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BJOG. 2010 Sep;117(10):1220-4. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-0528.2010.02649.x. Epub 2010 Jul 7.

The relationship between urethral mobility and parity.

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Sydney Medical School Nepean, University of Sydney, Nepean Hospital, Penrith, New South Wales, Australia.



Urethral mobility is associated with stress urinary incontinence (SUI) and urodynamic stress incontinence, and this is particularly true for mid-urethral mobility. The purpose of this study was to determine whether there is a significant relationship between segmental urethral mobility and vaginal parity in women undergoing urodynamic testing for prolapse or lower urinary tract symptoms.


Retrospective study. SETTING Tertiary referral service for multichannel urodynamic testing.


Women undergoing urodynamic testing for lower urinary tract symptoms or pelvic organ prolapse.


The stored 3D translabial ultrasound volume data sets of 648 women were assessed. Measurements were performed using post-processing software in volumes obtained at rest and on maximal Valsalva manoeuvre. Analysis was based on a co-ordinate system using the dorsocaudal margin of the pubic symphysis. The urethral length was traced and divided into five equal segments. Mobility vectors are determined by the formula radical[(y(V) - y(R))(2) + (x(V) - x(R))(2)], where V indicates Valsalva and R indicates rest, with 'x' as the vertical distance and 'y' as the horizontal distance from the dorsocaudal margin of the pubic symphysis.


Mobility vector lengths.


The distal urethra is consistently the least mobile part of the organ, regardless of parity. Vaginal childbirth seems to increase urethral mobility by about 20% for all urethral segments (all P < or = 0.009). The first vaginal delivery showed the greatest effect, particularly on mid-urethral mobility.


There is a significant association between urethral mobility and vaginal delivery in women seen for symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction, affecting all segments of the urethra equally. Most of this effect seems to result from the first vaginal birth.

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