Men Who Exercise Least are Most
Likely to Wake Up to Urinate
physically active one or more hours per week were 13% less likely to
report nocturia, 34% less likely to report severe nocturia
2, 2014 - Men who are physically active are at lower risk of nocturia
(waking up at night to urinate), which is the most common and bothersome
lower urinary tract symptom in men, reports a new study. Nocturia
increases with age and is estimated to occur in more than 50 percent of
men 45 and older.
It can be due to an enlarged
prostate known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) in which the
enlarged prostate squeezes down on the urethra. Other causes include
overproduction of urine, low bladder capacity and sleep disturbances.
The researchers analyzed data from
a large, ongoing clinical trial called the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal
and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial (PLCO).
Men ages 55 to 74 were eligible for
the trial. The study included questions on BPH-related outcomes,
including enlarged prostate, elevated PSA levels and nocturia. PLCO also
asked men about physical activity and other lifestyle factors.
Wolin’s analysis included 28,404
men in the PLCO trial who had BPH outcomes before enrolling in the study
(prevalent group) and 4,710 men who had newly developed BPH (incident
Among men in the incident group,
those who were physically active one or more hours per week were 13
percent less likely to report nocturia and 34 percent less likely to
report severe nocturia than men who reported no physical activity.
Nocturia was defined as waking two
or more times during the night to urinate; severe nocturia was defined
as waking three or more times to urinate.
“Combined with other management
strategies, physical activity may provide a strategy for the management
of BPH-related outcomes, particularly nocturia,” Wolin and colleagues
There are several possible
mechanisms by which physical activity can protect against nocturia,
including reducing body size, improving sleep, decreasing sympathetic
nervous system activity and lowering levels of systemic inflammation.
Future studies should explore
physical activity as a potential symptom-management strategy, “with
particular attention to the dose of physical activity necessary and the
mechanisms that might underlie the association,” Wolin and colleagues
Wolin is an epidemiologist whose
research focuses on the role of lifestyle in reducing the risk of cancer
and other chronic diseases, and on improving outcomes. She is an
associate professor in the departments of Surgery and Public Health
Sciences of Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.
Co-authors of the study are Robert
Grubb III, Ratna Pakpahan, Gerald Andriole and Siobhan Sutcliffe of
Washington University in St. Louis; and Lawrence Ragard and Jerome Mabie,
who work in private industry.
The study is titled “Physical
Activity and Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia-Related Outcomes and Nocturia.”
It was supported by a grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and
Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
Loyola University Health System (LUHS)
is a member of Trinity Health in the western suburbs of Chicago.