Pathophysiology and subjective symptoms in women with impaired bladder emptying

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To assess the pathophysiology and subjective symptoms in female patients with impaired bladder emptying.


Eighty-three consecutive female patients attending a urology clinic with postvoid residual urine of more than 100 mL were recruited. Free uroflowmetry, measurement of postvoid residual urine and pressure-flow study were performed in all patients. The detailed assessment of subjective symptoms and their bothersomeness to the patients were assessed using a self-administered questionnaire comprising 12 items: five associated with voiding symptoms, five with storage symptoms, and two with discomfort and pain on voiding. The questionnaire was applied to 83 patients with impaired bladder emptying, 41 patients with urinary incontinence, and 21 normal controls.


Although 77% of the patients with impaired bladder emptying consulted a urology clinic because of voiding symptoms, the remaining 23% complained of storage symptoms or symptoms other than lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS). The pressure-flow study revealed the pathophysiology of impaired bladder emptying as impaired detrusor contraction in 68 patients (81.9%), and bladder outlet obstruction in 12 patients (14.8%). The assessment of subjective symptoms using the questionnaire revealed that the patients with urinary incontinence showed a high frequency only in storage symptoms; however, those with impaired bladder emptying revealed a high frequency not only in voiding but also in storage symptoms.


Female patients with impaired bladder emptying present with a wide range of lower urinary tract symptoms associated with both voiding and storage symptoms. To determine an appropriate treatment modality, the correct diagnosis of the underlying pathophysiology of impaired bladder emptying by pressure-flow study is of primary importance.

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