Fowler’s Syndrome, so-called because it was described by Professor Clare J Fowler in 1985, is a little known condition that causes urinary retention in women. The severity of the condition can vary, with some women having an intermittent flow of urine or going to the toilet infrequently, and others not being able to go at all. As the bladder becomes full, most sufferers will feel pain and be aware of the need to urinate without the ability to pass urine. These symptoms can cause great distress for the sufferer. The cause of Fowler’s Syndrome is currently unknown, and treatments for the condition are relatively limited and varied depending on the severity of each case. Someone with a mild case may be monitored and not given treatment, but for those who are more severely
affected, self catheterisation can be necessary. This involves the patient inserting a catheter into their bladder as and when they need to. People with a very severe case of Fowler’s syndrome may have to undergo something called sacral nerve stimulation. This involves an operation where an implant is placed into the lower back just above the tail bone (sacrum) in order to stimulate the nerves that control bladder sensation. Think of it as a pacemaker for your bladder. The treatments for this rare condition are not exactly straightforward
or pleasant, and the symptoms of Fowler’s Syndrome can be very distressing, but just knowing what they are dealing with can be the source of some relief for the sufferer.
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