Female underactive bladder: current status and management
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Underactive bladder (UAB) is defined by the International Continence Society as a symptom complex characterized by a slow urinary stream, hesitancy, and straining to void, with or without a feeling of incomplete bladder emptying sometimes with storage symptoms. Until recently, the topic has received little attention in the literature probably due to a lack of consistent definitions and diagnostic criteria.

Published in the Indian Journal of Urology, the authors have published a review paper related to the diagnosis and management of UAB, specifically in female patients. UAB is a common clinical entity, occurring in up to 45% of females depending on definitions used. Prevalence increases significantly in elderly women and women who live in long-term care facilities.

The exact etiology and pathophysiology for developing UAB is unknown, though it is likely a multifactorial process with contributory neurogenic, cardiovascular, and idiopathic causes. There are currently no validated questionnaires for diagnosing or monitoring treatment for patients with UAB. Management options for females with UAB remain limited, with clean intermittent catheterization, the most commonly used. No pharmacotherapies have consistently been proven to be beneficial.

Neuromodulation has had the most promising results in terms of symptom improvement, with newer technologies such as stem-cell therapy and gene therapy requiring more evidence before widespread use. Although UAB has received increased recognition and has been a focus of research in recent years, there remains a lack of diagnostic and therapeutic tools.

Future research goals should include the development of targeted therapeutic interventions based on pathophysiologic mechanisms and validated diagnostic questionnaires.

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