What is it?
This is where a woman finds it difficult to pass urine. There are two different types of urinary retention – acute, where the ability to pass urine stops completely and this becomes a medical emergency, and chronic, which is where it happens more gradually and the volume slowly reduces.
Urinary retention is more common in men, but can still affect women.
- There are a number of potential causes of urinary retention:
- A blockage
- Infection and swelling – pressure can be placed upon the urethra
- Urinary strictures
- Nerve causes – such as stroke or diabetes
- Past catheterisation
- Drugs such as antihistamines or antidepressants, as these can affect the bladder muscle
- Cystocele – where the bladder sags o
- Rectocele – where the rectum sags into the back wall of the vagina
- Vaginal childbirth
Where a patient has acute retention, catheterisation will be required immediately.
For patients with chronic retention, they may still need a catheter but this may not be a long-term solution, unless the retention is persistent. There can be side effects of long-term catheterisation as well.
If men have moderate or sever symptoms, they may be recommended an alpha-adrenoceptor blocker, which relaxes the muscle.