What you Need to Know About Fowler’s Syndrome

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It is a common misconception that bladder challenges only affect the elderly; but a condition known as Fowler’s Syndrome is a cause of bladder failure in young women. The condition is rare, affecting around 2 in a million women. 

What is Fowler’s Syndrome? 

Fowler's Syndrome

The condition was first described in 1985 by Dr Clare Fowler, making it a recently identified diagnosis. It is a condition which makes passing urine difficult, leading to urinary retention and increased risk of infection.  This is due to the bladder sphincter muscle’s failure to relax. 

What are the Symptoms of Fowler’s Syndrome? 

The main symptom of Fowler’s Syndrome that would prompt someone to seek medical attention is urinary retention; whereby the person affected hasn’t been able to pass urine for many hours. 

Symptoms caused by the urinary retention may include back pain, frequent infections and an inability to feel when the bladder is full. 

Who Does it Affect?  

Fowler's Syndrome

Fowler’s Syndrome only affects women, or those assigned female at birth, and it is commonly found in those who are in their 20s and 30s. 

How do you get Fowler’s Syndrome? 

At present, it has not been confirmed what causes the condition, and research is continuing to be carried out to determine cause.  However, it is known that it can develop after childbirth or a surgical procedure and it’s important to know that half of all sufferers also have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). 

What Treatment is Available

Fowler’s is a chronic condition and there is currently no cure. Treatment is in the main for the retention of urine which can lead to urine infections. To allow the bladder to be emptied, a routine of Intermittent Catheterisation may be recommended. If someone has complete retention, they may be helped by a Sacral Nerve Stimulation device to restore voiding but, if unsuccessful, permanent catheterisation, either via the urethra or suprapubically, may be required. 

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