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Urinary Retention after Catheter Removal

Experience urinary retention after catheter removal? Discover recovery secrets! Experts reveal causes, symptoms, and solutions for optimal health.

  • Urology

By Ipshita Ghoshal

13th Apr '23

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When individuals have trouble urinating on their own, they typically use a urinary tube called a catheter. It can be used to assist with some tests and to clear the bladder before or following an operation. In such cases, it's advisable to consult with a urologist.

The catheter may be withdrawn after a few minutes, hours, or days, depending on the sort of catheter you have and the purpose for which it is being used.

The failure to pass urine after surgery even though the bladder is filled is known as urinary retention.

Between 1997 and 2004, the normalized incidence rate of urinary retention after catheter removal per 1000 people rose briefly, rising from 2.34% to 3.42%, but it then steadily decreased, reaching 2.95% in 2017.

Men and women both face urinary retention challenges. However, men experience it more frequently. Every year, 4.5 to 6.8 out of every 1,000 men are identified as having urine incontinence.

Let’s look at some of the common causes of urinary retention!!

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What are the common causes of urinary retention after catheter removal?

When you can't freely urinate it is called Urinary retention. This illness can be either severe or persistent. Numerous factors, including obstructive, viral and inflammatory, pharmacologic, neural, and other factors, can contribute to urine retention. 

The primary contributing factors of urinary retention after catheter removal are:

  • Benign prostatic hyperplasia
  • Prostatitis
  • Cystitis
  • Urethritis
  • Vulvovaginitis
  • Anticholinergic and Alpha-Adrenergic medicines
  • Cortical, peripheral, or spinal nerve lesions
  • Constipation
  • Stones of the urinary tract
  • Urinary tract infections

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Can urinary retention be a sign of a serious underlying condition?

Urinary retention can be the cause of underlying nervous issues. Various diseases are indicated by urinary retention. 

The diseases include:

Read carefully!! Look for these symptoms to know if you may have a urinary retention problem or not.

What are the symptoms of urinary retention after catheter removal?

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The symptoms may be varied. People with chronic urinary retention struggle to start the flow of urine. Although, if they get going, the flow is very feeble. Others may have the urge to pass but are not able to do so. Some people feel the need to go frequently, while others may feel the need to go right again. Since the bladder is filled the urine may leak, even if you are not intending to urinate.

In people with acute urinary retention, the ability to urinate suddenly becomes severely limited or nonexistent.

Postoperative urinary retention after catheter removal can be identified through the following symptoms:

  • Pain or soreness
  • Bladder spasms
  • pee leaking along with the failure to urinate following catheter removal.

How to diagnose urinary retention after catheter removal?

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For the diagnosis, your urologist will inquire about your medical history and conduct a physical examination in the best urology hospitals. Your medical background and substance use will also be discussed.

  • An ultrasound examination of the bladder can be used to gauge how much pee remains in it after urinating by conducting a Cystoascopy.
  • A narrow tube with a small camera attached to one end is inserted into your urethra during a procedure called a cystoscopy. This enables your urologist to view images of the walls of your bladder and urethra. This test could reveal a urethral stricture (scar), a stone obstruction, a swollen prostate, or a tumor.
  • A computed tomography (CT) scan can help identify any obstructions to the passage of pee, such as stones.
  • It is possible to perform tests that measure bladder pressure with a tube to determine how efficiently the bladder discharges. These studies can also determine the amount of urine flow.  It is known as Urodynamic testing.
  • If your urologist believes the retention is brought on by a nerve issue, specific procedures might be performed. Electromyography or EMR is one such procedure.
  • It is possible to perform a blood screening for prostate-specific antigen (PSA) to detect the disease. A transrectal ultrasound as well as a potential prostate tissue biopsy may be performed if the PSA number is high. 

Are you worried if there are complications associated? Read below to know more! 

Can urinary retention lead to complications after catheter removal?

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Early catheter removal can be done successfully, but some patients may experience acute urinary retention after catheter removal, most likely because of anastomotic edema.

On the other hand, urethral or anastomotic stricture should be taken into consideration if patients experience trouble urinating some time after the surgery.

According to Health Canal -

Urinary retention can become chronic, meaning that it can be long-lasting. Chronic urinary retention can stretch your bladder muscles, making it difficult to hold in your urine and causing you to have dribbling, also known as urinary incontinence. Chronic urinary retention can also increase your risk of urinary tract infections.

What are the treatments for urinary retention after catheter removal?

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  • To handle your urinary retention, your doctor may advise you to attempt self-care procedures—either by themselves or in conjunction with other procedures.
  • Your urologist might advise finding a physical trainer who focuses on curing pelvic floor issues. Exercises for the pelvic floor muscles improve the function of the nerves and muscles that you use to urinate. This improves the flow of urine from the bladder.
  • To help prevent your bladder from getting too filled, your urologist may advise scheduled voiding, or going to the bathroom at predetermined intervals. Your doctor may also suggest double voiding, which involves pausing a brief while after you urinate to attempt and go again, to help ensure that your bladder is fully empty after you urinate.

How long does it take to recover from urinary retention after catheter removal?

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Since there are various types of treatment for urinary retention. The recovery from urinary retention after catheter removal will vary depending upon the type of treatment. The duration of recovery can take around  2 days to a few months. 

Read on to know what steps you can take to prevent urinary retention!

Self-care measures to prevent urinary retention after catheter removal

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Urinary retention is not always preventable, but you can take precautions to lessen your risk of getting the disease.

  • Changing bathroom habits: Do not try to stop the urine forcefully when you have the urge to go. Forcefully holding your urine may further damage the bladder muscles. 
  • Perform pelvic floor muscle exercises: These exercises help in improving bladder and bowel function. It also makes the pelvic floor muscle stronger. 
  • Bring changes in lifestyle and dietary intake: Altering your lifestyle and diet for the better will help prevent urinary retention after catheter removal caused by constipation. Drink adequate water and get a high amount of fiber.

According to Health Canal -

You should attempt to empty your bladder 2 ½ - 3 hours after removing your catheter. Remember that your urethra and bladder may be irritated for approximately 24 - 48 hours after the catheter is removed, which may complicate urination by making it uncomfortable. You will want to ensure you can empty your bladder at least once every 4 hours. After removing a urinary catheter, you should be able to urinate 150ml of urine 3 times before going home to ensure that you are not retaining urine.

Are there any chances to relapse after the treatment?

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It can be challenging to predict the situation effectively. Within a week, 50% of men who can void it normally will experience recurrent acute urinary retention, and 68% will have a second incident within a year. Men whose original maximal urinary flow rate is less than 5 ml/s have a 90% recurrence risk.


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  • What is urinary retention after catheter removal? 

Urinary retention after catheter removal refers to the inability to empty the bladder completely or at all following the removal of a urinary catheter.

  • What causes urinary retention after catheter removal? 

Urinary retention after catheter removal can occur due to bladder muscle weakness, blockage in the urinary tract, nerve damage, or inflammation.

  • How long does urinary retention last after catheter removal? 

The duration of urinary retention after catheter removal can vary. In some cases, it may resolve within a few hours or days, while in others, it may persist for a longer period.

  • What are the symptoms of urinary retention after catheter removal

Symptoms of urinary retention after catheter removal may include a weak urine flow, frequent urination attempts with minimal output, discomfort or pain in the lower abdomen, and a feeling of incomplete emptying of the bladder.

  • How is urinary retention after catheter removal diagnosed? 

Urinary retention after catheter removal is diagnosed through a physical examination, medical history review, and possibly additional tests such as a bladder scan or ultrasound.

  • What are the treatment options for urinary retention after catheter removal? 

Treatment options for urinary retention after catheter removal may include bladder retraining exercises, medications to relax the bladder muscles, catheterization, or in some cases, surgical intervention.

  • Are there any preventive measures for urinary retention after catheter removal? 

To reduce the risk of urinary retention after catheter removal, it is important to follow post-catheter removal instructions, maintain proper hydration, and perform pelvic floor muscle exercises as advised by a healthcare professional.

  • When should I seek medical attention for urinary retention after catheter removal? 

It is recommended to seek immediate medical attention if you experience severe pain, inability to pass any urine, or if urinary retention persists for an extended period after catheter removal.


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Question and Answers

I have ED and PE based on past experience so I consult urologist he gave duraplus 10/30 for 30 days every night currently I am not in sexual activity and I said this to doctor also then I gone to another urologist for 2nd opinion he gave tadaflo 5 for 30 days every night and duralast while having intercourse i also told this doctor that I am not in sexual activity, so please suggest me which approach is good

Male | 26

Both Duraplus and Tadalafil are drugs used for erectile dysfunction treatment. Duraplus is compounded by Vardenafil and Dapoxetine, and Tadaflo by Tadalafil. The medication is dependent on some factors, which include age, medical history, and other medical conditions. I would recommend you to see a urologist who is well-versed in erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation to get a proper diagnosis and treatment plan for your condition.

Answered on 20th Feb '24

Dr. Neeta Verma

Dr. Neeta Verma

How to remove a chastity cage without a key?

Male | 40

As a medical expert, I would highly discourage you from taking down a chastity cage without the key. This can result in serious harm and could necessitate medical treatment. It is better to consult a urologist or an expert in sexual health for safe chastity cage removal. Please do not try to remove it yourself.

Answered on 19th Feb '24

Dr. Neeta Verma

Dr. Neeta Verma

So I was peeing alot and having discomfort and was then put on antibiotics for 3 days and used this stuff to make my urine turn orange. At the end I had felt shaky and and went to the ER and they checked my urine and it was clean then gave me some more of the stuff that turns my urine orange. I then felt better for like a week and a half and went back to my old habits of not really drinking water and only drinking energy drinks and i was taking a shower like every other day besides for one time ware i didnt take one for 3 days then had to go to the bathroom before going to bed 2x the the next night 5x so that same day I got to the docters again and he gave me 10 days of antibiotics and now I'm at the end of those and still shaking when I'm slightly cold but my urine has little to no discomfort and I'm no longer getting a feeling in my bladder (the feeling didn't hurt) the doctors first said it was a uti then urinitis or urithritis or something like that I just want another opinion and to make sure I'm ok

Male | 20

Based on your description of the symptoms, it might be that you had an acute urinary tract infection and antibiotics were used to treat it. Drinking plenty of water is needed and energy drinks should be avoided because dehydration can make UTI symptoms worse. If you are still shaking or experience other similar symptoms after the treatment, you should go to the doctor who prescribed the antibiotics to you or see a urologist.

Answered on 19th Feb '24

Dr. Neeta Verma

Dr. Neeta Verma

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