Is Detrusor Contraction during Rapid Bladder Filling Caused by Cold or Warm Water? A Randomized, Controlled, Double-Blind Trial

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We investigated whether detrusor contraction during rapid bladder filling is provoked by cold or warm water.

Materials and Methods

Patients with neurogenic lower urinary tract dysfunction were included in this randomized, controlled, double-blind trial. At the end of a standard urodynamic investigation patients underwent 2 bladder fillings using a 4C ice water test or a 36C warm water test saline solution at a filling speed of 100 ml per minute. The order was randomly selected, and patients and investigators were blinded to the order. The primary outcome measure was detrusor overactivity, maximum detrusor pressure and maximum bladder filling volume during the ice and warm water tests.


Nine women and 31 men were the subject of data analysis. Neurogenic lower urinary tract dysfunction was caused by spinal cord injury in 33 patients and by another neurological disorder in 7. Irrespective of test order detrusor overactivity occurred significantly more often during the ice water test than during the warm water test (30 of 40 patients or 75% vs 25 of 40 or 63%, p = 0.02). When comparing the ice water test to the warm water test, maximum detrusor pressure was significantly higher and maximum bladder filling volume was significantly lower during the ice water test (each p <0.001). The order of performing the tests (ice water first vs warm water first) had no effect on the parameters.


Our findings imply that the more frequent detrusor overactivity, higher maximum detrusor pressure and lower bladder filling volume during the ice water test compared to the warm water test were caused by cold water. This underlies the theory of a C-fiber mediated bladder cooling reflex in humans.

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