What is Urinary Retention?

Urinary retention is a condition where the bladder does not complete empty. This means that someone either cannot start the urination process or that they are unable to completely empty their bladder. There are several different types of urinary retention, obstructive and non-obstructive, and acute and chronic. Acute is much more serious than chronic, and requires immediate medical treatment.

Causes Of Urinary Retention

urinary retentionUrinary retention can be one of two types, obstructive and non-obstructive. Obstructive urinary retention results from blockage of some kind, like kidney stones. This can be caused by cancer, blockage, and an enlarged prostate. Non-obstructive urinary retention can be caused by things like nerve issues and weak muscles in the bladder. Sometimes, it’s just a missed signal between the bladder and the brain, which is usually due to damaged muscles, nerves, brain muscles, or the spinal cord. Other times, this can be the result of pelvic trauma, a stroke, or traditional childbirth.

Signs and Symptoms

urinary retentionIf you are suffering from chronic urinary retention, there are several symptoms. These can include pressure on the stomach, waking up for frequent urination, difficulty urinating, and trouble telling if your bladder is full or not. It can also result in some small amounts of bladder leakage during the day. This can be a long-term condition. Occasionally, someone won’t even notice that they are suffering from chronic urinary retention until another health problem becomes visible. Acute urinary retention is much more serious. These symptoms include the inability to urinate, urgent urination, or pain or bloating in the abdomen. If you experience any of these symptoms, talk to your health care provider as soon as possible.


urinary retentionDepending on the type of urinary retention and how long you have suffered from it, there are several different treatments available. These treatments can include bladder draining, surgery, prostate medication, urethral dilation, and urethral stents. Bladder drainage is performed by using a catheter to help drain the excess fluid from the bladder, while stents and dilation both involve widening the urethra to help improve flow. Surgery can also help fix some issues that can lead to urinary retention.


If you are experiencing pain or discomfort in your abdomen and/or your urinary tract, or you are entirely unable to urinate, seek medical help immediately. If you have any questions or think you might be experiencing urinary retention, contact us today to schedule an appointment with the best urologist in New York City.

Call our offices today at 646-205-3039 to discuss the concern and to learn what solutions may be available to you.

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