Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms

Lower urinary tract symptoms can be caused by different conditions, ranging from benign (overactive bladder or urinary tract infections) to serious (bladder cancer).

The lower urinary tract refers to the bladder, the urethra (the tube that transports urine from the bladder out of the body), and-in men-the prostate gland. Problems in these structures are indicated by issues with urine storage, voiding, and post-voiding.

Lower urinary tract symptoms (often abbreviated LUTS) are associated with a number of different conditions, and the type of symptoms vary depending on the underlying cause:

Underlying Causes of Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms

Problems retaining urine (storage)

These lower urinary tract symptoms may be associated with the following conditions: urinary tract infection; bladder cancer; overactive bladder; enlarged prostate; narrowing of the bladder neck (stenosis); narrowing of the urethra (stricture); or weak contraction of the bladder caused by nerve damage (from injury or disease, such as diabetes and Multiple Sclerosis).

Problems emptying urine from the bladder (voiding)

  • Hesitating during urination
  • Weak stream of urine
  • Stopping and starting several times while voiding
  • Pushing or straining to urinate
  • Dribbling at the end of urination

These lower urinary tract symptoms may be a result of the following underlying conditions: urinary tract infection; bladder stones; bladder cancer; enlarged prostate (prostatic hyperplasia); narrowing of the bladder neck (stenosis); narrowing of the urethra (stricture); and weak contraction of the bladder caused by nerve damage (from injury or disease, such as diabetes and Multiple Sclerosis).

Problems after urination (post-voiding)

  • Dribbling after urination is complete
  • Feeling as if the bladder isn't completely empty

This group of lower urinary tract symptoms can be caused by: bladder stones; overactive bladder; enlarged prostate; narrowing of the urethra (stricture); and weak contraction of the bladder caused by nerve damage (from injury or disease, such as diabetes and Multiple Sclerosis).

For more information about what might be causing lower urinary tract symptoms and related conditions, check with a urologist near you.


References

Arianayagam M, Arianayagam R, Rashid P. (2011). Lower urinary tract symptoms: Current management in older men. Aust Fam Phys. 40(10):758-767.

Chapple CR, & Milsom I. (2011). Urinary incontinence and pelvic prolapse: Epidemiology and Pathophysiology. Wein: Campbell-Walsh Urology, 10th. ed.

Roehrborn, CG. (2011). Male lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Med Clin North Am. 95(1):87-100.

Gammack, JK. (2010). Lower urinary tract symptoms. Clin Geriatr Med. 26(2):249-60.

Boyle P, Robertson C, Mazzetta C, et al. (2003). The prevalence of lower urinary tract symptoms in men and women in four centres. The UrEpik study. BJU Int. 92(4):409-14.

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