Interstitial Cystitis Expert Forum
Interrupted Urine Flow
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Questions in the Interstitial Cystitis. forum are answered by Dr. David A. Burks, MD from Henry Ford Health Systems.

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Interrupted Urine Flow

I am a 56yo female experiencing interrupted urine flow for about 4 years now.  All of my research re: symptoms on the Internet suggest I have a prostrate problem or MS.  Obviously, it is not prostrate related.  There is no pain, I just have to push to void (upon starting and continuing) and often feel there is urine left in the urethra no matter how hard I push.  I've had to urinate more frquently and it seems I am increasingly numb of any feeling except the need to 'go'.

To make a long medical history as short as possible... In 2/05 I had some sort of episode with tingling on the left side of face, left arm and descending to leg.  Upon movement, I nearly passed out.  I had another such episode in 2/06.  I still have intermittent tingling in the face (corner of mouth to cheek area).  (I was 145lbs and lost 20+lbs after each episode until I weighed 95lbs.)  I have undergone many, many nuerological, blood & urine tests through the years.  I've been screened for cancer, heart disease, etc. etc.  The nuerologist suspected TIAs, but since the tingling face is so recurrent, I don't think it is likely.  He also suggested testing for MS after comparing my 05 & 06 MRIs, although the 06 one showed only slight changes.  I had been dealing with extreme stress in my marriage at the time and chalked it all up to stress.  I persued a divorce (not yet final) instead of MS testing.  I am currently unemployed and uninsured, so I cannot afford the testing and/or the possible confirmation of such a diagnosis.

In addition, I have a very misaligned spine that is disfiguring my left ribcage by my sternum.  I also have high cholesterol.  Having separated from my husband in 12/06, I was able to slowly regain my weight.

I noticed the interrupted flow within the year before the nuerological type problems began.  I guess my question is...Is it possible that my misaligned spine could be the cause?  If not, could it be anything other than MS related?

Thank you for your time.

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Hi, This is not an Interstitial Cystitis problem, but it is a voiding disorder problem.  There are two reasons that can give you an interrupted flow.  The first is an obstruction to the flow, like a urethra stricture (very unlikely), or a nonrelaxing, or intermittently relaxing urinary sphincter seen in neurological disorders like MS or Parkinsons disease (neither of which you have).  The other possible problem is a bladder that doesn't push the urine out completely.  This is a common problem in women; a bladder that has a weak contraction and can't push the urine out in one effort.  Often patients have a stop-and- start stream, and when finally done, urine is left in the bladder called a residual volume.  We call this a "nurses bladder"; a large capacity overstretched bladder from infrequent voiding, possibly combined with heavy fluid intake.  The weak bladder contraction occurs after years of chronic overtistention. Diabetes can also commonly give you this problem. This is the most likely problem.  You need to see a Urologist who can check your residual volume, and if necessary do urodynamic testing to sortr out what the problem is.  Good Luck.  
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