Urine, or urinary, retention is a serious health condition where the afflicted person suffers from difficulty or inability to completely empty his bladder.
Also known as ischuria, urine retention generally bothers men in their 50s and 60s, and the likelihood of acquiring the disease may even rise as the person advances in age. Men suffering kidney stones and prostate cancer are likewise prone to urine retention. At times, women and other age groups can be at risk of the condition especially when their bladder is dragged down by a drooping lower part of the colon, a condition called rectocele. Women who’ve gone through recurrent urinary tract infection (UTI) and gynecologic surgery, and those whose bladder drops out of its usual position, a disorder more popularly known as cystocele, will have higher risk of developing urine retention.
Generally, urine retention is classified according to causes, namely: infectious and inflammatory, neurological, obstructive or physical, and pharmacological.
Prominently, the condition is a manifestation of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), or a growth in size of the prostate, which is a usual occurrence among men as they get older; but it can also be due to other factors. Urine retention may also occur when there is a disorder with the muscles and nerves that regulate the urinary tract; or, when the problem originates from the urinary tract itself. In normal functions, the nerves in the urinary tract signals to the brain when the bladder is full, and the nerves of the brain reciprocate by sending a response signal to contract and release the urine. But in the event when either the nerves in the urinary tract or in the brain fail to coordinate with each other, or when the muscles fail to function properly, the afflicted individual will consequently suffer from an inability to pass urine even if he feels his bladder is full. Malfunction of these nerves can be triggered by certain factors, particularly: vaginal childbirth; ailments like diabetes, strokes, multiple sclerosis; injury to the pelvis; heavy metal poisoning, and; infection or injuries affecting the brain and/or the spinal cord.
Urine retention can either be acute or chronic. An acute urinary retention, or AUR, is an intensely disturbing ordeal marked by an urgent need to urinate, but failure to pass urine; thus, causing so much discomfort and pain on the afflicted person. His lower abdomen also becomes bloated. The pain most often accelerates when he is exposed to cold weather, has consumed too much ethanol, or has taken medication that prevents his bladder to contract. Because of this, the afflicted individual needs to be rushed to the hospital for prompt action.
Meanwhile, chronic urine retention may not be readily life-threatening but it still has the potential to become a serious condition, and should, therefore, be given medical attention. It causes the afflicted person mild discomfort and frequent trips to the restroom as he feels his bladder is continually full. He can pass urine, albeit finding it difficult starting a stream, and the flow is weak. He also experiences dribbling in between trips to the restroom. Chronic urinary retention is most often due to an obstruction in the bladder opening.
Initial treatment of urine retention involves draining the bladder of urine to avoid permanent damage by inserting a catheter into the urethra. But those whose condition is due to enlarge prostate are given appropriate treatment immediately. Long-term treatment is based on its causes.