Voiding dysfunction basically means, the inability to empty the bladder properly. For women (and also men), the lower urinary tract includes a bladder and urethra. The bladder stores the urine. When it is full, it signals the brain and the brain tells you to empty the bladder. If the coordination is poor between the bladder and the urethra, all the urine in the bladder will not emptied.
The International Continence Society and International Urogynaecological Association defines female voiding dysfunction as “abnormally slow and/or incomplete micturition (voiding) based on symptoms and urogynamic investigations”.
Symptoms of voiding dysfunction:
- Difficulty in emptying the bladder
- Slow release of urine (the person will have less control)
- Urinary hesitancy
- Urinary urgency
- Frequently visiting toilet for urination
- Dribbling of urine.
What causes voiding dysfunction?
Voiding dysfunction could be due to two primary reasons:
- Detrusor Hypoactivity: A condition in which the detrusor muscle of the bladder could have become weak and hence the bladder is not able to compress and send urine out.
- Bladder outlet obstruction: A condition where the detrusor muscle is healthy but the voiding is interrupted because of a narrow orifice or urethra.
Voiding dysfunction can also occur because of a host of neurological conditions like multiple sclerosis, parkinsons disease, ascending myelitis like GBS etc., Obstruction usually occurs in states where the urethra is devoid of adequate blood flow and atrophies as in post-menopausal states.
Diagnosis & treatment of voiding dysfunction:
Evaluation by the urologist or urogynecologist may include tests such as uroflowmetry, post-void residual and pressure flow studies.
Treatment will vary depending on the individual and the cause of the problem. Possible treatments include:
- Pelvic floor therapy
- Intermittent self-catheterization
- Muscle relaxants or placement of a neuro-modulation device
- Treatment with laser beam helps in breaking adhesions and relieves obstruction.