Greater daily temperature differences are associated with worsening lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) in men with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), new study data show.

The link emerged from a retrospective study analyzing the effect of changes in temperature on LUTS among 1,446,465 men with BPH in 6 metropolitan areas in Korea.

“The results of our study show that daily temperature differences are associated with the deterioration of symptoms in BPH patients,” a team led by Ji Hyeong Yu, MD, PhD, of Inje University Sanggye Paik Hospital in Seoul, reported in Urology. “Specifically, as the daily temperature difference increased, the urination symptoms of BPH patients worsened, while the number of patients who visited the emergency room increased, as did the number of patients who underwent urethral catheterization due to acute urinary retention (AUR).”

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For the study, Dr Yu and colleagues analyzed patient data obtained from Korea’s National Health Insurance Service database. They retrieved temperature information from the Korea Meteorological Administration database, from which they collected daily maximum, minimum, and day temperature differences for 10 years.

Dr Yu and colleagues found that a daily average of 28.5 patients visited an emergency department (ED) when daily temperature differences were less than 39.2° F (4° C), whereas a daily average of 42.2 patients visited an ED when daily temperature differences were greater than 57.2° F (14° C), an increase of about 48%. After visiting an ED, a daily average of 11.9 patients with AUR had a urethral catheter inserted at a daily temperature difference less than 39.2° F. When the daily temperature difference was greater than 57.2° F, the daily average number of urethral catheter insertion cases was 17.8, a 49% increase.

The association of BPH/LUTS with changes in temperature and climate are not yet fully understood, the authors noted, but one hypothesis is that cold stress increases sympathetic activity, and increased sympathetic nerve activity increases smooth muscle contraction of the prostate, which can lead to worsening LUTS and acute urinary retention.


Yuk HD, JO MK, Chang IH, et al. Day temperature difference and aggravation of low urinary tract symptom in benign prostate hypertrophy patients in Korea: a National Health Insurance Service-National Cohort-based study [published online April 10, 2020]. Urology. doi: 10.1016/j.urology.2020.03.040