Detrusor Underactivity and Underactive Bladder in Women: What Is New?

N. I. Osman*, K. H. Pang, F. Martens, T. Atunes-Lopes, B. Geavlete, T. Husch, M. Tutolo, M. S. Rahnama'i, T. Marcelissen, EAU Young Academic Urologists (YAU) Functional Urology Working Group

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Purpose of Review Detrusor underactivity (DU) and its symptom-based correlation, the underactive bladder (UAB), are common problems encountered in urological practice. Whilst DU has been defined for many years, only recently has UAB received a formal definition and there is now accumulating literature based on this condition. In this article, we reviewed the recent literature on the aetiology, pathogenesis, diagnosis and management of DU/UAB in women. Recent Findings Detrusor underactivity is diagnosed on urodynamic studies but there still remains a lack of widely recognised and accepted diagnostic criteria. Commencing treatment based on the diagnosis of UAB, with or without a PVR measurement, is perhaps feasible due to the lower occurrence of BOO in women and specific clinical features that may distinguish this group. Prospective studies attempting to correlate UAB with the underlying DU are needed before this approach could be considered. Detrusor underactivity/UAB in women requires a separate consideration from men due to the anatomical and functional differences in the lower urinary tracts between both genders and consequent differences in pathologies affecting them. The aetiology of DU remains largely unknown, but is probably multifactorial, including myogenic, neurogenic and vasculogenic factors. There remains a lack of any simple effective drug treatments, whilst apart from sacral neuromodulation for the specific subgroup with non-obstructive urinary retention, no safe and effective surgical treatment is currently available. Often, permanent or intermittent bladder drainage with a catheter is the final solution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)350-356
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Bladder Dysfunction Reports
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019


  • Detrusor underactivity
  • Acontractile detrusor
  • Underactive bladder

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