Treat or Wait? Natural Perioperative Course of Overactive Bladder Symptoms at the Time of Midurethral Sling Placement

Bhumy Davé Heliker, Kimberly Kenton, Alix Komar, Margaret G. Mueller, Christina Lewicky Gaupp, Melinda Abernethy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE: The aims of this study were to describe the perioperative course of untreated overactive bladder (OAB) (urinary frequency [UF] and urgency urinary incontinence [UUI]) before and after isolated retropubic midurethral sling (MUS) and to identify the time point for spontaneous OAB symptom improvement in the most patients. METHODS: This is a prospective cohort study of women undergoing an isolated MUS. Women completed the Urogenital Distress Inventory 6 and Incontinence Impact Questionnaire 7 preoperatively and weekly for 13 weeks postoperatively. Bothersome UF and UUI were defined as a response of "moderately" or "greatly" bothered on questions 1 and 2 of the Urogenital Distress Inventory. The treatment for OAB was deferred until 13 weeks after surgery. RESULTS: Fifty-four women were included with a mean ± SD age of 48 ± 9 years. Preoperatively, 41% of women reported both bothersome UF and UUI. Six weeks after surgery, only 15% and 6% reported bothersome UF and UUI (P < 0.001 and P < 0.001, respectively). Between 6 and 13 weeks, percentages of bothersome symptoms remained low (11.7% UF and 5.8% UUI). In addition, the impact of these urinary symptoms on activities, relationships, and feelings became consistently negligible (Incontinence Impact Questionnaire 7 median score <1) at 5 weeks postoperatively. Only 3 women desired treatment for UUI after the study period. CONCLUSIONS: Overactive bladder is common before and immediately after MUS. However, the majority of patients have spontaneous symptom resolution by 6 weeks after surgery; it may be reasonable to discontinue preoperatively initiated overactive bladder treatment or defer starting treatment until this time point.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e348-e351
JournalFemale Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Urology

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