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Urinary retention is defined as the inability to completely or partially empty the bladder. You may be unable to start urination, or if you are able to start, you can’t fully empty your bladder.
There are two general types of urinary retention: obstructive and non-obstructive. If there is an obstruction (for example, kidney stones), urine cannot flow freely through the urinary tract. Non-obstructive causes include a weak bladder muscle and nerve problems that interfere with signals between the brain and the bladder. If the nerves aren’t working properly, the brain may not get the message that the bladder is full.
Some of the most common causes of non-obstructive urinary retention are:
Obstructive retention may result from:
Urinary retention is a treatable condition. Don’t be afraid to speak up about your symptoms and how they affect your daily life. This will help your doctor find the right treatment for you.
Information on this site should not be used as a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.