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Key Clinical Updates in Dysuria

A systematic review and meta-analysis found D-mannose protective against recurrent UTIs.

Lenger SM et al. Am J Obstet Gynecol. [PMID: 32497610]

ESSENTIAL INQUIRIES

  • Fever; new back or flank pain; nausea or vomiting.

  • Vaginal discharge.

  • Pregnancy risk.

  • Structural abnormalities.

  • Instrumentation of urethra or bladder.

GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS

Dysuria (painful urination) is a common reason for adults and adolescents to seek urgent medical attention; a study from the United States found it to be the second most common bacterial infection seen in primary care representing up to 3% of all general practitioner visits. UTIs affect up to 50% of women in their lifetime, with almost half of these women experiencing a recurrence in 6–12 months. Recurrent UTIs after menopause may be more likely as normally lower levels of estrogen lead to changes in the urogenital epithelium and subsequently urogenital microbiome. A UTI develops in one-third of patients with BPH or prostate cancer.

An inflammatory process (eg, bacterial UTI, herpes simplex, autoimmune disorder) underlies most causes of dysuria. In women, cystitis is diagnosed in up to 50–60% of cases. Cystitis has an incidence of 0.5–0.7% per year in sexually active young women. The key objective in evaluating women with dysuria is to exclude serious upper urinary tract disease, such as acute pyelonephritis, and sexually transmitted diseases. In elderly men, dysuria may be a symptom of prostatitis. In contrast, in younger men, urethritis accounts for most cases of dysuria. A study found a high rate of UTI in surgery patients admitted after trauma (11%). Male cyclists have no worse sexual or urinary functions than swimmers or runners, but cyclists are more prone to urethral stricture.

CLINICAL FINDINGS

A. Symptoms

Well-designed cohort studies have shown that some women can be reliably diagnosed with uncomplicated cystitis without a physical examination or UA, and randomized controlled trials show that telephone management of uncomplicated cystitis is safe and effective. An increased likelihood of cystitis is present when women report multiple irritative voiding symptoms (dysuria, urgency, frequency), fever, or back pain (positive LRs = 1.6–2.0). A cohort study found that the symptom of dysuria most reliably predicted a culture-positive UTI. Inquiring about symptoms of vulvovaginitis is imperative. When women report dysuria and urinary frequency, and deny vaginal discharge and irritation, the LR for culture-confirmed cystitis is 24.5. In contrast, when vaginal discharge or irritation is present, as well as dysuria or urinary frequency, the LR is 0.7. Gross hematuria in women with voiding symptoms usually represents hemorrhagic cystitis but can also be a sign of bladder cancer (particularly in older patients) or upper tract disease. Failure of hematuria to resolve with antibiotic treatment should prompt further evaluation of the bladder and kidneys. Chlamydial infection should be strongly considered among women aged 25 years or younger who are sexually active and seeking medical ...

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