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What Is Urinary Retention

Answers To That All-Important Question – What Is Urinary Retention

What is urinary retention

Woman suffering from urinary retention

Urinary retention, also referred to as ischuria is a condition that is characterized by inability to urinate. Some patients who are suffering from this condition have a bladder that does not empty completely while others cannot urinate at all.

If a person is unable to urinate, he/she should go straight to an emergency department since this is considered a medical emergency, which can result to death.

While urinary retention can afflict anyone regardless of their age and gender, it is more common among men who are over 50 years old, and are suffering from enlarged prostate.

Women usually experience this problem when their bladder has moved or dropped from its normal position.

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Signs and Symptoms of Urinary Retention

Individuals who are suffering from urinary retention experience a poor urinary stream characterized by an intermittent flow. Actually, they have to strain while passing urine. They are also unable to empty their bladder completely.

Another sign of urinary retention is delayed urination, where patients have to wait for sometime before the urine comes out after feeling the urge to urinate. When the bladder is full of urine, it can lead to incontinence or a frequent urge to urinate at night (nocturia).

Acute retention causes the bladder to distend, and become painful. The pressure can also push the urine back into the kidneys, causing conditions such as kidney failure, sepsis, hydronephrosis and pyonephrosis.

These conditions are life threatening, and patients with acute retention should seek urgent medical attention.

Causes of Urinary Retention

Urinary retention is caused by a number of conditions. First, it may occur as a result of nerve damage. When the nerves that control communication between the bladder and the brain are damaged, it can lead to urinary retention. There are many causes of nerve damage, including diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, stroke and demyelinating diseases.

Other conditions that can damage these nerves include vaginal childbirth, heavy metal poisoning, trauma or injury to the brain or spinal chord, trauma or injury to the pelvis, multiple sclerosis, enlargement of the prostate, prostate cancer, prostatitis, benign prostatic hyperplasia and nerve damage present at birth.

Physical damage to the bladder or the bladder neck, especially during cystoscopy or catheters operations can also cause this condition.

Ingestion of certain substances and medications can lead to urinary retention. Taking numerous medications, especially the ones that are used to calm nerves can cause this condition.

These include NSAIDs that are used to treat depression, muscle spasms and anxiety, muscle cramps, allergies, urinary incontinence and bladder problems.

Bladder retention can occur when a bladder stone becomes lodged within the urethra. The stone can prevent the urine from flowing out. Constipation is also another cause of urinary retention, which occurs when the hard stool pushes against the bladder and the urethra causing it to close.

Other causes of urinary retention include circumcision, STD lesions, pinhole meatus or Phimosis and congenital urethral valves.

Treatment of Urinary Retention

Cases of acute urinary retention where patients are completely unable to urinate are treated using catheters. The catheter is normally inserted directly into the urethra to drain the urine from the bladder. This prevents the bladder from sustaining permanent damage.

There are some cases of urinary retention that are temporary like the ones that occur when a person receives anesthesia during a surgical procedure. In such a case, the patient can regain the ability to urinate once the effects of the anesthesia wear off.

However, patients with chronic cases of urinary retention do not have a choice except to regularly use a catheter. When other treatment options fail, patients can be taught how to catheterize themselves whenever a need arises.

They can also be shown proper sterilization techniques, which they can implement in order to avoid infections in their urinary tract.

Urinary retention can be treated through surgery. There are several different surgical procedures that can be carried out to deal with this problem. They include urethrotomy, which is used to treat a urethral stricture in men.

A surgical procedure can also be performed on women with a fallen bladder in order to get it back to its correct position. If you are currently experiencing any symptoms of this condition, you should immediately seek medial help. This is because urinary retention can lead to serious complications if it is left untreated.

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One Comment

  1. 16 July 12, 5:25pm

    [...] Taking in too much liquid of any type in a short span of time increases the amount of urine you bladder has to deal with. Like alcohol, any drink with caffeine also acts as a diuretic and stimulant to the bladder and can create a sudden urge to urinate. [...]

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