Lower urinary tract symptoms become common as men age and their prostates enlarge, restricting urine flow or altering their bladder habits. At this same age (age 65 and older) an estimated 100 million men worldwide experience erectile dysfunction. The Mayo Clinic researchers set out to determine whether the urinary tract symptoms and sexual dysfunction are related or not.
ÒThis observation suggests there may be a common cause that someday may prove amenable to medical treatments that could be effective for treating both conditions,Ó says Steven Jacobsen, M.D., Ph.D., a Mayo Clinic researcher and the senior author of the study in the June 2004 issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings.
The researchers studied 2,115 male patients in The Olmsted County Study of Urinary Symptoms and Health Status Among Men. The men, ages 40 to 79, completed questionnaires in 1990 and were followed up every two years. Dr. Jacobsen says the study in Mayo Clinic Proceedings is one of the few community-based studies to assess the relationship between the symptoms of sexual dysfunction and lower urinary tract symptoms. In contrast, other studies examined only the association between individual urinary symptoms and sexual life dysfunction and lower urinary tract symptoms in selected patients who underwent medical or surgical treatments.
The symptoms that were most strongly associated with sexual dysfunction included a feeling of urgency, having to get up multiple times at night, a weak urine stream and straining to start urinating. These symptoms were all associated with difficulties with getting or maintaining erections, feeling of problems with sexual function and satisfaction. However, they were not strongly associated with sex drive after taking age differences into account.
Other authors of the study are: Woo-Sik Chung, M.D., Ajay Nehra, M.D., Debra Jacobson, Rosebud Roberts, M.B., Ch.B, Thomas Rhodes, Cynthia Girman, DrPH, and Michael Lieber, M.D. Dr. Girman and Mr. Rhodes are employees of Merck & Co., Inc. The research was funded in part by the U.S. Public Health Services National Institutes of Health and Merck Research Laboratories.
A peer-reviewed journal, Mayo Clinic Proceedings publishes original articles and reviews dealing with clinical and laboratory medicine, clinical research, basic science research and clinical epidemiology. Mayo Clinic Proceedings is published monthly by Mayo Foundation for Education and Research as part of its commitment to the medical education of physicians. The journal has been published for more than 75 years and has a circulation of 130,000 nationally and internationally. A copy of the article will be available online after the embargo lifts at www.mayo.edu/proceedings.