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Urinary Retention: Treatment, Procedure, Cost and Side Effects

What is the treatment?

Urinary retention has no synonyms

How is the treatment done?

Urinary retention is the inability to empty the bladder completely. Urinary retention can be acute or chronic. Acute urinary retention happens suddenly and lasts only a short time. People with acute urinary retention cannot urinate at all, even though they have a full bladder. Acute urinary retention, a potentially life-threatening medical condition, requires immediate emergency treatment. Acute urinary retention can cause great discomfort or pain. Chronic urinary retention can be a long-lasting medical condition. People with chronic urinary retention can urinate. However, they do not completely empty all of the urine from their bladders.

Urinary retention can be caused by several problems, such as obstruction of the urethra, problems related to the central nervous system, medications, and weakened bladder muscles. Obstruction of the urethra causes urinary retention by blocking the normal urine flow out of the body. Conditions such as benign prostatic hyperplasia can cause an obstruction. Urinary retention can result from problems with the nerves that control the bladder and sphincters. Many events or conditions can interfere with nerve signals between the brain and the bladder and sphincters. If the nerves are damaged, the brain may not get the signal that the bladder is full. Even when a person has a full bladder, the bladder muscles that squeeze urine out may not get the signal to push, or the sphincters may not get the signal to relax. Various medications can also cause urinary retention by interfering with nerve signals to the bladder and prostate. A few of these medications include certain antihistamines, antispasmodics and certain antidepressants.

Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)

Urinary retention can be treated in a variety of ways, including bladder drainage, urethral dilation, urethral stents, prostate medications and surgery. The type and length of treatment depends on the type and cause of urinary retention.

Bladder drainage involves catheterization to drain urine. Treatment of acute urinary retention begins with catheterization to relieve the immediate distress of a full bladder and prevent bladder damage. The health care provider passes a catheter through the urethra into the bladder. In cases of a blocked urethra, he or she can pass a catheter directly through the lower abdomen, just above the pubic bone, directly into the bladder. In these cases, the health care provider will use anesthesia.

Urethral dilation treats urethral stricture by inserting increasingly wider tubes into the urethra to widen the stricture. An alternative dilation method involves inflating a small balloon at the end of a catheter inside the urethra.

Another treatment for urethral stricture involves inserting an artificial tube, called a stent, into the urethra to the area of the stricture. Once in place, the stent expands like a spring and pushes back the surrounding tissue, widening the urethra. Stents may be temporary or permanent.

Certain medications can also be administered to stop the growth of or shrink the prostate to relieve urinary retention, and these include dutasteride and finasteride, among other medications.

The last resort for treating urinary retention is prostate surgery. To treat urinary retention caused by benign prostatic hyperplasia, a urologist may surgically destroy or remove enlarged prostate tissue by using the transurethral method. Removal of the enlarged tissue usually relieves the blockage and urinary retention caused by benign prostatic hyperplasia.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

Once urinary retention has been diagnosed with the help of physical exams and medical tests such as cystoscopy, CT scans and electromyography, the doctor then decides the appropriate method of treatment for the patient, depending upon his/her type of urinary retention, and the causes behind it.

Are there any side effects?

Urinary retention is different from other urinary issues, and if the problem is resolved by medications prescribed by the urologist, then no further specialized treatment is necessary.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

Treating urinary retention can often have some side effects, such as urinary tract infections, bladder damage, kidney damage, and urinary incontinence, especially after surgery.

Urine is normally sterile, and the normal flow of urine usually prevents bacteria from infecting the urinary tract. With urinary retention, the abnormal urine flow gives bacteria at the opening of the urethra a chance to infect the urinary tract. Also, If the bladder becomes stretched too far or for long periods, the muscles may be permanently damaged and lose their ability to contract. Additionally, in some people, urinary retention causes urine to flow backward into the kidneys. This backward flow, called reflux, may damage or scar the kidneys.

How long does it take to recover?

Since urinary retention is treated using various different methods, each method has separate post-treatment guidelines. In case of bladder drainage and urethral dilation, post-operative treatment generally includes the patient being instructed on how to self-catheterize to drain urine as necessary. For treatment via prostate surgery, the patient has to stay in hospital for a couple of weeks. For the first week the patient urinates via the catheter, following which he can urinate on his own. Physical activities requiring wide range of motion are prohibited for up to a few months after the surgery.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

Depending on the type of treatment, recovery can take anywhere between two days to several months. In case of prostate surgery, full recovery can take up to 6 months.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

Depending on the type of treatment, the price can range from Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 8,00,000

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

In case of acute urinary retention, a single drainage of the bladder is able to successfully treat urinary retention. However, in case of chronic urinary retention, the patient has to keep coming back to have their bladder drained, in which case the treatment is a chronic one. If prostate surgery is involved, then the results are always permanent.

Safety: Condition Effectiveness: Very High Timeliness: High Relative Risk: Very Low Side Effects: Low Time For Recovery: Medium Price Range:

Rs. 10,000 - Rs. 8,00,000

Popular Health Tips

Men Urinary Incontinence Treatment

Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons (FRCS), MS, MBBS
Urologist, Delhi
Men Urinary Incontinence Treatment

Urinary incontinence is the unintentional passing of urine. It's a common problem thought to affect millions of people. There are several types of urinary incontinence, including:

  1. Stress Incontinence– when urine leaks out at times when your bladder is under pressure; for example, when you cough or laugh.
  2. Urge Incontinence– when urine leaks as you feel a sudden, intense urge to pass urine, or soon afterwards.
  3. Overflow Incontinence (chronic urinary retention)– when you're unable to fully empty your bladder, which causes frequent leaking.
  4. Total Incontinence– when your bladder can't store any urine at all, which causes you to pass urine constantly or have frequent leaking.

It's also possible to have a mixture of both stress and urge urinary incontinence.

What causes urinary incontinence in men?

Urinary incontinence in men results when the brain does not properly signal the bladder, the sphincters do not squeeze strongly enough, or both. The bladder muscle may contract too much or not enough because of a problem with the muscle itself or the nerves controlling the bladder muscle. Damage to the sphincter muscles themselves or the nerves controlling these muscles can result in poor sphincter function. These problems can range from simple to complex.

A man may have factors that increase his chances of developing UI, including

  1. birth defects—problems with development of the urinary tract
  2. a history of prostate cancer—surgery or radiation treatment for prostate cancer can lead to temporary or permanent UI in men

UI is not a disease. Instead, it can be a symptom of certain conditions or the result of particular events during a man’s life. Conditions or events that may increase a man’s chance of developing UI include

  1. benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)—a condition in which the prostate is enlarged yet not cancerous. In men with BPH, the enlarged prostate presses against and pinches the urethra. The bladder wall becomes thicker. Eventually, the bladder may weaken and lose the ability to empty, leaving some urine in the bladder. The narrowing of the urethra and incomplete emptying of the bladder can lead to UI.
  2. chronic coughinglong-lasting coughing increases pressure on the bladder and pelvic floor muscles.
  3. neurological problems—men with diseases or conditions that affect the brain and spine may have trouble controlling urination.
  4. physical inactivity—decreased activity can increase a man’s weight and contribute to muscle weakness.
  5. obesity—extra weight can put pressure on the bladder, causing a need to urinate before the bladder is full.
  6. older age—bladder muscles can weaken over time, leading to a decrease in the bladder’s capacity to store urine.

Treating Urinary Incontinence

Initially, your GP may suggest some simple measures to see if they help improve your symptoms. These may include:

  1. lifestyle changes – such as losing weight and cutting down on caffeine and alcohol
  2. pelvic floor exercises – exercising your pelvic floor muscles by squeezing them, taught by a specialist 
  3. bladder training – where you learn ways to wait longer between needing to urinate and passing urine, guided by a specialist
  4. You may also benefit from the use of incontinence products, such as absorbent pads and handheld urinals.
  5. Medication may be recommended if you're still unable to manage your symptoms.
  6. Surgery may also be considered. The specific procedures suitable for you will depend on the type of incontinence you have.
  7. Surgical treatments for stress incontinence, such as tape or sling procedures, are used to reduce pressure on the bladder or strengthen the muscles that control urination.
  8. Operations to treat urge incontinence include enlarging the bladder or implanting a device that stimulates the nerve that controls the detrusor muscles. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult an urologist.
1957 people found this helpful

Pelvic Floor Dysfunction - What is the Best Way to Treat it?

MD - Obstetrtics & Gynaecology
Gynaecologist, Yamunanagar
Pelvic Floor Dysfunction - What is the Best Way to Treat it?

In medical terms, the pelvic floor refers to a group of muscles in the pelvic area. These muscles provide support to the organs in the pelvic region, including the bladder, uterus (women), prostate (men) and rectum.

What is pelvic floor dysfunction?
This is a medical condition that is used to refer to a situation when you are unable to control the functioning of the pelvic floor. It means you fail to control the bowel movement. People suffering from pelvic floor dysfunction use these muscles to contract rather than to relax. It is for this reason that they cannot have a bowel movement. They often have an incomplete one.

What causes pelvic floor dysfunction?
In most of the cases, the exact reason behind this dysfunction is unknown. It is often believed that this condition is caused due to traumatic injuries to the pelvic area. This can happen after an accident and due to complications aroused after vaginal childbirth.

What are the symptoms?
There are several symptoms that are linked to this medical condition. You must visit your doctor if you come across the following signs:

  1. The feel of having several bowel movements within a short period of time.
  2. If you feel that you cannot complete a bowel movement.
  3. When there is constipation pain linked with bowel movements.
  4. A frequent urge to urinate.
  5. Painful urination.
  6. Pain in lower back.
  7. Continuous pain in pelvic region, genitals, or rectum.
  8. Pain during intercourse in women

How is pelvic floor dysfunction diagnosed?
It may be diagnosed through a physical examination by the doctor. You will ask several questions to know the case history and find out the cause. You may also be asked to take pelvic muscle control test by placing surface electrodes on the perineum or sacrum. A small device called a perineometer is also used for the same.

What are the best ways for treating pelvic floor dysfunction?
It can be treated without surgery. There are several techniques. Some of these are as follows:

  1. Biofeedback: It is done with the help of a physical therapist.He uses special sensors to watch and monitor the muscles.
  2. Medication: A low-dose muscle relaxant is prescribed to treat the same.
  3. Relaxation techniques: Your therapist may ask you to take up techniques for relaxation such as warm baths, yoga, and exercises.
  4. Surgery: If your physician finds out that the dysfunction is caused by a rectal prolapse or rectocele, he or she will take up surgery.

Pelvic Floor Dysfunction results in Urinary Dysfunction. Urinary incontinence is the unintentional passing of urine. It's a common problem thought to affect millions of people. There are several types of urinary incontinence, including:

  1. Stress Incontinence – when urine leaks out at times when your bladder is under pressure; for example, when you cough or laugh
  2. Urge Incontinence – when urine leaks as you feel a sudden, intense urge to pass urine, or soon afterwards
  3. Overflow Incontinence (chronic urinary retention) – when you're unable to fully empty your bladder, which causes frequent leaking
  4. Total Incontinence – when your bladder can't store any urine at all, which causes you to pass urine constantly or have frequent leaking

It's also possible to have a mixture of both stress and urge urinary incontinence.

Pelvic Organ Prolapse

Pelvic organ prolapse is a condition in which structures such as the uterus, rectum, bladder, urethra, small bowel, or the vagina itself may begin to prolapse, or fall, out of their normal positions. Without medical treatment or surgery, these structures may eventually fall farther into the vagina or even through the vaginal opening if their supports weaken enough. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult an urologist and ask a free question.

4679 people found this helpful

Frequent Urination - Is It A Sign Of Enlarged Prostate?

MS - General Surgery, Mch - Urology
Urologist, Darbhanga
Frequent Urination - Is It A Sign Of Enlarged Prostate?

The condition of enlarged prostate occurs due to the enlargement of a man’s prostate gland, with the passage in time. Also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), it is more common in men over the age of 60. Some cases might have symptoms and others may be symptomless. Although the causes are relatively unknown, it is evident that BPH is not a form of cancer, neither does it cause cancer. The prostate is located below the bladder and is responsible for producing the fluid needed by semen. The growth of the prostate tissue that is associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia begins near the inner prostate which is a tissue ring around the urethra. Its growth is generally inward.

It is of common knowledge that in males, the urine originates from the bladder and flows through the urethra. BPH is a condition where the prostate experiences a benign i.e. non cancerous enlargement which leads to blockage of urine flow through the urethra (the urinary duct). The resultant enlargement, caused due to the gradual multiplication of cells, subjects the urethra to extra pressure. Further narrowing of the urethra causes more contraction of the bladder, resulting in the urine being forcefully pushed out of the body.

With time, the condition leads to the bladder muscles gradually becoming thicker, stronger and oversensitive. Contraction occurs even due to the presence of small amounts of urine, giving rise to frequent needs of urination. At one point, the bladder muscle is unable to overcome the effects of the narrowed urethra. Due to this, urine does not pass properly and the urethra is not emptied.

Some of the common symptoms of enlarged prostate include:
1. Frequent urination
2. Urgency to urinate
3. Difficulty during urination
4. A slow or weak urinary stream
5. Requirement of extra effort to urinate
6. Interrupted sleep due to need of urination

Further risks
Sometimes, when the bladder is not emptied completely, a risk of urinary tract infections develops. Some other serious problems which can be a result of enlarged prostate include blood in urinebladder stones as well as acute urinary retention (inability to urinate). In some rare cases, kidney and/or bladder damage might also result from such a condition.

Things You Should Know About Uterine Prolapse!

Gynaecologist, Navi Mumbai
Things You Should Know About Uterine Prolapse!

Your uterus is held in place by ligaments, tissues and pelvic muscles. The prolapse occurs when the ligaments or muscles weaken, and thus they can no longer support the uterus. The uterus slips or sags from its usual position into the birth canal (vagina).

Uterine prolapse could be complete or incomplete:

  • If the uterus partly sags into the vagina, the prolapse is incomplete.
  • If the uterus falls, and tissues are found to be resting in the vagina's exterior, the prolapse is termed 'complete'

Type of Prolapse:

  1. Cystocele: It is characterized by the herniation (bulging) of the vaginal wall caused by the bladder; it leads to urination problems
  2. Enterocele: It is characterized by the bulging on the vaginal wall caused by the bowel; it leads to backache
  3. Rectocele: If the rectum pushes into the vaginal wall, it makes movement in bowels difficult

Uterine prolapse can be caused by any of the following factors:

  • Normal childbirth through the vagina weakens muscles
  • Pelvic muscles weaken with age
  • Tissues weaken after menopause and oestrogen loss
  • Chronic cough, constipation, pelvic tumours or abdominal fluid accumulation puts a lot of pressure on the abdomen leading to prolapse
  • Pelvic muscles are stressed if you are obese or overweight
  • Major pelvic (or areas around it) surgery leads to loss of muscular support
  • Smoking
  • Excessive weight lifting causes weakening of muscles

Symptoms of uterine prolapse depend on its severity. There are no symptoms or signs if you have mild uterine prolapse. But if you have moderate to severe uterine prolapse, you might experience the following symptoms:

  1. Sensation of pulling or heaviness in the pelvis
  2. Tissue bulges out of your vagina
  3. Urinary problems like urine retention or urine leakage
  4. Bowel movement difficulties
  5. Pain in lower back
  6. Sexual problems such as vaginal tissues feeling loose

Symptoms might feel less distressing during the morning, but they worsen at night.

1 person found this helpful

Urinary Retention: Know Its Causes and Management!

Urologist, Delhi
Urinary Retention: Know Its Causes and Management!

An individual's inability to empty the bladder, completely, through urination is known as urinary retention. People of all age groups and genders suffer from urinary retention. However, it is more common in 50- or 60-year-old men. The causes vary according to the types of urinary retention.

  1. Acute urinary retention: It is a life-threatening medical condition and a person can be affected quite suddenly. The affected person goes through great discomfort and pain as it prevents one from urinating, though the bladder is full. This severe medical condition requires immediate emergency treatment. Inability to urinate, painful and urgent need to urinate, severe pain or discomfort in the lower abdomen and bloating of the lower abdomen are the symptoms of acute urinary retention.
  2. Chronic urinary retention: A patient is able to urinate but not empty the bladder completely if affected by the chronic type. Higher urinary frequency, increased abdominal pressure, inability to feel when the bladder is full, and the need to urinate after urination are some of the symptoms of chronic urinary retention.

The causes behind the two types of urinary retention are different.

Acute/Obstructive type:

Any type of blockage restricts urine to flow through the urinary tract. The reasons behind this are:


Improper functioning of nerves and weakened bladder muscles may lead to this condition. The reasons behind this are:

  • Stroke
  • Childbirth
  • Pelvic injury or trauma
  • Nerve diseases
  • Impaired nerve or muscle function
  • Brain or spinal cord injury

There are various methods of treating urinary retention at home though they are all limited care measures. Sitting in a bathtub filled with warm water helps relax the pelvic floor muscles. Another method is self-stimulation for urination by using running water in the bathroom. Limited mobility might be one of the primary reasons for urinary retention. Hence, daily walking or exercising not only helps facilitate urination but also helps strengthen the pelvic muscles. Women suffering from mild Cystocele or Rectocele are advised to exercise every day to prevent urinary retention.

Certain food items are also unsuitable for people suffering from urinary retention. Therefore, the patient is recommended to avoid or reduce the intake of spicy food, citrus fruits, and foods containing artificial sweeteners. Also, the intake of packaged items needs to reduce to help cure urine retention. The physician often advises the patient on dietary changes along with some exercises that help strengthen the pelvic muscle and thus help cure the disease quickly. Moreover, adoption of a healthy lifestyle goes a long way to help treat urinary retention.

It is advised not to delay the visit to a doctor, once the patient knows that he/she is suffering from the symptoms of urinary retention. If it is a serious case, then surgery is the only cure. 

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

2665 people found this helpful

Popular Questions & Answers

I am not having the proper flow of urine feels like bladder is still full so can I have lasix 40 tablet or please suggest me anything else?

MBBS Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, MS - General Surgery, Genito Urinary Surgery
Urologist, Ludhiana
Please get USG abdomen and pvrv and uroflow done. If reports are not satisfactory then you can start tab alfuzosin 10 mg once daily to increase the flow of urine.
2 people found this helpful

I have urine retention, some times in a day since last few days .and very mild fever. Also a little pain in penis sometimes? What to take as medicine for that?

BASM, MD, MS (Counseling & Psychotherapy), MSc - Psychology, Certificate in Clinical psychology of children and Young People, Certificate in Psychological First Aid, Certificate in Positive Psychology, Positive Psychiatry and Mental Health
Psychologist, Palakkad
Dear user. PENILE PAIN could be due to Infections or inflammation of the bladder or prostate can also result in penile pain. ... Trauma, persistent erection (priapism), cancers, and Peyronie's disease (the development of scar tissue within the penis) are other causes. Sickle cell anemia may cause priapism due to blockages of small blood vessels in the penis. I suggest you to consult a doctor for physical investigation. Take care.

Due to BPH and acute urinary retention, I have bladder stones. Been checking into having PAE done to reduce the size of my prostate, but the radiologist says that I must have the stones removed before the PAE. My new urologist told me that because my prostate is so large (no urologist has told me.

MBBS, MS - General Surgery
General Surgeon, Bangalore
Mr. Lybrate-user, both can be tackled at the same sitting, check on your urologist. If the stones are very small, once you undergo turp for your enlarged prostate, stones will pass out, if not, at the same sitting, they can remove the stones doing a cystoscopy.
2 people found this helpful

My father age is 75 yrs. Recently few days he facing problem in urine sensation and urine come drop and drop. I done all test his kidney is OK. And his prostate gland is also OK. Now what can I do please suggest.

Homeopath, Hooghly
It can be due urinary tract infection, as his prostate is normal Soo chances of UTI is higher, test his urine for RE, ME ,CS, take alkasol 2 spoon in a glass of water twice daily, with this you need proper homoeopathic treatment.

Table of Content

What is the treatment?
How is the treatment done?
Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)
Who is not eligible for the treatment?
Are there any side effects?
What are the post-treatment guidelines?
How long does it take to recover?
What is the price of the treatment in India?
Are the results of the treatment permanent?
What are the alternatives to the treatment?
Play video
Urinary Problems
Briefing on Urinary problems in men and women
Play video
Stress (Urinary) Incontinence
Causes and Treatment For Unintentional Loss of Urine
Play video
Urinary Tract Infection During Pregnancy
Here are some tips on urinary tract infection during pregnancy

I m Dr. Sharda Jain. I m the director of Life Care Centre. This is one of the benchmark centers as far as the pregnancy care is concerned. I m going to give you a tip to prevent Urinary tract infection during pregnancy. 5% of the patients who do not have any symptoms have asymptomatic bacteriuria. If this bacteriuria urinary infection is not treated then in 40% of the cases the infection can go up and infect the kidney. So it is essential during pregnancy that we have urine culture right at the beginning of the first 12 weeks. Now in case, there is no urinary culture detected then in that particular case we repeat this test in 2nd trimester and the 3rd trimester. Now how will you know that you have urinary tract infection?

1.You will have increased frequency- the passage of urine becomes frequent.

2.You have urgency- it means that you can t hold the urine and in such cases once we find that the urine culture is positive, we treat your case. It is advised to you that do not ignore urinary tract infection during pregnancy. It is prone in patients of PCOS, diabetes and chronic discharges which women have so please do not ignore the symptoms.

If you want to visit my site then please visit Lybrate website for help.
Play video
Urinary Tract Infection
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection from microbes. It can happen anywhere in your urinary tract.Symptoms of a UTI depend on what part of the urinary tract is infected. Treatment of UTIs depends on the cause. Your doctor will be able to determine which organism is causing the infection from the test results used to confirm the diagnosis.
Play video
Kidney Stones And Urinary Stones
Urinary tract stones begin to form in a kidney and may enlarge in a ureter or the bladder. Depending on where a stone is located, it may be called a kidney stone, ureteral stone, or bladder stone.
Having issues? Consult a doctor for medical advice