It’s an alarming feeling when you can’t urinate, or even if you’re experiencing a weakened stream of urine accompanied by a pressing need to urinate. There are several things that could be causing your difficulty with urination (also known as urinary retention). You may be able to urinate after following some simple steps, or you may need to seek medical attention immediately via the emergency room.


What causes urinary retention and what can you do about it?


Causes of Urinary Retention

What’s causing your urinary retention may depend on whether or not you’ve had a recent procedure done. Oftentimes, however, the causes are from other conditions that you’ll need to seek medical attention for. These conditions include a urinary tract infection or an enlarged prostate. The symptoms of both of these conditions are unpleasant to say the least, so if you’re experiencing urinary retention, it’s best to see your doctor as soon as you’re able to get treatment.


If you’ve had a recent surgical procedure done that involved anesthesia, you could have difficulty urinating as a result of this. Urinary retention could also happen as a result of taking medications such as decongestants or antihistamines. Other medications that could cause you to have difficulty urinating include bladder spasm medications.


Another cause of urinary retention is “holding it” for too long. If you’ve needed to urinate for a while and then go only to find that your urine stream is weak or you’re unable to go, this could cause your bladder to swell, thus producing inability to urinate or a weak urine stream.


Home Remedies or Emergency Care?

If you’re not able to urinate at all, you should seek emergency care. Urology Specialists of the Carolinas can help you during our regular office hours of 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the week, but outside of these hours or on the weekend or holidays, you’ll need to visit your local emergency room. Your doctor will place a catheter in your bladder to provide relief and then determine what the problem is.


If you have a weak urine stream, you may try to relax your lower urinary tract muscles (or pelvic floor muscles). This can help you to urinate more easily. A warm bath could help relax the muscles and aid in urination. If you’re currently taking medication for your prostate (including an enlarged prostate), you’ll need to take this medication regularly as prescribed by your doctor in order to experience relief from your symptoms.


Finally, if you’re using any type of antihistamines or decongestants, stop using them to see if it improves your ability to urinate.


It’s not comfortable or pleasant to have difficulty urinating or not be able to urinate at all. To be able to urinate easier, try our suggestions and be sure you’re taking all medication as prescribed. If you’re not able to urinate at all, schedule an appointment with us immediately or visit your local emergency room. Not being able to urinate is an emergency!