Are you struggling to pee? Urinary retention may the culprit

Published on: 27 May 2022, 18:14 pm IST

If you have difficulty in emptying your bladder, it may be time you should know about urinary retention.

urinary retention
Know your urine problems. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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Have you ever experienced uneasiness while emptying the bladder? The condition has a name – urinary retention, and needs much awareness and attention as it provokes discomfort and disrupts everyday living. Just to be clear, urinary retention cannot be classified as a disease. It can be called a condition which may be a result of other health problems such as men’s prostate issues and women’s cystocele.

The symptoms may vary for everyone. A person with chronic urinary retention might have difficulty urinating. However, those suffering from acute urinary retention may experience fullness but can’t urinate. At this stage, a physician’s consultation may be necessary.

urinary retention
Urinary retention can even cause pain. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Causes of urinary retention

The causes of this condition are either related to the blockage that partially or fully stops urine from leaving the bladder or urethra or the bladder’s inability to keep a sufficient force to oust all the urine.

1. Blockage:

In women, the blockage is caused by certain types of pelvic prolapse, including cystocele. In men, the urethra may be constricted by an expanded prostate, a common condition for men.

2. Infections:

Urinary tract infections and sexually transmitted diseases can cause swelling, leading to urinary retention in women. In men, a prostate infection can cause swelling that blocks the free flow of urine.

Complications of urinary retention

1. Urinary Tract Infections:

The urinary tract bacteria usually gets flushed out during urination. But for people with urinary retention issues, bacteria remains in the urinary tract and multiply.

urinary retention
Women are more prone to UTIs. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

2. Bladder damage:

The bladder may be stretched too far and for extended periods. When stretched for more extended periods, muscles in the bladder get damaged and may stop functioning properly.

3. Kidney damage:

The urinary tract is designed in such a manner allowing the urine to flow from the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and out of the urethra. The condition may not allow the process to follow smoothly, causing swelling or pressure on the kidneys.

Conditions of urinary retention

* Acute Urinary Retention (AUR):

Acute Urinary Retention means it occurs suddenly and may be severe. It is a condition of the inability to pass urine. The most common urologic problem in men is benign prostatic hyperplasia. It is rare in women. Acute Urinary Retention can cause severe pain and discomfort.

* Chronic Urinary Retention (CUR):

Chronic Urinary Retention indicates that the patient has had the condition for an extended period. People with this condition are able to pee, but the bladder does not get empty. A lot of people may be unable to recognize that they have the condition because they may not experience any symptoms. The symptom includes repeatedly urinating for a short period, etc.

urinary retention
There are several women, who experience pain and a burning sensation during urination. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Treatment for the condition?

Urinary retention is treatable, but delaying treatment only makes it worse. The doctor can often diagnose the problem. However, in some cases, a person may need a consultation with a urologist or proctologist for further testing and treatment.

Treatment depends on the cause. Some of the causes of urinary retention are more easily treatable than others. Sometimes, lifestyle should also be changed, such as drinking more water, using the bathroom when the urge first arises, and increasing physical activity.

Dr Dilip Dhanpal Dr Dilip Dhanpal

Dr Dilip Dhanpal, Senior Consultant Urologist, Uro Oncologist and Transplant Surgeon, Apollo Spectra Hospital, Bengaluru

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