Study suggests men’s urinary issues linked to early mortality


A Finnish study published in The Journal of Urology suggests that lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) are potential risk factors for early death in men.  LUTS is a disorder affecting the storage of urine that may result in excess urine production, incomplete bladder emptying, urinary incontinence, and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) in men. 

Study findings

The aim of the study was to discover if there was a link between a man’s mortality and incontinence. It’s been unclear if men with LUTS have an association with a higher mortality rate. Researchers wanted to explore by evaluating the severity of LUTS symptoms in men and their risk of death. It was noted that prior studies had not found a link between mortality and incontinence.

More than 3,000 Finnish men were enrolled in the 24-year study in 1994 at the ages of 50, 60, or 70.  During this time, researchers reviewed urinary tract symptoms in these men as a risk factor for death, adjusting for age, other medical conditions, and if the symptoms were bothersome to the men. In 2018, out of the original number of men enrolled in the study in 1994, 1,167 men were still alive. 

The findings from the study showed men with moderate to severe LUTS of having urinary hesitance, a weak stream, or straining to urinate had a 20% increased risk of death. Men with frequent daytime urination, incontinence, and nocturia (waking up at night to urinate), had a 40% increased risk of death. 

Even men with mild symptoms of frequent daytime urination had a 30% increased early death risk, and the increased death risk for men with mild nocturia was 50%.

However, it was urinary incontinence that had the strongest association with a higher risk of early death in men. Researchers suggested that urinary urgency significantly impacts health and a man’s day-to-day functioning as they age. But the study team suggested it could also be a sign of long-term neurological or vascular disease. 

Study takeaway message

It’s important to keep in mind that disorders of the urinary tract may be caused by other medical conditions, influencing a man’s mortality.  These include diabetes, heart disease, sleep apnea, Parkinson’s disease, restricted mobility, dementia, stroke, and multiple sclerosis. 

The main message for men is this is the first study to suggest an association linking incontinence to an early death. However, it is important the study showed that urinary incontinence and premature death might be related. 

Dr. Craig Comiter, a professor of urology at Stanford University School of Medicine, stated that no prior studies had shown a link between mortality and incontinence. He has been quoted saying, “Studies on younger populations are vital to see if there is a true causative link between urinary symptoms and mortality or if it simply is a marker of poor health in the elderly.” 

Researchers agreed that further research using randomized controlled trials is necessary to show that treating LUTS actually lowers a man’s risk of early death. 

In the meantime, any man with symptoms of LUTS should see their doctor for a proper diagnosis and be treated for their condition. 


Dr. David Samadi is the Director of Men’s Health and Urologic Oncology at St. Francis Hospital in Long Island. He’s a renowned and highly successful board certified Urologic Oncologist Expert and Robotic Surgeon in New York City, regarded as one of the leading prostate surgeons in the U.S., with a vast expertise in prostate cancer treatment and Robotic-Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy.  Dr. Samadi is a medical contributor to NewsMax TV and is also the author of The Ultimate MANual, Dr. Samadi’s Guide to Men’s Health and Wellness, available online both on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Visit Dr. Samadi’s websites at robotic oncology and prostate cancer 911. 

Study suggests men’s urinary issues linked to early mortality
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Dr. David B. Samadi