Neurologic diseases that cause female urinary retention

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Haruka Nakamura
Ryuji Sakakibara
Megumi Sugiyama
Fuyuki Tateno
Masashi Yano
Osamu Takahashi
Masahiko Kishi
Yohei Tsuyusaki
Hiromi Tateno
Yosuke Aiba
Takeshi Ogata
Tatsuya Yamamoto
Tomonori Yamanishi
Tomoyuki Uchiyama
Hiroyoshi Suzuki
Akihiko Tateno
Yasuo Suzuki


urinary retention, women, lumbar spondylosis, diabetes, multiple system atrophy


Objective: The pathogenesis of female urinary retention is not well known. Hence, we systematically investigated the frequency of diseases that underlie female urinary retention in a urodynamic laboratory.

Methods: We analyzed data from 450 consecutive female patients. Data registries included the diagnosis, lower urinary tract symptom questionnaires, urodynamic study results, and neurologic exam observations. Complete urinary retention is defined as mean post-void residual (PVR) urine volume > 100 ml with no voluntary void at all; whereas incomplete urinary retention is defined as mean PVR urine volume > 100 ml after voluntary partial void.

Results: Sixty of the 450 female patients visiting our lab (13%) had urinary retention with 4 (6.7%) of these having complete retention and 56 (93.3%) having incomplete retention. The most common underlying disease in these 60 patients was lumbar spondylosis (LS), 38.3% (with 16 patients having LS alone and 7  having LS & diabetic distal polyneuropathy [DPN]), multiple system atrophy (MSA), 18.3%, and DPN, 14.4% (with 2 patients having DPN alone and 7 having LS & DPN), followed by drug-induced retention (e.g., by antidepressants), 8.3%, acute myelitis of possible demyelinating origin, 5.0%, and other etiologies. An underactive detrusor was the major urodynamic findings in those patients.

Conclusion: The present study revealed that common etiologies for female urinary retention are neurologic, e.g., an underactive detrusor due to MSA, age-related LS, and lifestyle-related DPN. Therefore LS and DPN, both common diseases, should also become major treatment targets in order to maximize patients’ quality of life. 


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