Fowler's Syndrome

Fowler's Syndrome

What is Fowler's Syndrome?

Fowler's Syndrome was first described by Professor Clare J Fowler in 1985 and consists of difficulty in passing urine and urinary retention due to the bladder's sphincter muscle's failure to relax. Fowler's affects young women and up to half the patients affected have polycystic ovaries.

"I wouldn't be where I am today without the help of Bladder Health UK in some of my darkest times with this illness!"


Who Is Affected?

Fowler's Syndrome typically affects younger women in their twenties and thirties who infrequently pass urine with an intermittent stream. The sensation of urinary urgency which would normally be present with a full bladder is absent although when the bladder is full to capacity, pain and discomfort may be experienced. The patient may then present to A&E unable to pass urine normally and the bladder is then drained via a catheter.

Helpful links

What Are The Symptoms?

The severity of symptoms varies from person to person. Some women experience complete retention while others experience difficulty passing urine with a residual amount left in the bladder.

Frequent urinary infections may be a problem for women suffering from Fowlers Syndrome due to the bladder not emptying properly. Some women may also experience back, kidney and suprapubic pain, together with blood in the urine. Bladder spasms may also be an issue.

Women with Fowlers Syndrome are at an increased risk of Sepsis due to the infections they suffer. They are also at risk of devloping antibiotic resistance due to the frequency with which they need antibiotics.

What is The Cause?

The cause is yet unknown and still being researched.

What Are The Treatments?

Patients who can still void nomally will have their residual volume monitored and provided it is low, no further intervention will be needed. Patients will a larger residual volume, however, can be helped by learning clean, intermittent self-catheterisation.

Patients in complete retention may be helped with sacral nerve stimulation, a process by which a device is implanted in the lower back which emits electrical pulses to stimulate nerves to restore voiding.  Alternatively, patients for whom this procedure is not successful, can have an in-dwelling catheter via the urethra or a supra-pubic catheter whcih is surgically inserted below the belly button.

Urinary diversion surgery is offered to some for whom less invasive intervention has been unsuccessful. Either a Mitrofanoff or a Urostomy may be offered. 

For further information on Fowlers Syndrome visit 

Please downlaod the BHUK onformation leaflet on Fowlers Syndrome:-

FowlersSyndromeLeaflet.pdf (310 KB)

Fowlers February 

This is the month of the year when activities take place to raise awareness of Fowlers Syndrome. BHUK created the logo below which you can download and use for any informational material you are producing.

In February 2022 we are again supporting Fowlers February and this year we have produced a special Handbook with information about the illness and how to mange it. If you would like to join the charity we will send you a Handbook as well as other relevant material. Please call 0121 702 0820 and speak to someone on our Advice Line for further help. We also have a Close User Facebook page where you can share experiences with other suffers.

You can also request a hospital card by emailing us at

FowlersSyndromeCards.jpg (65 KB)


In 2019 BHUK commissioned a series of patient story video's

Also click here to see the Fowlers February 2021 Week 1 Video of a Patient Experience 

Click here for Week 2

Click here for Week 3

FOWLERS FEB-BH-Logo copy.jpg (607 KB)

Also click here to see the first Video of a Patient Experience 

Click here for Video 2 ( including the impact Fowlers has on quality of life - work,relationships etc and having a suprapubic catheter )

Click here for Video 3 (including why Laura wanted to fundraise for BHUK)

Click here for Video 4 (including Sacral Nerve Modulation -SNM)

How can BHUK help you, if you join us?


Members Magazine "Your Bladder Health", published 3 times per year.


An excellent booklet written to provide practical help and advice.


Telephone Advice Line – 0121 702 0820


Telephone contact - with a BHUK Phone-Pal and fellow sufferer.


Comprehensive Resources - fact sheets, DVDs, lending library, Can't Wait Cards and much more.


Message Forums- exchange personal experiences of bladder illness with others.


Social Media sites including Facebook @BladderHealthUK and Twitter #bladdersupport

Area Co-ordinator

Area Co-ordinator - providing an opportunity to have personal contact with other sufferers.

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