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Inability to Urinate (cont.)

What Symptoms May Be Associated With an Inability to Urinate?

With urinary retention, there is an inability to empty the bladder despite an urge to urinate. Some people have the following symptoms:

  • Most people with acute urinary retention also feel pain in the lower abdomen (pelvis) along with inability to urinate. Chronic urinary retention is usually painless because some amount of urine is able to get out of the bladder. This can become painful with the absence of urination or if the amount of retained urine increases.
  • A small amount of urine may leak out of the bladder but generally not enough to relieve symptoms.
  • With chronic urinary retention or sensory problems, there may be no symptoms.
  • Back pain, fever, and painful urination may indicate a urinary tract infection.

When Should Someone Seek Medical Care for an Inability to Urinate?

Call your health-care provider immediately if you have symptoms of acute urinary retention.

  • This condition requires urgent bladder drainage to prevent damage to the bladder, kidneys, and ureter.
  • Your doctor may advise you to go to a hospital emergency department without delay.

Urologists (doctors specialized in the urinary tract system) are most often involved in the care of patients with urinary retention. Internists, family physicians, and emergency-room physicians also frequently treat urinary retention.

What Specialists Treat Urinary Retention?

Urologists (doctors specialized in the urinary tract system) are most often involved in the care of patients with urinary retention. However, urogynecologists also treat women with urinary retention. Internists, family physicians, and emergency-room physicians also frequently treat urinary retention and will refer you to a urologist or urogynecologist if it is not improving.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/27/2016
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Inability to Urinate - Causes

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Inability to Urinate - Treatment

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