Multidisciplinary treatment for functional urological disorders with psychosomatic comorbidity in a tertiary pelvic care center-A retrospective cohort study

V. van Knippenberg, C. Leue, D. Vrijens, G. vanKoeveringe*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background Functional urological disorders are highly prevalent, frequently interrelated, and characterized by a chronic course and considerable treatment resistance. From our point of view, poor treatment outcomes are often attributable to underlying but undetected mental disorders. Objective To investigate the effect of integrated outpatient care by a urologist and a psychiatrist on the symptomatology of patients with functional urological disorders in a tertiary referral Pelvic Care Centre. Setting Retrospective observational cohort study in functional urological disorders in combination with psychosomatic co-morbidity. When treatment by a urologist alone was not sufficient, the suitability for a multidisciplinary approach was considered i) if there was a susceptibility for psychiatric comorbidity, ii) if diagnostic procedures did not reveal a treatable somatic cause, or iii) if multiple failed somatic treatments did not relieve complaints. Patients underwent urological treatments before, without reduction of complaints, no treatable somatic cause could be found after diagnostic procedures; or patients suffered from psychiatric comorbidity. Method Outcome was measured using patient global impression of improvement, hospitality anxiety and depression scale (HADS), global assessment of functioning (GAF), and a health consumption questionnaire. Results A significant reduction in HADS-depression score was found (p = 0.001) after multidisciplinary treatment. The GAF score increased from 61 to 80, leading to no more than slight impairment in social, occupational, or school functioning. Patients reported their situation as better in comparison with before multidisciplinary treatment. An association was found between pelvic pain and anxiety (p = 0.032) and panic disorder (p = 0.040). Psychological trauma was found to be associated with depression (p = 0.044), with an odds ratio of 2.93 (1.01-8.50). Psychological trauma coincided in 62.3% of patients with urological pain syndromes and in 83.3% with pelvic pain. Conclusion Overall results indicate that functional urological patients, previously refractory to urological treatment, benefit from an integrated care approach by urologists and psychiatrists. Explanation about the bladder-brain axis and the alarm falsification model enlightens understanding of urological and psychological contributions to functional syndromes and creates an opportunity for integrated care.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1012-1024
Number of pages13
JournalNeurourology and Urodynamics
Issue number4
Early online date29 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022


  • anxiety
  • bladder pain syndrome
  • chronic pelvic pain
  • depression
  • integrated care
  • mental disorders
  • overactive bladder


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