Clinical Review

2017 Update on pelvic floor dysfunction

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Treatment of idiopathic overactive bladder often requires third-line therapy, which includes onabotulinumtoxinA, posterior tibial nerve stimulation, and sacral neuromodulation. Until recently, data directly comparing these treatment options were lacking. What do new trials reveal?



The International Continence Society (ICS) defines overactive bladder (OAB) as a syndrome of "urinary urgency, usually accompanied by frequency and nocturia, with or without urgency urinary incontinence (UUI), in the absence of urinary tract infection [UTI] or obvious pathology."1 The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) reported OAB prevalence to be 15% in US women, with 11% reporting UUI.2 OAB represents a significant health care burden that impacts nearly every aspect of life, including physical, emotional, and psychological domains.3,4 The economic impact is notable; the projected cost is estimated to reach $82.6 billion annually by 2020.5

The American Urological Association (AUA) and the Society for Urodynamics, Female Pelvic Medicine and Urogenital Reconstruction (SUFU) have endorsed an algorithm for use in the evaluation of idiopathic OAB (FIGURE).6 If the patient's symptoms are certain, minimal evaluation is needed and it is reasonable to proceed with first-line therapy, which includes fluid management (decreasing caffeine intake and limiting evening fluid intake), bladder retraining drills such as timed voiding, and improving pelvic floor muscles with the use of biofeedback and functional electrical stimulation.6,7 Pelvic floor muscle training can be facilitated with a referral to a physical therapist trained in pelvic floor muscle education.

If treatment goals are not met with first-line strategies, second-line therapy may be initiated with anticholinergic or β3-adrenergic receptor agonist medications. If symptoms persist after 4 to 8 weeks of pharmacologic therapy, clinicians are encouraged to reassess or refer the patient to a specialist. Further evaluation may include a bladder diary in which the patient documents voided volumes, voiding frequency, and number of incontinent episodes; symptom-specific questionnaires; and/or urodynamic testing.

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Based on that evaluation, the patient may be a candidate for third-line therapy with either intradetrusor onabotulinumtoxinA, posterior tibial nerve stimulation (PTNS), or sacral neuromodulation.

There is a paucity of information comparing third-line therapies. In this Update, we focus on 4 randomized clinical trials that compare third-line treatment options for idiopathic OAB.

Read about how anticholinergic medication and onabotulinumtoxinA compare for treating UUI.


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