What is it?

Urinary retention is a condition in which you are unable to empty all the urine from your bladder.
Urinary retention can be acute-a sudden inability to urinate at all, or chronic-a gradual inability to empty the bladder.
Urinary retention affects both men and women, but it occurs more often in men, especially as they get older. An enraged prostate can push against the urethra, which is the tube that excretes the urine from the bladder, and block it.
People who have urinary retention may develop complications, including urinary tract infection, bladder and kidney damage.

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Additional names

This group contains additional names:
- Incomplete emptying of bladder
- Incomplete Bladder Emptying

Signs & symptoms

Common symptoms include:
-the inability to completely empty your bladder when urinating
-frequent urination in small amounts
-difficulty starting the flow of urine, called hesitancy
-a slow urine stream


The doctor will take your medical history and perform a physical exam.
In addition, an Ultrasound of your bladder after voiding will be done, to measure the amount of urine retained.
Further tests may be in need in order to search for the cause of the retention.


The treatment varies based on the cause of urinary retention.
If the cause is an enlarged prostate, your doctor may offer medications such as 5-alpha reductase inhibitors and Alpha-blockers to treat the condition.
Other treatments such as surgery and physical therapy might be the right pick for you if you are a female or a male with a normal sized prostate.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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