Lower urinary tract symptom prevalence and management among patients with multiple sclerosis

Kristin M. Khalaf, Karin S. Coyne, Denise R. Globe, Edward P. Armstrong, Daniel C. Malone, Jack Burks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Background: This study was conducted to assess self-reported prevalence and management of lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS), along with drivers of treatment seeking, among patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). Methods: An online, cross-sectional survey was administered to US-residing participants with self-reported MS to assess presence of LUTS, including urinary incontinence (UI). Participants experiencing LUTS were asked additional questions related to management and current therapies. Multivariate logistic regression identified drivers of treatment-seeking behavior. Results: A total of 1052 participants completed the survey; 1047 were included in the analysis. Nine hundred sixty-six participants (92%) reported at least one LUTS, the most common being post-micturition dribble (64.9%), urinary urgency (61.7%), and a feeling of incomplete emptying (60.7%). Eight hundred twenty-six (79%) reported having some type of UI. Of those with any type of LUTS, 70% (n = 680) had previously discussed urinary symptoms with a health-care provider (HCP), while only 32% (n = 311) had seen an HCP in the past year. Logistic regression found urgency (odds ratio [OR] 1.20 [95% confidence interval (CI), 1.00-1.44]), intermittent urine stream (OR 1.40 [95% CI, 1.15-1.69]), and urgency UI (OR 1.78 [95% CI, 1.22-2.60]) to be significant predictors of seeking treatment. Of those who had discussed LUTS with an HCP, 480 (70.6%) were currently receiving at least one LUTS treatment; the most common treatments were reducing fluid intake, pelvic exercises, oral anticholinergic medications, and avoiding certain foods/alcohol. Conclusions: LUTS are commonly experienced among people with MS but are largely untreated. Proper LUTS assessment and work-up is warranted in MS patients. Int J MS Care. 2015;17:14-25.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14-25
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of MS Care
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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