Struggling to Empty the Tank? Could it be Acute Urinary Retention?
Naturally, your nervous system should signal when the bladder is full and needs emptying. However, if you're suffering from a condition like acute urinary retention (AUR), you may fail to empty the bladder despite it being full.
Acute urinary retention is prevalent among older men but can affect people of both genders and all ages. It's not a disease as such. Rather, it's a condition that results from health issues such as enlarged prostate in men or cystocele in women. For instance, when the prostate enlarges, it pushes against the urethra, blocking urine from flowing out of the bladder.
Other common issues that may lead to acute retention include medications, severe constipation, and nerve problems. Nerve problems can be caused by issues such as diabetes, spinal cord injuries, and stroke, while drugs such as antidepressants, antihistamines, heart prescriptions, etc., can trigger acute urinary retention
Often AUR causes severe pain and can be life-threatening, requiring emergency treatment. According to statistics, in a five-year timeline, the prevalence of AUR in men aged above 70 years is usually 1 in 10, and 1 in 3 men for those over 80 years. On the other hand, 3 in 100,000 women develop AUR annually. The statistics also indicate the condition is pretty rare in children.
How Can I Make Myself Pee?
When your inability to pee is caused by health conditions, as mentioned above, it's always advisable to go for emergency treatment. Nonetheless, there are instances where you may be required to pee but are unable to. E.g., if you visit a doctor for a urine test and you can't bring yourself to pee. In that case, here are techniques you can employ to induce urination.
- Running Water
The sound of running water can trigger you to pee. Flushing the toilet before peeing or turning the faucet on can do the trick. However, if you're environmentally conscious and don't want to wastewater, you can play recordings of running water.
- Valsalva Maneuver
A Valsalva maneuver involves sitting on the toilet and pushing down as though you want to have a bowel movement. To add more pressure, press your lower abdomen using your forearm. However, you should be careful not to press too hard against the bladder as urine can flow back to the kidneys, leading to infections.
- Putting Hands in Warm Water
Another effective trick is putting your hands in warm water. Just fill a dish with warm water and take it with you to the bathroom. Then sit on the toilet bowl and put your fingertips in the water. Ensure you keep the fingers in the water until you feel an urge to pee.
- Suprapubic Tap
To do a suprapubic tap, sit on the toilet seat and tap the region between your belly button (navel) and pubic bone. Do systematic taps, stroking the area near the bladder once per second for about 30 seconds to trigger urination.
- Bending Forward
Once you're sitting on the toilet, bend forward to add pressure on the bladder. This will stimulate the bladder and trigger an urge to pee.
- Rinsing Your Perineum
This is yet another trick whereby you can rinse your perineum to trigger urination. The perineum is the region between your genitals and the anal opening. You can achieve this by sitting on the toilet seat then squirting water directly on the area.
- Trying Relaxation Techniques
While sitting on the toilet, you can try relaxation techniques to trigger your bladder to let out urine. Close your eyes for better focus and take a deep breath to relax your body's muscles – limbs, head, stomach, etc.
- Sniffing Peppermint Oil
Peppermint oil is yet another substance that can trigger the right senses and give you an urge to pee. Pour some drops on a piece of cloth and carry it to the toilet. Once seated, sniff on the oil and wait for an urge to pee.
- Drinking Lots of Water Before the Appointment
There are various ways of triggering urination. But perhaps, you might not need to embark on all those techniques if you take lots of liquid before going for the appointment. If you get to the doctor's office with a full bladder and aren't suffering from acute urinary retention, peeing shouldn't be troublesome.
Lastly, you might not be going for a doctor's appointment or having a urinary retention issue after all, but you need to force yourself to pee for some reason. Maybe you could be going for a lengthy meeting or doing an exam and don't want to have to break midway to visit the bathroom. Besides the other tricks we have highlighted, you can exercise to stimulate the bladder. Walking, running, doing jumping jacks, etc., are some exercises that can help trigger urination.
What Should I Do About Acute Urinary Retention?
Without immediate treatment, acute urinary retention can lead to other health problems such as urinary tract infection, bladder or kidney damage. For this reason, the condition requires emergency treatment to help release the pee from the body.
Some of the treatments doctors administer include:
Draining the Bladder – Once you visit the doctor, they will drain the urine from your body with the help of a catheter.
Medication – Further, the doctor will investigate the cause of the problem and act accordingly. For instance, if the issue is caused by prostate enlargement, the doctor will administer medications such as 5-alpha reductase inhibitors to stop or shrink prostate growth. Other medications like alpha-blockers can help relax bladder muscles and encourage urination.
Surgery – The doctor might also suggest surgery to correct the problem. For instance, removing the tumor, repairing bladder tissue, etc., are surgery options your physician might advise.
Other Medical Interventions – Another possible intervention is cystoscopy. This involves using a camera to examine the urethra for urinary tract stones. If the problem is due to an enlarged prostate, a laser therapy treatment, urethral lift, or transurethral electrovaporization can be administered to reduce obstruction.
Physical Therapy – Among other treatments and depending on the severity of the condition, your physician might refer you to a therapist to assist you with pelvic floor exercises (kegel exercises). Essentially, the exercises help the pelvic nerves and muscles work as they ought to, encouraging urination.
MUC services several locations throughout Mississippi
Unless you're running tests in a doctor's office, requiring urine samples, or need to clear the bladder before a lengthy meeting, peeing is a natural act that shouldn't be forced. But if you're unable to pee due to acute urinary retention, then immediate treatment is essential. If you're suffering from the condition, talk to us today, and one of our urologists will be glad to help.