Reviewed by Christine Kijek, Registered Colorectal Nurse, on March 22, 2022
As humans, we need to expel waste from our bodies to stay healthy. Our urinary system is designed to collect urine and then release it from the body. Unfortunately, there are instances when we cannot completely void our bladders. The reasons for this incomplete emptying vary and can range from childbirth to injury and trauma to the pelvis. Health Products for You has the facts you need when dealing with urinary retention.
The ability to urinate regularly may be taken for granted until a medical condition hinders this function. The inability to completely void your bladder is known as urinary retention or ischuria. The National Institutes of Health identifies two types of urinary retention -
The sudden inability to urinate. Symptoms of acute urinary retention may include-
Gradual inability to completely empty your bladder. This may happen over a long period making a diagnosis difficult. Symptoms of chronic urinary retention may include-
You should seek medical attention immediately if you are experiencing pain or are incapable of urinating. If you have other symptoms of urinary retention, schedule an appt with your doctor or a urologist. Urinary retention can cause serious health problems.
Urinary retention is caused by a blockage in the bladder or the urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder to exit the body). Another cause is when the bladder cannot contract strong enough to push the urine out of the bladder (underactive bladder). Medical conditions that narrow the urethra and block urine include-
In cases of acute urinary retention, typically a bladder scan is done at the bedside. This is an ultrasound that can measure how much fluid is in the bladder. If the bladder is full, a urinary catheter is placed in the bladder to empty it. In some cases, once emptied, the bladder may resume its ability to contract sufficiently. For some, the catheter (Foley) will remain in place for a few days. The catheter is secured to the inner thigh with an adhesive clamp such as Bard Statlock Foley Stabilization Device.
For chronic urinary retention, the cause will need to be evaluated.
There are many reasons for urinary retention, but the end goal in every instance is to live with dignity and maintain your quality of life. Work with your urologist or nurse to find what medical aids will most benefit you and be sure to visit www.healthproductsforyou.com for all your urological needs.
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Kevin Cleary has been a Health Products For You contributor for many years and has a degree in marketing. His health and wellness journey has a very personal meaning and has guided him in his content writing for HPFY.
In 2006, ...
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