The problems of overactive bladder and urinary tract infections - Magaziner

The problems of overactive bladder and urinary tract infections

The myriad of urinary problems in both men and women and prostate and erectile dysfunction in men are discussed with new research.

A recent study from the United Kingdom published in the International journal of clinical practice (1) discusses the relationship between the problems of overactive bladder and the constellation of challenges associated with a diagnosis of metabolic syndrome.

Metabolic syndrome is a term used to describe a group of conditions that occur together:

These are:

  • increased blood pressure,
  • a high blood sugar level,
  • excessive “belly fat” and”bad” cholesterol levels that can increase your risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

The researchers of this study noted that there is a great lack of information in the medical literature on the impact of metabolic syndrome and overactive bladder or LUTS (lower urinary tract symptoms) in women. The research information that is available to doctors is usually of low quality. But they do say  the evidence available on obesity appears to support metabolic syndrome as a contributor and predictor of LUTS in women.

The conclusion of this research makes a strong point: Many of the women with LUTS will be overweight and will have features of the metabolic syndrome, if looked for. Emphasis on “IF LOOKED FOR.” Looking for and finding this connection provides not only an opportunity to encourage weight loss as an adjunct to therapy for overactive bladder symptoms but also a window of opportunity to address cardiovascular risk factors and prevent future cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.

This research supports an earlier study published in the French language journal Progrès en urologie : journal de (The Journal of progress in urology)(2).  Here researchers confirmed previous studies suggesting that patients with Metabolic syndrome suffered from overactive bladder symptoms and urinary incontinence and these problems were brought on by abdominal obesity and hyperglycemia.

A January 2019 study in the journal Urology (3) cited this research in determining that central and general obesity were key metabolic factors associated with urinary tract infections in both males and females, and with overactive bladder symptoms in females.

Insulin resistance, especially in women, may play significant role in the development of overactive bladder

In a study published in the International neurourology journal. (4) Turkish researchers confirmed that metabolic syndrome and obesity have been advocated to be risk factors for the development of overactive bladder. Because, insulin resistance is the underlying mechanism of metabolic syndrome, it should be of no surprise that insulin resistance, especially in women, may play a significant role in the development of overactive bladder.

Men with waists measuring 39+ inches reported up to three times more urinary problems than men with waists of 39 inches or less.

Belly fat is a national plague. The myriad of health problems associated with belly fat are so numerous that to mention them all would require you to read a very long list of the obvious. Here is one less well known – the problems of frequent urination.

In a recent published study, men with large waists urinate more frequently than their slimmer counterparts.

Researchers from Weill Medical College, Cornell University, New York, found that:

  • Men with waists measuring 39+ inches reported up to three times more urinary problems than men with waists of 39 inches or less.
  • Larger waist circumference was also associated with urinating more than twice during the night – with 44% of men in the largest waist group reporting this, compared with 29% in the middle group and 15% in the smallest waist group.
  • Men with larger waists were also more likely to report erection problems
  • Men with larger waists were also more likely to report erection problems than men in the middle and smallest waist groups (74.5%, 50% and 32% respectively) and more likely to report ejaculation problems (65%, 40% and 21% respectively.)

The same pattern was observed for high blood pressure (33.5%, 22% and 14.5% respectively), coronary artery disease (29%, 17% and 8%), type 2 diabetes (33%, 16% and 11%) and cholesterol (254mg/dL, 176 mg/dL and 148 mg/dL).

The researchers also analyzed the relationship between waist size and the odds risk of greater problems from various urological, sexual, metabolic and cardiovascular problems. This showed that:

  • Men in the largest waist group had a 39% higher odds risk of prostate volume problems than men in the smallest waist group. The odds risk of higher prostate-specific antigen levels was 111% greater and the odds risk of a higher International Prostate Symptom Score was 68%.
  • The odds risk of erection problems was 132% higher and it was 202% higher for ejaculation problems. High blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and coronary artery disease were 131%, 188% and 250% higher.fore represent an easy diagnostic tool when it comes to the likelihood of male urinary problems.” (5,6)

Researchers in China also noted a prostate connection. In the journal Medicine (7) they wrote of the connection between obesity and metabolic syndrome and prostate disease making an association between metabolic syndrome and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) including prostate growth rate, prostate volume, International Prostate Symptom Score, prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level, and maximal flow rate.

If you are having overactive bladder issues, or men if you are suffering from prostate issues and bladder issues. Please consider contacting our office for appointment information.


  1. Tubaro A, Wagg A. Is there a link between overactive bladder and the metabolic syndrome in women? A systematic review of observational studies. Int J Clin Pract. 2015 Feb;69(2):199-217. doi: 10.1111/ijcp.12518. Epub 2014 Dec 11
    2. Boudokhane S, Marmouche H, Klii R, Jellad A, Mahjoub S, Ben Salah Frih Z. Urinary disorders and metabolic syndrome: prospective study Prog Urol. 2013 Apr;23(4):256-61.
    3. Lai HH, Helmuth ME, Smith AR, Wiseman JB, Gillespie BW, Kirkali Z. Relationship Between Central Obesity, General Obesity, Overactive Bladder Syndrome and Urinary Incontinence Among Male and Female Patients Seeking Care for Their Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms. Urology. 2019 Jan 1;123:34-43.
    4. Uzun H, Yilmaz A, Kemik A, Zorba OU, Kalkan M. Association of insulin resistance with overactive bladder in female patients. Int Neurourol J. 2012 Dec;16(4):181-6. doi: 10.5213/inj.2012.16.4.181. Epub 2012 Dec 31.
    6. Lee RK, Chung D, Chughtai B, et al. Central obesity as measured by waist circumference is predictive of severity of lower urinary tract symptoms. BJU International, 2012; 110 (4): 540 DOI: 10.1111/j.1464-410X.2011.10819.x
    7 Wang JY, Fu YY, Kang DY. The association between metabolic syndrome and characteristics of benign prostatic hyperplasia: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Medicine. 2016 May;95(19).


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