Urinary Retention

Urinary retention is a lack of ability to urinate. It is a common complication of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), although it can also be caused by nerve dysfunction, infection, prostate cancer, or medications. Diagnosis and/or treatment may require use of a catheter. With acute retention you can’t urinate at all. It is a medical emergency, as the bladder may distend (stretch) to enormous sizes. If the bladder distends enough it will cause severe pain.


Our medical staff will start by taking a detailed medical history and performing a physical exam. This evaluation may include the following:


  • Poor urinary stream with intermittent flow
  • Straining to urinate
  • Trying to urinate, a sense of incomplete voiding and hesitancy (a delay between urinating and the flow actually beginning).
  • As the bladder remains full, it may lead to incontinence (can’t control urine)
  • Nocturia (need to urinate at night)
  • High frequency with very little urine output


The cause of the urinary retention will determine the treatment.

Treatment could include:

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