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Obstet Gynecol. 2017 Oct;130(4):718-725. doi: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000002239.

Urinary Symptoms and Their Associations With Urinary Tract Infections in Urogynecologic Patients.

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Department of Urology, Center for Female Pelvic Health, Weill Cornell Medicine, New York, New York; the Departments of Microbiology and Immunology and Pathology, Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University Chicago, Maywood, Illinois; the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin; the Departments of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Urology, Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood, Illinois; and the Departments of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine, University of California-San Diego, San Diego, California.



To assess urinary symptoms associated with urinary tract infection (UTI) in a urogynecologic population of women.


In this cohort study, we enrolled 150 urogynecologic patients who completed the validated UTI Symptom Assessment questionnaire and contributed transurethral catheterized urine samples. The primary measure (UTI diagnosis) was defined in three ways. Self-report (a nonculture-based UTI diagnosis) was defined by a yes or no response to the query "Do you think you have a UTI?" Two culture-based UTI diagnoses also were analyzed: standard urine culture (10 colony-forming units [CFU]/mL or greater) and enhanced quantitative urine culture (10 CFU/mL or greater) of any uropathogen. Statistical analyses were performed on patient demographics and urinary symptom prevalence among patient groups.


Although the presence of the urinary symptoms of frequency and urgency (respectively) differ somewhat between UTI-positive and UTI-negative women (self-report [P=.005 and P<.001], standard urine culture [P=.038 and P=.044], or enhanced quantitative urine culture [P=.059 and P=.098]), the presence of dysuria (pain or burning) during urination was significantly more prevalent in UTI-positive women for all UTI definitions (self-report P<.001, standard urine culture P<.001, and enhanced quantitative urine culture P=.010). Furthermore, women reporting dysuria had higher severity and bother scores for all other urinary symptoms assessed by the UTI Symptom Assessment questionnaire compared with women not reporting dysuria (frequency P=.001, urgency P=.006, dysuria P<.001).


Our findings show that, in women seeking urogynecologic care, the presence of frequency and urgency of urination does not confirm a culture-based UTI diagnosis. Instead, clinicians can more readily detect UTI using the presence of dysuria, which more effectively discriminates UTI-positive and UTI-negative individuals, regardless of the culture-based method used to diagnose UTI.

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