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What Causes Urinary Retention In Elderly Females

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When Should I See A Health Care Professional

Urinary Retention In Adults

See a health care professional right away if you are unable to urinate or have severe pain in your abdomen. Acute urinary retention can be life threatening.

If you have any of the other symptoms of urinary retention, such as trouble urinating, frequent urination, or leaking urine, talk with your health care professional about your symptoms and possible treatments. Chronic urinary retention can cause serious health problems.

Surgical Treatment Is Necessary For Some Cases These Treatments Might Include:

  • Prostate surgery. The most common surgery is transurethral resection of the prostate. In this procedure, the urologist uses a tiny tool, inserted through a catheter, to remove a section of the prostate. This treatment is used frequently for urinary retention caused by BPH.
  • Internal urethrotomy. When there is a stricture that cannot be resolved by widening, a urologist can open the stricture with an incision. The procedure is performed via a special catheter inserted into the urethra.
  • Cystocele or rectocele repair. Women whose bladder or rectum has fallen may need surgery to return the organs to their normal position. A urologist specializing in female reproductive surgery will repair any defects in the tissue of the vaginal wall. This repaired tissue then will be strong enough to hold the organs in their proper places, restoring normal urinary retention function.
  • Removal of tumors or cancer. If the cause of the urinary retention is a tumor or cancerous tissue in the urethra, bladder or prostate, removing those tissues may reduce the problem.

What Causes Urinary Retention In Men In Their 80s

According to research, 10 percent of men over the age of 70 and almost one-third of men over the age of 80 would suffer acute urinary retention over a five-year period.Prostatic enlargement is a risk factor for this in males, with risk factors including growing age, being of African American descent, being obese, having diabetes, consuming excessive amounts of alcohol, and being physically inactive.

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Enhancing Healthcare Team Outcomes

Diagnosis and treatment of urinary retention require an interprofessional team effort. Primary care physicians, emergency department physicians, and hospitalists should be able to recognize the early signs and symptoms of urinary retention. Nurses should monitor the urine output in hospitalized patients and report to physicians if they notice a decrease or complete absence of urine output. Consultation with a urologist being obtained in advanced cases. Pharmacists also have a role in recognizing the medications, which can cause urinary retention and coordinating efforts with the prescribing clinician. Unfortunately, despite optimal treatment, the recurrence of urinary retention is frequent.

Description Of The Sample


Of the 190 patients admitted to acute geriatric hospitalisation units in the study period, 128 patients were eligible for inclusion . The final sample included 94 patients of whom 41 were men and 53 women . Of these patients, 92 were admitted directly through the emergency department. One patient was admitted directly from home, and one patient was referred and transferred from the geriatric day hospital. The mean age of the included patients was 84.6 years and 76.6% of them lived at home. The median length of stay was 12 days .

Fig. 1

Flow-chart of in- and exclusions. N number h hours UC urinary catheter UR urinary retention. 1patients who received a urinary catheter for UR in the emergency department were also included because their PVR was noted in their electronic medical record

A substantial amount of patients with UR, 8.0% for PVR150 ml and 7.1% for PVR300 ml, did not have urinary symptoms, UTI or defaecation problems.

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What Tests Will I Need

Your GP will take a history which will include:

  • Your urinary symptoms.
  • Any past history of any medical problems.
  • A review of the medicines that you are taking .

Your GP will also perform an examination of your tummy to feel for any increase in size of the bladder and any abnormality of your kidneys. An examination of the prostate gland is important for men. A vaginal examination is important for women in order to help find the cause of the urinary retention.

Your GP may be able to diagnose and treat the cause of your problems passing urine on the basis of the history and examination. Blood tests may be arranged, including a test of how well your kidneys are working.

If you have sudden urinary retention and cannot pass any urine then you will need to be seen straightaway in hospital. If you have persistent urinary retention your GP will often refer you to see a urology specialist for tests. These are undertaken to find out the cause of your urinary retention and the best ways to treat the problem.

Treating And Managing Urinary Incontinence

Today, there are more treatments and ways to manage urinary incontinence than ever before. The choice of treatment depends on the type of bladder control problem you have, how serious it is, and what best fits your lifestyle. As a general rule, the simplest and safest treatments should be tried first.

A combination of treatments may help you get better control of your bladder. Your doctor may suggest you try the following:

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Are You Looking For A Urogynecologist In Houston

Urinary retention in women can be treated in a number of different ways. While acute urinary retention is a medical emergency and needs to be tended to immediately, chronic urinary retention can be treated if it is creating urinary tract complications or if its affecting your quality of life.

If you think you might be experiencing urinary retention, contact us today with questions or to schedule an initial consultation.

How To Find The Best Assisted Living Facility For An Elderly Adult With Urinary Tract Infections

Incomplete Bladder Emptying (Urinary Retention)

Finding the best assisted living facility for a loved one involves both conscious and deliberate efforts. You should be aware of the care your loved one needs, the services the facility offers, the location and proximity to you and your family, the environment, the compassion of the staff, and the management expertise of the administrators. The pattern of disease presentation varies and having a team of staff who are trained to identify early symptoms or changes is crucial.

Objectives to look out for when identifying whether the assisted living facilitys staff can cater to the needs of a loved one with urinary tract infection include:

  • Ability to maintain or promote a better quality of life
  • How knowledgeable the caregivers are about the urinary tract infections signs and symptoms, risk factors, and strategies for prevention of UTIs
  • Ability to discern when to present the senior for proper medical care, provision of transportation to healthcare appointments, and medication management
  • Providing support, care and spending quality time each day with the seniors

An assisted living facility may help reduce the risk of recurrence of urinary tract infections if appropriate measures are taken. Dietary monitoring, garden walks, and socialization interactions to bond with other seniors in the assisted living facility may promote good health and add more quality life to your elderly loved one.

Senior Living Near Me

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Not Sure What To Do Next

If you are still concerned about your urinary retention, why not use healthdirects online Symptom Checker to get advice on when to seek medical attention.

The Symptom Checker guides you to the next appropriate healthcare steps, whether its self care, talking to a health professional, going to a hospital or calling triple zero .

What Causes A Mans Bladder Not To Empty Completely

A neurogenic bladder is a condition in which the nerves that regulate the bladder have been injured or destroyed. This hinders a person from completely emptying their bladder. An injury to the nerves in the spine or a disorder that destroys the nervous system, such as motor neurone disease or spina bifida, can also result in this syndrome.

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How Is It Diagnosed

To diagnose urinary retention, a doctor will first ask about the history of your symptoms and perform a physical exam. The physical will include an examination of your genitals and rectum to look for any symptoms affecting those areas that may also affect the urinary tract.

Some other tests that may be used to confirm a diagnosis

likely be inserted to help quickly drain the urine. Local anesthesia will be used to make sure you dont feel pain or discomfort from the catheter.

If a catheter doesnt work or cant be used because of an injury or other condition, a doctor may insert a suprapubic catheter into the skin above your bladder to drain the urine.

What Are The Complications Of Urinary Retention And Its Treatments

URINARY RETENTION: In Hospitalized Elderly Women

Some complications of urinary retention and its treatments may include:

  • Urinary Tract Infections Because urine is normally sterile and the normal flow of urine usually prevents bacteria from infecting the urinary tract, developing urinary retention means an abnormal urine flow gives bacteria at the opening of the urethra a chance to infect the urinary tract.
  • Bladder damage If your bladder is stretched too far or for extended periods, the muscles may become permanently damaged and lose their ability to properly contract.
  • Kidney damage Sometime urinary retention can cause urine to flow back into the kidneys. This is called reflux and can damage or scar the kidneys.
  • Urinary incontinence Transurethral surgery to treat an enlarged prostate can result in urinary incontinence in some men. Its often temporary with most men gaining bladder control in a few weeks or months after surgery. The removal of tumours or cancerous tissue in the bladder, prostate, or urethra may also result in urinary incontinence.

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The Urinary Tract Infection Risks Factors For Male Seniors May Include:

  • Kidney Stones and Bladder Stones: Kidney stones and bladder stones along the urinary tract can occur among older men. This obstruction of the urine outflow tract often causes pooling of urine and provides a suitable medium in which organisms can grow and thrive.
  • Urethral Strictures: Narrowing of the outflow tract can cause a full bladder, and difficulty in voiding urine. Stones occluding the urinary tract may cause urethral strictures.
  • Enlarged Prostate: This is an age-related condition, as prostates usually increase in size as a man ages. This may be due to the increase in the levels of sex hormones, however, causing difficulty in urination.
  • Bacterial Prostatitis: The proximity of the prostate to the urinary bladder could easily transmit infections to the bladder when the prostate becomes infected by bacteria.
  • Catheter Use: Prolonged use of a catheter to drain urine from the bladder is a risk factor for urinary tract infection.

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What Causes Chronic Urinary Retention

Urinary retention can happen for several different reasons. These causes can include:

  • A blockage to the way urine leaves your body.
  • Medications youre taking for other conditions.
  • Nerve issues that interrupt the way your brain and urinary system communicate.
  • Infections and swelling that prevent urine from leaving your body.
  • Complications and side effects of medications given to you for a surgical procedure.


When something blocks the free flow of urine through the bladder and urethra, you might experience urinary retention. The urethra is the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of your body. In men, a blockage can be caused when the prostate gland gets so big that it presses on the urethra. This is the most common cause of chronic urinary retention in men. One cause in women is a bladder that sags. This is called cystocele. It can also be caused when the rectum sags into the back wall of the vagina a condition called rectocele. Some causes can happen to both men and women. The urethra can get narrow due to scar tissue. This is called a stricture. Urinary stones can also block the flow of urine out of your body.


Nerve issues

  • Trauma to the spine or pelvis.
  • Pressure on the spinal cord from tumors and a herniated disk.
  • Vaginal childbirth.

Urinary retention from nerve disease occurs at the same rate in men and women.

Infections and swelling


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Does Drinking Water Help Urinary Retention

Thus, the kidneys will only be able to produce highly concentrated urine that will irritate the bladder as a result of this. As a result, staying hydrated throughout the day by drinking enough of water is an important part of any treatment strategy for urinary retention, and it is especially important for women.

Will Urinary Retention Go Away

Urinary Retention

Urinary retention is curable, and there is no reason to be embarrassed or humiliated if you have it. Often, a doctor is able to determine the source of the problem. Some people, however, may require a referral from their primary care physician to a urologist, a proctologist, or a pelvic floor specialist for further testing and treatment.

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Treatment Considerations In Older Adults

Dr N: She told me that her incontinence had definitely gotten worse in the last couple of weeks. I had noticed that another physician had sent a urine culture that had grown more than 105 CFU/mL of E coli that was sensitive to all antibiotics. Assuming that this was asymptomatic bacteriuria, it was not treated with antibiotics. A repeat urine culture again showed more than 105 CFU/mL of E coli, again it was pan sensitive. Given her symptoms, I treated her with a 7-day course of an antibiotic. However the antibiotics didnt really make a difference.

Studies have shown that treatment of asymptomatic bacteriuria does eradicate bacteriuria. However, reinfection rates , adverse antimicrobial drug effects, and isolation of increasingly resistant organisms occur more commonly in the therapy vs nontherapy groups. No differences in genitourinary morbidity or mortality were observed between the 2 groups.

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Symptoms Of Urinary Retention

The symptoms of urinary retention are not always obvious but may include

  • Hesitancy really having to strain to pass urine
  • Strong feelings of urgency and frequency and when passing urine only a small amount comes out
  • A urinary stream that is very weak and intermittent

Whilst your bladder is not emptying properly there is a risk that the residual urine in the bladder will become infected. This could cause further complications and problems if it isnt removed regularly. It is important to seek help if you experience any of the above symptoms.

It is a good idea to keep a record of your bladder activity in a bladder diary for a few days before your appointment with your doctor or nurse.

Your Doctor or Healthcare Professional may recommend the following tests:

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Uti From Catheter Use

Placement of a urinary catheter provides an opportunity for bacteria to enter the urinary tract. Bacteria may come from the patients anus and perineum or from the health workers hands. Health workers must take great care, using sterile technique, when placing a catheter. If you are performing clean intermittent catheterization, you must follow the same sterile procedures every time you handle the catheter.

What Causes A Uti

Retention of urine

A UTI occurs when bacteria, usually from either the anus, kidney stones, or from backed-up urine, is trapped in the urethra and allowed to grow. Research tells us that there are various causes for UTIs and urinary infections , and causes tend to change as we grow older. For example, in older women, a decrease in estrogen can lead to UTIs. Other factors that contribute to UTIs and UIs include:

  • Living in an environment with someone that has a yeast infection or UTI
  • Wearing incontinence supplies for an extended time
  • Sexual activity, especially unprotected sex that can expose you to bacteria and STDs
  • Kidney stones or other issues affecting the urethra, trapping urine and bacteria

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What Can Be Expected After Treatment For A Cystocele

In mild cases, non-surgical treatments may be all that is needed to successfully deal with a cystocele.

When surgery is performed for more serious cases, some women will eventually need another surgery because the first surgery failed, the cystocele returned or another pelvic floor problem developed. Women who are older, who smoke, have diabetes, or who have had a hysterectomy, may be at higher risk for complications.

Prevention Of Urinary Tract Infections In Elderly Adults

Preventive measures can be adopted to reduce the risk of urinary tract infections. It is worthy of note that not all urinary tract infections are preventable. Precautionary steps are usually advised, especially for the elderly adults who are at a higher risk of getting infected.

Consider the following strategies to help your elderly parent prevent a urinary tract infection:

  • Stay Hydrated: Water is said to be a cleansing solvent, and water helps in staying hydrated. We are recommended to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily.

Water keeps the body system active, and also flushes small stones that may later calcify to form bigger stones, which could then obstruct the outflow tracts. Staying hydrated could also help clear the mind and reduce the frequency of confusion.

  • Drink Cranberry Juice: Some urologists believe that an ingredient in cranberry juice helps senior citizens prevent the growth or adherence of bacteria to the bladder, reducing the chance of getting infected. However, there is no scientific-proven evidence for this belief.
  • Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine: Alcohol and Caffeine are referred to as bladder irritants in the elderly adults. Alcohol is detrimental to a seniors health. Alcohol use can lead to more confusion, hallucinations, or change in typical behaviors. Chronic use of alcohol could damage vital organs of the body, which further worsen a seniors immunity.

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