Psychosexual study of women with detrusor instability

Mark D. Walters, Stephanie Taylor, Lawrence S. Schoenfeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


Clinical impression suggests that many cases of detrusor instability are psychosomatic. We evaluated 63 women with urinary incontinence and 27 continent controls using the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, Uplift and Hassle Scales, and a structured questionnaire screening sexual dysfunction. All incontinent women underwent diagnostic urodynamic studies including uroflowmetry, subtracted water cystometry with provocation, and urethral closure pressure profilometry. Thirty-five women had genuine stress incontinence and 28 had detrusor instability, including nine with mixed incontinence. No differences in psychological test results were noted between the detrusor-instability and genuine-stress-incontinence groups. On the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, subjects with detrusor instability scored significantly higher than controls on the hypochondriasis (P=.006), depression (P=.01), and hysteria (P=.0009) scales. Compared with continent controls, the detrusor-instability group reported a lower frequency of uplifts (P < .05) and a greater intensity of hassles (P<.05). Both incontinent groups reported more sexual dysfunction than did controls. We conclude that many women with urinary incontinence have abnormal psychological and sexual test results reflecting moodiness, feelings of helplessness and sadness, pessimism, general hypochondriasis/ somatization, and sexual dysfunction. These abnormalities appear to be associated with urinary incontinence in general rather than with specific diseases of the urinary tract.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)22-26
Number of pages5
JournalObstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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