Dysfunctional voiding in women

J Urol. 2001 Jan;165(1):143-7; discussion 147-8. doi: 10.1097/00005392-200101000-00035.


Purpose: We characterized presenting symptoms and urodynamic findings in women with dysfunctional voiding.

Materials and methods: We reviewed the charts of 26 women diagnosed with dysfunctional voiding. Those with a known or suspected history of neurological disease before evaluation were excluded from study. All patients completed an American Urological Association symptom index, and scores were classified as total, storage (irritative) and emptying (obstructive). The diagnosis of dysfunctional voiding was made on multichannel video urodynamics. There was increased external sphincter activity during voiding. Presenting symptoms and urodynamic findings in all cases were summarized. In addition, symptoms and urodynamic findings in patients later diagnosed with occult neurological disease were compared with those in patients without neurological disease.

Results: Mean patient age was 39.2 years (range 19 to 79). Mean total American Urological Association-7 score was 24.4 of 35. Frequency and urgency were the most common presenting symptoms in 82% of cases. Mean storage score was 11.3 of 15 and mean voiding score was 13.2 of 20. Urge and stress incontinence was noted in 6 (23%) and 4 patients (15%), respectively, while 11 (42%) had a history of recurrent urinary tract infection. Cystometrography revealed detrusor instability in 11 cases (42%), sensory urgency in 11 (42%) and impaired compliance in 2 (8%), including 1 with instability. There was great variability in voiding parameters. Mean maximum urinary flow plus or minus standard deviation was 10.4 +/- 6.2 cc per second, mean detrusor pressure at maximum urinary flow was 50.3 +/- 23.5 cm. water and mean post-void residual urine volume was 103.4 +/- 120.0 cc. Video urodynamics prompted neurological evaluation, which revealed occult neurological disease in 5 patients who were then reclassified with external-detrusor sphincter dyssynergia.

Conclusions: Female patients presenting with lower urinary tract symptoms may have dysfunctional voiding patterns. Storage symptoms appear to be even more common than voiding symptoms in this study group. These patients tend to have decreased flow, increased voiding pressure and high post-void residual urine volume. However, there is wide variation in these parameters among individuals. Therefore, careful review of the voiding phase, including pelvic floor electromyography and the fluoroscopic appearance of the bladder outlet, is critical. Occult neurological disease should be suspected in patients with dysfunctional voiding.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Electromyography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pelvic Floor / physiopathology
  • Urinary Bladder, Neurogenic / diagnosis
  • Urinary Bladder, Neurogenic / physiopathology
  • Urinary Incontinence / diagnosis*
  • Urinary Incontinence / physiopathology
  • Urination Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Urination Disorders / physiopathology
  • Urodynamics / physiology
  • Video Recording