Herpes zoster induced neuropathic bladder--a case report

Kaohsiung J Med Sci. 2002 Jan;18(1):39-44.


Herpes zoster infection involving the sacral dermatomes has been associated with bladder dysfunction and, although rarely, with acute urinary retention. Less than 150 cases have been reported in the literature. After reviewing our institute's chart records covering a period of time dating from 1991 to 2001, we found that three of our patients had developed acute urinary retention following herpes zoster skin lesions of the S2-4 dermatomes. Herein we report our findings. These three patients had previously been found to have normal voiding status. However, at the time of complaint urodynamic studies revealed detrusor areflexia or detrusor hyporeflexia with decreased sensation of bladder filling. After micturation recovery, repeat urodynamic studies revealed detrusor pressure and bladder sensation recovery. After one to six weeks of treatment, all three patients could void spontaneously without catheterization. We found that, when treated with antiviral medication, supportive analgesics, and temporary urinary drainage, which included urethral catheterization and suprapubic cystostomy, acute urinary retention associated with herpes zoster has a generally favorable prognosis. In other words, we found that in spite of its rarity, herpes zoster induced neuropathic bladder dysfunction is reversible when treated appropriately.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Herpes Zoster / complications*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Urinary Bladder, Neurogenic / etiology*