Generations of urologists have presumed that the cause of lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) in men is infravesical (prostatic) obstruction. When symptoms such as urinary urgency and frequency can't easily be explained directly by obstruction, secondary effects of obstruction on the bladder are identified as causative factors. Although to some extent this explanation may still be accurate, emerging concepts in the pathophysiology of LUTS in men may be at odds with these traditional explanations. The idea that primary bladder pathology may explain the symptom complex in at least one subset of men with LUTS has both experimental and clinical support. This review discusses the physiologic and clinical observations used to explain the mechanisms underlying LUTS. Specifically, this review focuses on two data sets: one supporting infravesical obstruction as the causative factor for LUTS, and another positing that a primary bladder abnormality is responsible.
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