Urinary retention

Definition

Urinary retention is defined as the inability to completely or partially empty the bladder. Suffering from urinary retention means you may be unable to start urination, or if you are able to start, you can’t fully empty your bladder.

Symptoms of urinary retention may include:

  • Difficulty starting to urinate
  • Difficulty fully emptying the bladder
  • Weak dribble or stream of urine
  • Loss of small amounts of urine during the day
  • Inability to feel when bladder is full
  • Increased abdominal pressure
  • Lack of urge to urinate
  • Strained efforts to push urine out of the bladder
  • Frequent urination
  • Nocturia (waking up more than two times at night to urinate)

Causes

There are two general types of urinary retention: obstructive and non-obstructive. If there is an obstruction (for example, kidney stones), urine cannot flow freely through the urinary track. Non-obstructive causes include a weak bladder muscle and nerve problems that interfere with signals between the brain and the bladder. If the nerves aren’t working properly, the brain may not get the message that the bladder is full.

Some of the most common causes of non-obstructive urinary retention are:

  • Stroke
  • Vaginal childbirth
  • Pelvic injury or trauma
  • Impaired muscle or nerve function due to medication or anesthesia
  • Accidents that injure the brain or spinal cord

Obstructive retention may result from:

 

Information presented on this website is for general use. It intended to address issues of your concern. It is not intended to serve as a basis for professional diagnosis and treatment of diseases or health conditions.
 
Should you have health problems we suggest you to seek assistance from a licensed healthcare professional and medical organization. In the case of a medical emergency, please call emergency services immediately.