NICE issues first male urinary tract guidance

'Vital' guidance for treating men with lower urinary tract symptoms will standardise care across the country, NICE says.

NICE hopes the guideline, the first of its kind, will standardise care across the country and encourage more men to seek care if concerned about symptoms.

Lower urinary tract symptoms include needing to urinate urgently or frequently, hesitancy and incontinence. About a quarter of men over 40 years old suffer lower urinary tract symptoms but many are too embarrassed to seek help.

However, these may be caused by underlying health concerns such as UTI or prostate cancer.

Dr Fergus Macbeth, director of the centre for clinical practice at NICE, said: ‘As the prevalence of these symptoms increases with age, and with life expectancy on the rise in Britain, it is vital that the NHS uses the treatments and management techniques that are proven to work best.'

In the guideline, NICE advises that GPs should examine the abdomen and genitals of a patient who is concerned about his symptoms.

The patient should also be asked to record his symptoms in a ‘bladder diary' and offered a urine test and a digital rectal examination. If abnormalities are detected, or if a patient is concerned about cancer, he should be referred for PSA testing.

The guideline also advises that healthcare professionals should not offer homeopathy, acupuncture, or herbal or plant based treatments for these symptoms as the evidence does not support their use, NICE said.

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