Benefits and Harms of Conservative, Pharmacological, and Surgical Management Options for Women with Bladder Outlet Obstruction: A Systematic Review from the European Association of Urology Non-neurogenic Female LUTS Guidelines Panel Journal Articles uri icon

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  • CONTEXT: While the management of bladder outlet obstruction (BOO) in men has been a topic of several systematic reviews and meta-analyses, no such evidence base exists for female BOO. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this systematic review was to evaluate the benefits and harms of therapeutic interventions for the management of BOO in women. EVIDENCE ACQUISITION: This systematic review was conducted in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses (PRISMA) statement. The study protocol was registered with PROSPERO (CRD42020183839). A systematic literature search was performed and updated by a research librarian in May 2021. The study population consisted of adult female patients diagnosed with BOO, who underwent treatment. EVIDENCE SYNTHESIS: Out of 6344 records, we identified 33 studies enrolling 1222 participants, of which only six randomized controlled trials (RCTs) were found. One placebo-controlled crossover randomized trial assessed the role of baclofen in 60 female patients with dysfunctional voiding. The trial met its primary endpoint with a significantly greater decrease in the number of voids per day in the baclofen group (-5.53 vs -2.70; p = 0.001). The adverse events were mild and comparable in both groups (25% vs 20%). One placebo-controlled crossover randomized trial assessed the role of sildenafil in 20 women with Fowler's syndrome. There were significant improvements from baseline in maximum urinary flow rate (Qmax), International Prostate Symptom Score (IPSS), and postvoid residual (PVR), but with no statistically significant difference when compared with placebo. In a large RCT including 197 female patients with functional BOO, the alpha-blocker alfuzosin significantly improved IPSS, Qmax, and PVR compared with baseline, but the differences were not statistically significant compared with the placebo group. Several small single-arm prospective series reported improvement of BOO-related symptoms and voiding parameters with urethroplasty, sling revision, urethral dilation, vaginal pessary, and pelvic organ prolapse repair. CONCLUSIONS: Evidence to support the use of conservative, pharmacological, and surgical treatments for BOO is scarce. PATIENT SUMMARY: According to the present systematic review of the literature, evidence to support the use of conservative, pharmacological, and surgical treatments for either anatomical or functional bladder outlet obstruction is scarce.


  • Yuan, Yuhong
  • Peyronnet, Benoit
  • Lapitan, Marie Carmela
  • Tzelves, Lazaros
  • O'Connor, Eabhann
  • Nic An Riogh, Aisling
  • Manso, Margarida
  • Yuhong Yuan, Cathy
  • Arlandis, Salvador
  • Bo, Kari
  • Costantini, Elisabetta
  • Farag, Fawzy
  • Groen, Jan
  • Nambiar, Arjun
  • Phé, Véronique
  • van der Vaart, Huub
  • Imran Omar, Muhammad
  • Harding, Chris

publication date

  • September 2022