Urinary retention is also known as ischuria – a condition that causes improper urination or the inability to urinate. There may be intermittent flow, the feeling of incomplete voiding, straining, delay in start of urination and other symptoms of this condition. In most of the cases, it warrants medical attention since it can develop further complications, if left untreated. Treatment method depends upon the underlying causes that have been diagnosed.
When to Seek Treatment
There is incomplete voiding of the bladder that may cause incontinence, the urge to use the bathroom at night and frequent urination. The extreme form of urinary retention is known as anuria which is a medical emergency. This causes complete stoppage of urine, acute pain, stretching of the bladder and the possibility of its bursting.
The condition can lead to bladder stones, atrophy of muscles, kidney problem and infection. It is important to start the treatment quickly because if this condition is left untreated, it can lead to acute problems such as kidney damage, shock like condition and even heart attack.
When the condition is due to surgery, this will usually take care of itself once the effects of the anesthesia wear off. A diagnosis of chronic urinary retention will be made after taking urine samples, doing a bladder scan, perhaps cystoscopy and other tests.
Once a diagnosis is made, the first step taken usually is to catheterize the person. The subsequent treatment can vary greatly. The treatment is usually not uniform except for this first step of inserting a small tube into the bladder and the urethra to drain the collected urine.
This involves the insertion of a catheter to drain the bladder so that the damage and infection of the bladder can be prevented. The treatment that is initiated thereafter will usually depend upon the reason for retention.
In some cases, catheterization may need to continue. This is more likely to happen among older patients, who may have chronic or ongoing problems. Here intermittent catheterization may be needed. In such cases, a woman may need to learn how to catheterize herself in a sterile manner to prevent urinary tract infections.
Conditions such as cystocele or rectocele (a fallen bladder or rectum) cause the bladder to form pouches and retain urine. These conditions usually require surgery that helps remove excess tissue and tighten the muscles and other tissues in the pelvic region.
Again depending upon the cause, treatment could include other protocols such as alpha blocker and 5-alpha-reductase inhibitor therapy in some cases.