What are lower urinary tract symptoms?
Lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) include:
Poor urinary flow rate, and difficulty starting (voiding symptoms)
- frequency – the need to pass urine very often;
- urgency – the need to pass urine without much warning;
- urge incontinence – urgency resulting in leakage of urine which you cannot control (storage symptoms)
Stress incontinence occurs when you cough or sneeze.
Nocturia is getting up to pass water more often than once at night.
Your kidneys filter blood continuously and produce urine which is stored in your bladder. Your bladder will normally hold 300 to 500 ml before you feel the urge to pass urine. When you are ready to pass urine, you can relax your pelvic floor and contract your bladder to push the urine out.
At the base of the bladder, your prostate gland wraps around your urethra (waterpipe). If you are over 50 years old and your prostate gland is enlarged, it may obstruct the urethra, causing LUTS. If you have any of the symptoms above, you should talk to your GP
LUTS are more common as we get older, but these symptoms can often be resolved. The first step is to go and discuss your symptoms with your GP.