Urinary Retention

Urinary Retention Symptoms

Urinary retention SymptomsUrinary retention symptoms usually consist of bladder pain and difficulty urinating. Acute urinary retention can cause pain and bloating in your lower abdomen. Many of our patients also experience other urinary symptoms, such as an increase in urinary frequency. However, some patients try to urinate but have trouble starting a urine stream. Others feel the urge to urinate soon after they have already voided because there may still be urine in the bladder. Some of our patients have overflow incontinence, which is dribbling urine after voiding because the bladder is still full. The continued expansion of the bladder can cause the walls of the bladder to stretch and become weak. As a result, you could develop a floppy bladder, or atonic bladder, because the nerves stretched out and the muscles are then unable to contract strong enough to allow all of the urine to leave the bladder.

Urinary retention symptoms can also include an infection in the bladder. Most of the time urine is sterile. However, some bacteria can enter the urinary tract and cause a urinary tract infection. This can irritate and inflame the bladder or the tissue of the urethra. When the bladder neck or urethra is restricted, urine flow can be diminished and urine can back up in the renal pelvis, a condition called hydronephrosis. This can lead to recurring bladder infections as well as damage to the urinary tract, especially to the bladder and the kidneys.

Urinary incontinence, or loss of bladder control, can develop along with urinary retention. Both male incontinence and urinary retention in males can be caused by an enlarged prostate, a condition called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Imagine if you were watering your garden and you placed a clamp on the hose to prevent water from coming out. That’s what prostate enlargement can do with your urine.

A prostate can swell from a prostate infection or prostate cancer. When the prostate gets larger, it presses against the urethra and irritates the bladder. In turn, the bladder will contract its muscles to try and release the urine, even if there is only a small amount in the bladder. Over time the frequent urination makes the bladder too weak to empty all the urine. As a result, urine builds up in the bladder, causing urinary retention. Other prostate symptoms may include blood in your urine or semen and discomfort in the pelvic area. Often urologic surgery such as prostate surgery will have to be performed to remove some of the prostate and open up the urinary pathway again.

Urinary retention symptoms can vary from patient to patient. However, because many are similar to urinary symptoms of other conditions, it’s important to get your symptoms evaluated by a professional at Urology Specialists rather than trying to diagnose yourself.


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