Urinary Retention - Treatment

Please discuss the treatment(s) you have received for urinary retention.

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How is urinary retention treated?

Catheterization

With acute urinary retention, treatment begins with the insertion of a catheter through the urethra to drain the bladder. This initial treatment relieves the immediate distress of a full bladder and prevents permanent bladder damage. Long-term treatment for any case of urinary retention depends on the cause.

The cause of acute urinary retention may be temporary. For example, if you have retention after surgery, you will probably regain your ability to urinate after the effects of the anesthesia wear off. In such cases, you may need to have a catheter inserted once or twice with no other treatment required after you have shown you can urinate on your own.

If you have chronic urinary retention, or if acute retention appears to become chronic, further treatment will be necessary. You may need to continue using a catheter if other options do not work for you. You may be taught to catheterize yourself as needed. You will need to learn sterile technique to avoid UTIs.

Treatments to relieve prostate enlargement

The treatments for prostate enlargement range from medication to surgery.

Surgery for women with cystocele or rectocele

Women may need surgery to lift a fallen bladder or rectum. The most common procedure for cystocele and rectocele repair is for the surgeon to make an incision in the wall of the vagina to find the defect or hole in the membrane -- a wall of tissue called fascia -- that normally separates the vagina from the other pelvic organs. The surgeon places sutures in the fascia to close up the defect, then closes the incision in the vaginal wall with more stitches, removing any excess tissue. These suturing steps tighten the layers of tissue that separate the organs, creating more support for the pelvic organs.

Treatments for men with urethral stricture

If a man is diagnosed with urethral stricture, a doctor can perform a procedure called dilation, in which increasingly wider tubes are inserted into the urethra to widen the stricture. An alternate method is to inflate a small balloon at the end of a catheter inside the urethra.

A surgeon can repair a stricture by performing an internal urethrotomy. The surgeon advances a catheter up to the stricture and uses a knife or laser to make an incision that opens the stricture.

Another treatment for urethral stricture in men is placement of a wire mesh tube, called a stent, to keep the passage open.

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