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Urinary symptoms and urodynamics following obstetric genitourinary fistula repair

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Introduction and hypothesis

The aim of this study was to evaluate urinary symptoms and urodynamic diagnoses in women following repair of obstetric fistula of the lower urinary tract.


Women with previous genital tract fistula and ongoing urinary symptoms were evaluated at the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital. The women were referred to the Urodynamic Unit by doctors reviewing women at the hospital. Consecutive women between December 2008 and September 2009 were assessed (including urodynamic studies) and data collected


One hundred and fifty-four women were referred for urodynamic assessment. Only women with previous obstetric fistula were included in the study. Of the 154 women, 5 were excluded from the study—1 declined the assessment, 1 had a non-obstetric fistula and 3 were found to have recurrence of the fistula. Forty-nine percent had urodynamic stress incontinence only, 3 % had detrusor overactivity only and 43 % had both urodynamic stress incontinence and detrusor overactivity. Five percent of women had neither detrusor overactivity nor urodynamic stress incontinence. Seven percent had post-void residual volume of 150 ml or more.


Non-surgical management of post-obstetric fistula urinary symptoms may be neglected. The reduced success rates in surgery for post-obstetric fistula urinary incontinence may be due to the lack of attention to the other reasons for urinary symptoms and markedly impaired urethral function. Urethral closure pressures in this group of women often did not reflect the severity of urinary incontinence.

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The authors (JG and HK) wish to thank the hospital administrators for their kind invitation to re-visit the hospital and to conduct this study. Since the recent changes in hospital administration, the authors have had confirmation of approval to publish the results by Dr Catherine Hamlin, co-founder of Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital.

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Correspondence to Judith T. W. Goh.

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Goh, J.T.W., Krause, H., Tessema, A.B. et al. Urinary symptoms and urodynamics following obstetric genitourinary fistula repair. Int Urogynecol J 24, 947–951 (2013).

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