Bothersome lower urinary tract symptoms 1 year after first delivery: prevalence and the effect of childbirth.BJU Int. 2006 Jul; 98(1):89-95.BI
To assess the severity of both stress urinary incontinence (SUI) and overactive bladder (OAB) symptoms during and after the first pregnancy, using a self-reported health-related quality-of-life questionnaire, and to assess the effect of pregnancy and childbirth on bothersome lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) persisting at 1 year after the first childbirth.
PATIENTS AND METHODS
In a prospective cohort study, 344 women completed four self-reported questionnaires. Urogenital symptoms were assessed with the Urogenital Distress Inventory (UDI), assessing if a urogenital symptom is present and the amount of bother it causes, measured on a 4-point Likert scale, i.e. 'not at all', 'slightly', 'moderately' and 'greatly bothered'. Bothersome LUTS were defined as reporting moderate or great bother from the symptom, and as not bothersome if it was absent or present with none or only a slight degree of self-reported bother. In the analysis we used three of the five subscales from the UDI; UI, OAB and obstructive voiding, where each subscale has a range of 0 (no symptom) to 100 (all symptoms present with the highest degree of bother).
Of the 344 women, 83 (24.2%) reported having a moderate to greatly bothersome frequency symptom at 36 weeks of gestation. After childbirth there was a statistically significant decline in the prevalence of bothersome frequency to 38 (9.6%) women (P < 0.001). Bothersome SUI was present in 53 (15.4%) women at 36 weeks of gestation, and in 36 (10.5%) at 1 year after childbirth. Fifty-eight (16.9%) women reported having moderate to greatly bothersome urge UI (UUI) and at 1 year after childbirth, 51 (14.8%) were still bothered by it. After univariate and multivariate analysis, the predictive factors for the presence of bothersome SUI were greater maternal age (32.5 vs 30.3 years old at delivery) and the presence of bothersome SUI at 12 weeks of gestation. Bothersome UUI was significantly associated with a lower educational level (odds ratio 0.08, 95% confidence interval 0.02-0.36). Women after a Caesarean delivery had more bothersome UUI and women after a spontaneous vaginal delivery developed more bothersome SUI (neither statistically significant, possibly because there were too few samples). During pregnancy, all UDI subscale scores increased significantly and after childbirth all scores decreased significantly vs 36 weeks of gestation. However, the score on the UI subscale remained significantly higher at 1 year after birth than at 12 weeks of gestation, whereas the scores on the OAB and obstructive voiding subscales were lower at 1 year after birth than at 12 weeks of gestation. Nevertheless, the scores for UI and obstructive voiding were low, indicating little bother.
Most women are not bothered by their LUTS after their first delivery. As the prevalence of bothersome symptoms was highest at 36 weeks of gestation, they are probably part of a normal pregnancy. However, OAB symptoms can be perceived as bothersome. Physiotherapy and bladder training can be offered to women with bothersome LUTS. Bothersome SUI in early pregnancy and a greater maternal age were predictive of bothersome SUI at 1 year after first childbirth. A Caesarean delivery seemed to be protective for bothersome SUI at 1 year after birth, but bothersome UUI was more prevalent after a Caesarean than a vaginal delivery. More research with a larger sample is needed to allow definite statements about the effect of the mode of delivery and bothersome UI symptoms.