Research Article

Psychological aspects of lower urinary tract infections in women.

BMJ 1992; 304 doi: (Published 04 January 1992) Cite this as: BMJ 1992;304:17
  1. D. Sumners,
  2. M. Kelsey,
  3. I. Chait
  1. Napsbury Hospital, Hertfordshire.


    OBJECTIVE--To determine whether women with the urethral syndrome can be distinguished from those with urinary tract infection by case notes, clinical symptoms, or psychiatric state. DESIGN--Longitudinal survey of consecutive women presenting with dysuria and frequency. SETTING--General practice and community. SUBJECTS--58 patients with the urethral syndrome and 44 patients with a urinary tract infection, mean age 39.9 years. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Results of analysis of serial midstream urine specimens, patients' self rated physical symptoms and responses to 60 item general health questionnaire at presentation and after resolution of symptoms, and results of psychiatric assessment with the clinical psychiatric interview. RESULTS--4 of 42 patients with a urinary tract infection had recently changed sexual partner compared with none of 58 with the urethral syndrome. Dysuria and nocturia were more common in patients with urinary tract infections than those with the urethral syndrome (mean (SD) score for dysuria 5.37 (2.39) v 4.57 (2.13), p less than 0.05; nocturia in 39/44 (88%) patients v 40/58 (69%), chi 2 = 5.5, p less than 0.02). Both groups showed transient high levels of distress which resolved with the physical symptoms, but no psychiatric difference distinguished them. CONCLUSION--The urethral syndrome is not associated with increased psychiatric morbidity.