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Urinary Retention or Incomplete Emptying

People with this issue have difficulty emptying their bladder. The inability to empty the bladder completely can have many causes, which are generally divided into acute urinary retention and chronic urinary retention. Some causes include impaired bladder contractility, bladder outlet obstruction, detrusor-sphincter dyssynergia (lack of coordination between bladder contraction and sphincter relaxation), or a combination of any of these.

Retention is most common among men, in whom prostate abnormalities or urethral strictures cause outlet obstruction but can also occur in women. In either sex, retention may also be due to drugs (particularly those with anticholinergic effects, including many OTC drugs), severe fecal impaction (which increases pressure on the bladder muscle), or neurogenic bladder in patients with diabetes, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson disease, or prior pelvic surgery resulting in bladder denervation.

Urinary retention can be asymptomatic or cause urinary frequency, a sense of incomplete emptying, and urge or overflow incontinence. It may cause abdominal distention and pain. When retention develops slowly, pain may be absent. Long-standing retention predisposes people to urinary tract infections and can increase bladder pressure, causing obstructive uropathy.