Urinary Retention…and how to care for it

When your body can’t release urine well, it’s called urinary retention. If you notice this problem, it’s a good idea to talk with a doctor as it can be serious.

The main sign is a weak urine flow. Or, you may feel the need to go again soon after finishing. It’s common to leak if your bladder can’t fully empty itself. In some cases you may not be able to urinate at all.

Retention may be from scar tissue, urinary stones, medicine, infection or nerve damage. For men, it could be from an enlarged prostate that blocks the urinary tract. For women, the bladder can sag.

Urinary retention is certainly treatable. For an acute case, a catheter helps drain the bladder. A catheter is a thin tube placed in your urethra to drain urine. They are used by doctors, but they can also be used at home. In rare cases when a catheter cannot be placed through the urethra, a tube (suprapubic catheter) may need to be placed through the belly wall and into the bladder.

Clean intermittent catheterization (CIC) is a self-care method. It’s pretty easy to perform. With clean hands and genitals, you place a catheter in your urethra. The catheter can drain urine into the toilet. When you’re done, you remove the tube and toss it. This can be done four to six times per day. It’s an important way to prevent serious bladder damage, leakage of urine or infection. Plus, CIC may be needed for a long time or until the issue causing retention has been solved. Staying clean is the key to prevent infection. If CIC isn’t enough, medicine or surgery helps.

If you have concerns about urinary retention, help is not hard to find. Talking to your doctor is a great way to start finding solutions.

For more information, visit UrologyHealth.org

UrologyHealth.org  |  SPRING 2022  |  UROLOGYHEALTH extra