Underactive bladder (UAB) is a symptom syndrome reflecting the urodynamic observation of detrusor underactivity (DU), a voiding contraction of reduced strength and/or duration, leading to prolonged or incomplete bladder emptying. An International Continence Society Working Group has described UAB as characterised by a slow urinary stream, hesitancy and straining to void, with or without a feeling of incomplete bladder emptying and dribbling, often with storage symptoms. Since DU often coexists with bladder outlet obstruction, or storage dysfunction (detrusor overactivity or incontinence), the exact contribution of the DU to the presenting complaints can be difficult to establish. The presence of voiding and post voiding lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) is implicitly expected in UAB, but a reduced sensation of fullness is reported by some patients, and storage LUTS are also an important factor in many affected patients. These may result from a postvoid residual, but often they do not. The storage LUTS are often the key driver in leading the patient to seek healthcare input. Nocturia is particularly common and bothersome, but what the role of DU is in all the range of influences on nocturia has not been established. Qualitative research has established a broad impact on everyday life as a result of these symptoms. In general, people appear to manage the voiding LUTS relatively well, but the storage LUTS may be problematic.
- Centre for Surgical Research