Urinary retention due to herpes virus infections

Neurourol Urodyn. 1998;17(6):613-9. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1520-6777(1998)17:6<613::aid-nau5>3.0.co;2-2.


Urinary retention is uncommon in patients with herpes zoster and anogenital herpes simplex. Seven patients (four men, three women) with a mean age of 68.1 years (range, 35-84) with urinary retention due to herpes zoster (n = 6) or anogenital herpes simplex (n = 1) were studied. Six patients had unilateral skin eruption in the saddle area (S2-4 dermatome) and one patient with herpes zoster had a skin lesion in the L4-5 dermatome. All patients had detrusor areflexia without bladder sensation, and two of them had inactive external sphincter on electromyography at presentation. Clean intermittent catheterization was performed, and voiding function was recovered in 4-6 weeks (average, 5.4) in all patients. Urodynamic study was repeated after recovery of micturition in three patients, and they returned to normal on cystometrography and external sphincter electromyography. Acute urinary retention associated with anogenital herpes infection has been thought to occur when the meninges or sacral spinal ganglia were involved, and, in conclusion, this condition may be considered to be reversible.

MeSH terms

  • Acyclovir / therapeutic use
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anal Canal / virology
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use
  • Dermatitis / pathology
  • Dermatitis / virology
  • Female
  • Genitalia / virology
  • Herpes Simplex / complications*
  • Herpes Simplex / drug therapy
  • Herpes Zoster / complications*
  • Herpes Zoster / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Urinary Retention / physiopathology
  • Urinary Retention / virology*
  • Urination / physiology
  • Urodynamics / physiology


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Acyclovir