Sleep Disorder May Spur Men to Head to Bathroom at Night

Treating sleep apnea in men with enlarged prostate might reduce trips to relieve themselves

FRIDAY, March 18 (HealthDay News) -- Obstructive sleep apnea may be the underlying cause of awakening and urination in men with enlarged prostates, a new study suggests.

The study included men aged 55 to 75 who were diagnosed with benign prostate enlargement (BPE) and reported nighttime urination (nocturia) at least once nightly. They were compared to a control group of same-age men who had no BPE and one or no nocturia episodes per night.

The Israeli researchers found that 57.8 percent of the men with BPE may have obstructive sleep apnea and that the sleep disorder may be the actual cause of the sleep awakenings the men believe are caused by the need to urinate. Obstructive sleep apnea is characterized by snoring, pauses in a person's breathing that cause awakenings, and also daytime sleepiness.

The study, by the team at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, is published in the March/April issue of the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine.

"If nocturia severity in BPE patients is actually a pre-existing sleep disorder, this can now be treated and help improve patients' quality of life," Dr. Howard Tandeter, a researcher in the family medicine department, said in a university news release.

If patients with BPE report frequent nighttime awakenings to urinate, doctors should suspect obstructive sleep apnea as a possible cause and treat accordingly, Tandeter recommended.

"Even among those patients with well-defined medical reasons for nocturia, sleep disorders may still be found as the source of most awakenings," he said. "Therefore, the diagnosis of a sleep disorder should be seriously considered whenever a patient reports frequent awakenings from sleep to urinate since the problem is treatable."

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has more about enlarged prostate.

Robert Preidt SOURCE: Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, news release, March 15, 2011

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