Urinary Retention in Women: Causes and Management
Objectives: Urinary retention in women is uncommon and there are numerous etiological factors. Most reported studies are from Europe and North America, with few studies from developing countries. The aim of this study was to review the etiology of urinary retention in women referred
to our institution, a public sector hospital serving a largely indigent population.
Patients and Methods: We reviewed the clinical records of all patients admitted with urinary retention to the Urology wards in our hospital during the period September 1998 to June 2007. In total there were 589 patients with urinary retention, 558 (94.7%) men and 31 (5.3%) women.
Results: The average age of the 31 women was 51.9 years (range 20 to 88 years). The underlying pathology was cervical carcinoma (4 patients), urethral carcinoma (4), transitional cell carcinoma of the bladder (3), eosinophilic cystitis (3), hematuria due to miscellaneous causes (3), antiincontinence surgery (2), cerebral palsy (2), multiple sclerosis (1 patient), diabetes mellitus (1), hypotonic detrusor (1), bladder stone (1), vaginal leiomyoma (1), cyclophosphamide cystitis (1), constipation (1), postpartum (1), blocked indwelling catheter and idiopathic (1). Renal dysfunction was present in 17 (55%) of the patients.
Conclusion: The most common causes of urinary retention in women in this study were malignancy in 11 patients (36%) and neuropathic bladder dysfunction in 5 (16%). Eosinophilic cystitis, normally a rare condition, was diagnosed in 3 women (10%). The high incidence of malignancy in this study differs from other reported series, in which neuropathic bladder dysfunction was the most common cause of urinary retention in women.
Key Words : Urinary retention, women, etiology