Insulin Resistance and Urinary Symptoms

December 24, 2014

Two new studies have found that metabolic syndrome and weight loss surgery can independently affect urinary symptoms.

Scientists have linked metabolic syndrome with an increased frequency and severity of lower urinary tract symptoms. In addition, new research suggests weight loss surgery could improve urinary tract problems.

The findings were detailed in two separate studies published this month in BJU International and could provide insight into understanding the complexities and possible treatments of lower urinary tract symptoms in obese women.

Key Points:

- A new study has linked metabolic syndrome with the increased frequency and severity of lower urinary tract symptoms.

- Results of a separate study suggest weight loss surgery improves urinary tract problems.

- These findings show that insulin resistance may be related to urinary tract symptoms some women experience.

The first study, which linked metabolic syndrome to lower urinary tract symptoms, such as increased urinary frequency and urgency, relied on male patients aged 55 to 100, but the authors noted the results could provide insight into the larger public health landscape, including treating obese women with similar symptoms.

Metabolic syndrome was reported in 51.5% of the study group, with 47% being treated for lower urinary tract symptoms. In addition, researchers found that the risk to be treated for lower urinary tract symptoms also increased with increasing number of metabolic syndrome components.

In the weight loss surgery study, researchers found that postsurgical patients saw significant improvements in lower urinary tract symptoms, among other benefits in their health. The reduced urinary tract symptoms seemed to occur quickly after undergoing surgery and did not appear to be linked to the time, course, or degree of weight loss, the authors reported. Instead, the benefits appeared to be linked to improvements in insulin resistance.

“What has been a surprise and what is potentially so important is that so many problems, including issues related to urinary function, improve so quickly after bariatric surgery, even before great weight loss has occurred,” said senior author Andrew Kennedy-Smith, FRACS, of Wellington Hospital, in a news release. “The relationship we have found between these symptoms and insulin resistance is of considerable potential importance. This finding calls into question our fundamental understanding of why these problems arise, and therefore how they might best be treated.”