June 2, 2021

Urinary Retention – A Complete Guide

Urinary Retention is a term used for the inability to empty the urinary bladder entirely.

What is Urinary Retention?

Urinary Retention is a term used for the inability to empty the urinary bladder entirely when it is still full. This may cause an accumulation of urine in the bladder, and the person feels an urge to urinate but is unable to do the needful. The condition of urinary Retention can, in general, affect both men and women. But many medical researchers have proved that it is more common in men than women. One can notice an alarming rate of Urinary Retention in men between the age of 40 to 83. 

What are the symptoms of Urinary Retention?

The condition of Urinary Retention can be broadly classified into two categories:

1. Acute Urinary Retention

It is a condition considered a medical emergency and may occur suddenly due to the blockage of the urethra in the human body. In this situation, the person may feel an urge to urinate but is unable to process. This may result in severe pain and discomfort in the lower abdomen of a person. In the condition of acute urinary Retention, a person gets emergency medical care so as to release the collected urine in the bladder; otherwise, the situation may get worse. Even a minute symptom of urinary Retention shall be consulted with the doctor for on-time treatment. 


  1. An intense urge to urinate
  2. Inability to pass urine 
  3. Severe pain in the lower abdomen 
  4. Swelling in the lower abdomen 
  5. In some cases, the person suffering from acute urinary Retention may also experience fever and chills. If such is a case, then one must immediately consult the doctor.

2. Chronic Urinary Retention 

Chronic Urinary Retention is a condition that develops over a period of time and might not cause any severe symptoms initially. It is often hard to detect at the initial stage as the person is able to urinate, but the bladder isn't emptied entirely, and this may go for quite some time. This condition may lead to some severe complications in the human body if the treatment is delayed. To avoid the consequences, a person must consult the doctor is he/she observes the following symptoms in the body as they can be the core of Chronic Urinary Retention:

  1. Frequent inability to empty the bladder. 
  2. Constant Urinary sensations in the body, often eight or more times in a day. 
  3. An intense urge to urinate again right after urinating. 
  4. Frequent urge to urinate at night. This condition is known as Nocturia. 
  5. Little drops of urine leakage from the bladder during day time. 
  6. Inconvenience or strain to push out the urine. 
  7. Week stream of urine.  
  8. A mild sense of constant discomfort in the lower abdomen. 
  9. The feeling of fullness in the lower abdomen implies that your bladder is not fully empty.


The inefficiency of the Urinary tract causes the condition of Urinary Retention. As we already know, our urinary tract system consists of urinary bladders (store urine) and urethra (a tube that enables us to pass urine out of the body). While in men, prostates are also a part of their urinary tract. So, the malfunctioning of these parts may result in uneasy conditions in urination. The causes of Urinary Retention can broadly be classified into two categories:

1. Obstructive Reasons

In case of an obstruction in the body, urine cannot flow efficiently. This may include some medical conditions like Cancer, Kidney stones, and enlarged prostate(men). Let us know in detail. 

Narrow urethra or urinary bladder

As explained above, for the ability of a person to urinate appropriately, his/her urinary tract must function together in the right capacity. Urine generally flows from our kidney and through ureters and then comes to the urinary bladder and is finally excreted out from the body through the urethra. If there is any severe blockage or narrowing in this urine path, then we tend to face problems in urination. Some conditions, including an enlarged prostate in men, bladder outlet obstruction, pelvic organ prolapse, and tight pelvic floor muscles, may cause the blockage in the urinary tract. In such conditions, one must immediately visit the doctor and undergo required surgery and treatment as prescribed by him. Proud Urology Clinic is the best clinic to rely on for your surgery and check-ups. Our professional urologist ensures to provide the best treatment to patients with utmost hygiene.

  1. Non-Obstructive Reasons

This includes weak bladder muscles and weak nerves that interfere between the signals passed from the bladder to the brain. Due to the inactivity or low functioning of these nerves, the brain does not get the alerts about the full bladder, and hence the person is unable to urinate completely. Let us understand in detail.

  • Underactive bladder or inefficient contraction between bladder and brain 

When the nerves that connect the bladder to the brain are not able to send the information to the brain, the person is unable to empty his/her bladder completely. This condition in medical terms is termed as an Underactive bladder. There can be many causes of the underactive bladder, as mentioned below:
Neurological inefficiency – A problem with the human nervous system that obstructs the impulses from bladder to brain can lead to the condition of an underactive bladder. Some general reasons for neurological inefficiency are:

  1. Alzheimer 
  2. Spinal cord injury during accidents 
  3. Vaginal childbirth 
  4. Pelvic Injury 
  5. Impaired nerve function due to anesthesia

Never hide your condition from your partner; instead, ask her for help and support. Practicing the start-stop method during sex helps you delay ejaculation. Just ask your partner to stop stimulating your penis when you feel the urge of ejaculation and repeat the same 4 to 5 times during one round. This allows you to control your body sensations and penetrate longer until you feel the urge to ejaculate.


The advancement in medicinal science has allowed humans to breathe a healthy life. The condition of urinary Retention can easily be diagnosed through multiple lab diagnosis. Some of the tests involved in the diagnosis of Urinary Retention are:

  1. Physical examination to detect the injuries or infection in genitals. 
  2. Prostate examination for men 
  3. Cystoscopy – This involves a thin instrument that is inserted inside the human bladder through the urethra and examines the problems inside the system. 
  4. X-ray or scanning of urethra, bladder, or kidney. 
  5. As a concerned human, every patient must openly express his condition and symptoms to the doctor for better and more efficient treatment. 
  • Regular Exercise

Now, let's come to the treatment process of Urinary Retention. It is worth noting that a fair treatment with a motive of permanent cure depends solely on the cause of Urinary Retention in individuals. So, it is vital for everybody to undergo proper lab testing before starting the medications. After the diagnose, your doctor might suggest you following measures to treat your condition:

  1. Antibiotics to cure the infection in the urinary tract. 
  2. If any previous medicine causes issues in your body, you might be suggested to consider a replacement of the same. 
  3. Usage of a catheter to drain the urine out of the bladder.
  4. The surgery of Urethral dilation to treat the narrow urethra.
  5. Prostate surgery for men. 
  6. Surgical repair surgery for Cystocele. 

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