Urinary problems more prevalent in south Asians

South Asian men over 40 are more likely than white men to have urinary symptoms, but are only half as likely to seek help, UK researchers have found.  

The study of 7,810 men aged over 40 showed that the 409 men who were Asian were around twice as likely as white men to complain of ‘storage’ problems, including frequency, nocturia and urge and stress incontinence.  

Asian men were more than twice as likely to complain about straining when voiding than white men, but were at no increased risk of weak urinary stream.  

The increased level of symptoms remained when the researchers controlled for age, general health and socioeconomic status.  

However, while 53 per cent of white men sought medical help for their condition, only 25 per cent of South Asians did the same.  

Hertfordshire GP Professor Mike Kirby, who has a special interest in urology, said higher rates of diabetes or cardiovascular disease in South Asian men might explain the high incidence of urinary problems in this group.  

‘These patients might have undiagnosed type-2 diabetes or impaired fasting glucose which means they are likely to pass more urine and to have overactive bladders,’ he said.  

Atherosclerosis could also cause bladder muscle ischaemia in these men, he suggested.   

Researchers from the team from the Mid-Yorkshire Hospitals Trust and the University of Leicester that carried out the research suggested that a cultural reluctance to discuss urinary symptoms in addition to low awareness of treatments may explain why Asian men were less likely to see their GP. 

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