To evaluate the impact of lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) on urinary-specific health-related quality of life (HRQL), generic health indices, depression and anxiety in a population-representative sample of men and women, as research has linked LUTS with reduced HRQL and depression, but little is known about the effects of individual LUTS on HRQL, depression and anxiety.
A cross-sectional population-representative survey was conducted via the Internet in the USA, the UK and Sweden. Participants rated the frequency and symptom-specific bother of individual LUTS and condition-specific HRQL, generic health status, anxiety and depression. Descriptive statistics were used to evaluate outcome differences by International Continence Society LUTS subgroups; logistic regressions were used to determine associations of LUTS and perception of bladder problems, anxiety and depression.
The overall survey response rate was 59.2%; 30 000 subjects (14 139 men and 15 861 women) participated. Men and women with LUTS in the all LUTS subgroup (storage, voiding and postmicturition) reported the lowest levels of HRQL and highest levels of anxiety and depression, with 35.9% of men and 53.3% of women meeting self-reported screening criteria for clinical anxiety (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, HADS, Anxiety > or =8), and 29.8% of men and 37.6% of women meeting self-reported criteria for clinical depression (HADS Depression > or =8). In both men and women, storage symptoms were significantly associated with greater perceived bladder impact, whereas voiding symptoms were not. Significant predictors of anxiety included nocturia, urgency, stress urinary incontinence, leaking during sexual activity, weak stream and split stream in women; and nocturia, urgency, incomplete emptying and bladder pain in men. For depression, weak stream, urgency and stress urinary incontinence were significant for women, and perceived frequency and incomplete emptying were significant for men.
The negative effect of LUTS is apparent across several domains of HRQL and on overall perception of bladder problems, general health status and mental health. The high level of psychiatric morbidity in patients with multiple LUTS has important implications for treatment and highlights the need for further research to pinpoint specific mechanisms underlying this association.