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Urinary retention in sexually abused women
Clinical Professor of Surgery, Department of Surgery, Division of Urology, Unive
Dec  1995 (Vol.  2, Issue  4, Pages( 185 - 188)


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  • Urinary retention is generally believed to be the result of neurogenic or non-neurogenic problems. In men, it is often caused by benign prostatic hypertrophy which can be treated by transurethral surgery.1 In women, however, studies have shown that urinary retention is usually caused by detrusor dysfunction rather than obstruction. Surgery on the urethra or bladder neck is, therefore, inappropriate and ineffective. Once the cause of retention has been determined (i.e whether neurogenic or non-neurogenic in origin), appropriate treatment can be decided upon. The most common neurogenic problems are diabetes mellitus, multiple sclerosis and spinal cord pathologies.¹ Patients with non-neurogenic etiology associated with urinary retention are often found to have psychosocial problems that inhibit detrusor activity causing psychogenic retention.1-4 Studies have found that woman with a history of psychosis, depression and stress/anxiety have a higher incidence of urinary retention than woman with no history of such conditions. Psychological problems involving the loss of loved one, recent marriage break-up, abortion, pelvic surgery, etc. have been found to contribute to the incidence of urinary retention. There is another group of women who may or may not exhibit psychological problems associated with psychogenic urinary retention, but who may develop the same physical manifestations. These women have been sexually abused and have not fully resolved or realized the trauma of the assault. This paper looks at four cases or urinary retention in sexually abused woman, the treatments used and the results and conclusions obtained.