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The possible role of opiates in women with chronic urinary retention: observations from a prospective clinical study


Panicker, Jalesh N; Game, Xavier; Khan, Shahid; Kessler, Thomas M; Gonzales, Gwen; Elneil, Sohier; Fowler, Clare J (2012). The possible role of opiates in women with chronic urinary retention: observations from a prospective clinical study. Journal of Urology, 188(2):480-484.

Abstract

PURPOSE: Urinary retention in women often presents a diagnostic difficulty, and the etiology may remain unidentified even after excluding structural and neurological causes. We evaluated a group of women referred to a specialist center with unexplained urinary retention.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: A total of 61 consecutive women with complete urinary retention were evaluated. Urological and neurological investigations locally had failed to identify a cause. Urethral pressure profile, sphincter volume measurement and in some cases urethral sphincter electromyography were performed to diagnose a primary disorder of sphincter relaxation (Fowler's syndrome).
RESULTS: Mean patient age was 39 years (range 18 to 88). Following investigations, a probable etiology was identified in 25 (41%) women, the most common being Fowler's syndrome. Of the women 24 (39%) were being treated with opiates for various pain syndromes and in 13 no other cause of retention was identified. Opiates could be discontinued in only 2 patients, and both demonstrated improved sensations and voiding.
CONCLUSIONS: The cause of urinary retention may remain unknown in spite of extensive investigations. Young women regularly using prescription opiates for various undiagnosed pain syndromes present a challenging clinical problem and this study suggests that iatrogenic causes should be considered if voiding difficulties emerge. An association between opiate use and constipation is well-known and, although urinary retention is a listed adverse event, it appears to be often overlooked in clinical practice. It is hypothesized that Fowler's syndrome is due to an up-regulation of spinal cord enkephalins and that exogenous opiates may compound any functional abnormalities predisposing young women to urinary retention.

Abstract

PURPOSE: Urinary retention in women often presents a diagnostic difficulty, and the etiology may remain unidentified even after excluding structural and neurological causes. We evaluated a group of women referred to a specialist center with unexplained urinary retention.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: A total of 61 consecutive women with complete urinary retention were evaluated. Urological and neurological investigations locally had failed to identify a cause. Urethral pressure profile, sphincter volume measurement and in some cases urethral sphincter electromyography were performed to diagnose a primary disorder of sphincter relaxation (Fowler's syndrome).
RESULTS: Mean patient age was 39 years (range 18 to 88). Following investigations, a probable etiology was identified in 25 (41%) women, the most common being Fowler's syndrome. Of the women 24 (39%) were being treated with opiates for various pain syndromes and in 13 no other cause of retention was identified. Opiates could be discontinued in only 2 patients, and both demonstrated improved sensations and voiding.
CONCLUSIONS: The cause of urinary retention may remain unknown in spite of extensive investigations. Young women regularly using prescription opiates for various undiagnosed pain syndromes present a challenging clinical problem and this study suggests that iatrogenic causes should be considered if voiding difficulties emerge. An association between opiate use and constipation is well-known and, although urinary retention is a listed adverse event, it appears to be often overlooked in clinical practice. It is hypothesized that Fowler's syndrome is due to an up-regulation of spinal cord enkephalins and that exogenous opiates may compound any functional abnormalities predisposing young women to urinary retention.

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13 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Balgrist University Hospital, Swiss Spinal Cord Injury Center
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:August 2012
Deposited On:21 Feb 2013 08:32
Last Modified:07 Dec 2017 19:47
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0022-5347
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.juro.2012.04.011
PubMed ID:22704100

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