When you are unable to pass urine that has collected in the urinary bladder, the condition that you are suffering from is called urinary retention. It can be acute retention or chronic retention. Acute retention is sudden and painful, whereas chronic retention is painless with markedly enlarged bladder that can be palpable in lower abdomen.
In acute retention the patient is not able to pass urine at all. While in chronic retention, there is incomplete emptying of the bladder and patient has sensation or a feeling to urinate frequently. Chronic urinary retention is generally debilitating but not dangerous.
Men and women both can suffer from urinary retention. Generally urinary retention is observed later in life, but in some cases the condition can also prevail at younger age. Below are given causes of urinary retention in women.
What Causes Urinary Retention In Women?
- Bladder stone obstruction: it is one of the most frequent causes of retention of urine in females. Urinary stone can occur anywhere in the urinary system. A large stone can obstruct the opening of urethra. As a result urine collected in bladder will not be able to pass smoothly through the urethra.
- Cystocele: it is usually seen in aged women. Cystocele is a condition when the urinary bladder droops in the vagina. When the wall between vagina and bladder becomes weak and lax, it allows the bladder to droop in the vagina. Due to sagging and abnormal placement of bladder, the urine can remain trapped inside the bladder.
- Urinary tract infection: as compared to men, UTI is more common in women. Retention can occur when the bladder and urethra is infected.
- Urethra: a stricture, stones in urethra, rupture of urethra, abscess near the urethral opening etc are some of the causes that can cause urinary retention in women.
- Neurological causes: spinal cord diseases such as transverse myelitis, fracture of spine, dislocation of spine, multiple sclerosis, stroke, injury to pelvic nerves during vaginal childbirth are some of the causes for retention of urine in females.
- Uterus: fibroid, ovarian cysts, carcinoma of cervix or an abnormal position of uterus can be responsible for retention of urine in women.
- Drugs: certain drugs used as antidepressants, antihistamines, etc can cause retention. Acute retention of urine can also occur after surgery due to anesthesia drugs.
- A large growth in pelvis.
- Hysterical and malingering cause of retention can rarely occur. But organic cause must be ruled out before diagnosing it as hysterical cause.
Treatment For Urinary Retention In Women
Retention of urine should be medically intervened. If you are experiencing any urinary discomfort while passing urine, you should consult your doctor.
- Primarily the cause of retention must be treated. The woman should be reassured and encouraged to pass urine.
- Hot water bag: if the sensation is normal, place a hot water bag over lower abdomen. This diminishes internal congestion. Hot water bath is also successful.
- Catheterization: if the above method measures fail, catheterization is attempted by doctors. Urinary Catheter is a small tube that is inserted through the urethra into the bladder. Catheterization should be done with full aseptic precaution and by a doctor or well trained nurse only. Catheterization is useful in both acute and chronic urinary retention.
- In case of rupture of urethra, suprapubic catheterization should be done. It requires small surgery. A hole is made in the pubic area and catheter is passed through this hole.
- Vaginal pessary: it is placed deep inside the vagina to support the vaginal wall. Due to its support the drooped bladder is pushed in its normal position.