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Voiding dysfunction is abnormal urination resulting in urinary retention, frequency and a slow or interrupted stream. Voiding dysfunction may be due to previous pelvic surgeries, vaginal prolapse, pelvic trauma, lower spine or other nerve dysfunction, presence of pelvic masses/tumors, poor toileting habits, or emotional or psychological stress resulting in involuntary contractions of the pelvic floor muscles.

Symptoms of Voiding Dysfunction

Symptoms of voiding dysfunction include frequent/urgent urination, a slow or interrupted urinary stream,  urinary incontinence, pain in the back or abdomen, or repeated urinary tract infections. Your doctor will conduct a physical examination, urinalysis, measure the residual urine in your bladder after voiding with a catheter or bladder ultrasound and may order other tests including urodynamics to determine voiding function.

Treatment of Voiding Dysfunction

The treatment of voiding dysfunction is based on the underlying cause. Your doctor  may recommend:

  • Voiding on a pre-determined schedule
  • Double and triple voiding – after your initial void, attempts to get more urine out
  • Medications to either relax the bladder sphincter muscle or increase bladder muscle contraction strength
  • Laxatives to prevent constipation
  • Physical Therapy to help you learn how to relax the pelvic floor muscles and learn behavioral techniques to help you empty your bladder more effectively.
  • Catheterizing yourself on a regular basis to prevent bladder overdistention