Metabolic abnormalities could be linked to urinary problems

10 December 2014

Weight loss surgery can reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome, which could also reduce the frequency and severity of lower urinary tract symptoms, a new study has found.

The findings, which come from two studies published in BJU International, suggest that urinary problems could be added to the comprehensive list of issues that arise from problems with a person's metabolism.

Lower urinary tract symptoms related to urinary frequency and urgency, bladder leakage, the need to urinate at night, and incomplete bladder emptying are associated with obesity in both men and women. 

In order to determine whether these symptoms could be linked with metabolic syndrome, Dr François Desgrandchamps, from the Saint-Louis Hospital in France, analysed data from more than 4,000 male patients aged 55 to 100 years who consulted a general practitioner during a 12-day period in 2009. 

Along with his team, Dr Desgrandchamps found that metabolic syndrome was reported in 51.5 per cent of the patients and 47 per cent were treated for lower urinary tract symptoms. They found a significant link between metabolic syndrome and treated lower urinary tract symptoms. 

The researchers also determined that a higher risk of being treated for lower urinary tract symptoms was associated with increasing numbers of metabolic syndrome components. In addition, those with lower urinary tract symptoms, experienced more severe effects if they also had metabolic syndrome.

"The prevention of such modifiable factors by the promotion of dietary changes and regular physical activity practice may be of great interest for public health," the authors report.

In the second study, researchers gathered 72 patients who underwent weight loss surgery to see whether it could lessen lower urinary tract symptoms in obese patients. It's known that such surgery leads to improvement or even resolution of a growing list of health problems associated with obesity, such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and sleep apnoea. 

Participants were followed for one year during which each patients lost a significant amount of weight and reduced their body mass index, compared to before the procedure. The team found that, after just six weeks, there was a significant reduction in overall symptoms and this improvement was sustained at one year. The study also noted that insulin sensitivity improved, indicating a lessening of individuals' risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

"Interestingly, in our study, improvements in lower urinary tract symptoms were generally seen soon after surgery, and they did not seem to be related to the time course or degree of weight loss," said co-author Dr Richard Stubbs of Wakefield Hospital. "Rather, there is an indication that the improvement in the urinary symptoms is linked to improvements in insulin resistance, which are now known to occur almost immediately following bariatric surgery."

The team added that it is no surprise that losing weight from surgery results in a reduction of other health problems.

"What has been a surprise and what is potentially so important is that so many problems, including issues related to urinary function, improve so quickly after bariatric surgery, even before great weight loss has occurred," said senior author Andrew Kennedy-Smith of Wellington Hospital. 

Posted by Philip Briggs 


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