To establish the effect of lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) on general health in an unselected male population in Finland using a reduction in general health as outcome. A further special focus was on the question of whether the effects can be accounted for by other concomitant health problems or solely by LUTS.
A population-based questionnaire study among 50-, 60- and 70-year-old men was conducted. The subjects were divided into 5 different groups according to the severity of the LUTS. Odds ratios (ORs) of reduced general health with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were counted for every group and the effects of age and diseases were controlled. The population etiologic fraction was determined.
The crude relative risks of reduced general health increased with any of the LUTS compared to men not having LUTS. Adjustment for age and concomitant diseases reduced the ORs, but the associations remained similar. Relatively the effect of adjustment was greatest in men with several and serious symptoms, i.e. in men with the highest scores (OR 11.1 vs. 6.9).
LUTS and perceived general health are strongly correlated. About half of the association was accounted for by age and concomitant diseases, but the other half of the crude effect would appear to be independent of these factors. Severe LUTS severely affects the general health.