Just read an article in the March-April 2011 edition of the JABFM. It's a study showing that nighttime urination (called nocturia) in patients with benign prostate enlargement (BPE) may suggest the presence of co-existing obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
The reason the authors did this study is because nocturia can be a common reason for interrupted sleep in adults. My clinical experience and research data has shown that untreated OSA can cause nocturia. Studies have shown that the more severe the OSA, the more nocturia. Use of CPAP can drastically reduce the number of nocturia episodes caused by OSA. Nocturia is also common in men with BPE.
The study is cross-sectional and examined men between 55-75 years old who had BPE and nocturia based on chart review. There was a control sample of similar aged men without BPE. Symptoms of OSA were assessed using a validated questionnaire administered via telephone.
Based on the results of the OSA screening, participants were classified as either high or low risk of having OSA. The results showed that in those with BPE and nocturia had a high probability of falling into the high-risk group via OSA screening. The more nocturia episodes per night that the men reported, the higher the odds that those men would be high risk for OSA symptoms. What this means is that if a physician assumes that nocturia is from BPE, that doctor might not think of OSA. The study results suggest that in patients with nocturia, even with BPE, physicians should consider testing for OSA.
So if you suffer from nocturia, even with an enlarged prostate, consider talking to your doctor about getting tested for OSA.