Urinary retention is a condition in which you cannot empty all the urine from your bladder. Urinary retention can be acute—a sudden inability to urinate, or chronic—a gradual inability to completely empty the bladder of urine.
Symptoms & Causes
The symptoms of urinary retention can range from severe abdominal pain and the inability to urinate, to few or no symptoms at all. Urinary retention results from either a blockage that partially or fully prevents the flow of urine, or your bladder not being able to maintain a strong enough force to expel all the urine.
Health care professionals use your medical history, a physical exam, and tests to help find the cause of urinary retention. Tests include postvoid residual urine measurement, lab tests, imaging tests, urodynamic tests, and cystoscopy.