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Clinics (Sao Paulo). 2007 Apr;62(2):191-6.

Urinary and sexual manifestations of patients infected by HTLV-I.

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Immunology Service, Hospital Universitário, Federal University of Bahia, Salvador, BA, Brazil.


HTLV-I is considered to be a virus of low morbidity, since the principal diseases associated with this viral infection, HTLV-I-associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis (HAM/TSP) and adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma (ATLL), are observed in less than 5% of infected individuals. Urinary symptoms are frequent in patients with myelopathy and consist principally of nocturia, frequency, urgency, and urinary incontinence; however, the importance of these dysfunctions and their correlation with myelopathy is still to be fully clarified. This review gives particular emphasis to the high frequency of urinary and sexual complaints not only in patients with myelopathy but also in individuals considered to be HTLV-I carriers. Detrusor overactivity and bladder-sphincter dyssynergia are the most common urodynamic findings. The fact that urinary complaints and urodynamic parameters reported in individuals considered to be carriers are similar to those detected in patients with myelopathy supports the hypothesis that urinary disorders may represent an oligosymptomatic form of HAM/TSP. Erectile dysfunction is frequently observed in HTLV-I-infected patients with or without myelopathy. Urinary tract infections are also highly prevalent in these patients. Despite the lack of an effective treatment for myelopathy, the use of anticholinergic drugs and phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitors may improve urinary complaints and erectile dysfunction in these patients.

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