by visiting http://www.usrf.org/questionnaires/AUA_SymptomScore.html
Typically a score of 0-7 indicates mild symptoms, 8-19 moderate symptoms and 20-35 severe symptoms. Higher scores indicate more severe symptoms. Scores less than seven are considered mild and generally do not warrant treatment. Regardless of your score, if your symptoms are bothersome, you should consult with your doctor.
What if your PSA is raised?
PSA is not a diagnostic test, it is rather an indicator that there is a risk of prostate cancer. If raised, there are a number of routes which our consultants may follow. Read more about them under the prostate cancer diagnosis section.