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Urinary Retention

Urinary Retention is a topic covered in the 5-Minute Emergency Consult.

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  • Acute urinary retention (AUR):
    • Sudden inability to void spontaneously
    • Occurs most frequently in men >60 yr old
    • Most common cause of AUR in the ED is benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)


  • Multiple diagnostic considerations, following list is not exhaustive
  • Anatomic:
    • Penis:
      • Phimosis
      • Paraphimosis
      • Meatal stenosis
      • Foreign-body constriction
    • Urethra:
      • Tumor
      • Pelvic masses
      • Prolapse of pelvic organs
      • Foreign body
      • Calculus
      • Urethritis
      • Stricture
      • Meatal stenosis (can also be seen in females)
      • Hematoma
      • Vulvar edema after vaginal delivery
    • Prostate gland:
      • Benign prostatic hypertrophy
      • Carcinoma
      • Prostatitis
      • Contracture of bladder neck
      • Prostatic infarction
  • Neurologic causes:
    • Motor/paralytic:
      • Spinal shock
      • Spinal cord syndromes
    • Sensory/paralytic:
      • Diabetes
      • Multiple sclerosis
      • Spinal cord syndromes
  • Drugs:
    • Antihistamines
    • Anticholinergics
    • Antispasmodics
    • Tricyclic antidepressants
    • α-Adrenergic stimulators
    • Narcotics
    • NSAIDs

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Rosen, Peter, et al., editors. "Urinary Retention." 5-Minute Emergency Consult, 5th ed., Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2016. Emergency Central, emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307081/all/Urinary_Retention.
Urinary Retention. In: Rosen P, Shayne P, Barkin AZ, et al, eds. 5-Minute Emergency Consult. 5th ed. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2016. https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307081/all/Urinary_Retention. Accessed April 23, 2019.
Urinary Retention. (2016). In Rosen, P., Shayne, P., Barkin, A. Z., Wolfe, R. E., Hayden, S. R., Barkin, R. M., & Schaider, J. J. (Eds.), 5-Minute Emergency Consult. Available from https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307081/all/Urinary_Retention
Urinary Retention [Internet]. In: Rosen P, Shayne P, Barkin AZ, Wolfe RE, Hayden SR, Barkin RM, Schaider JJ, editors. 5-Minute Emergency Consult. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2016. [cited 2019 April 23]. Available from: https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307081/all/Urinary_Retention.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - ELEC T1 - Urinary Retention ID - 307081 ED - Rosen,Peter, ED - Shayne,Philip, ED - Barkin,Adam Z, ED - Wolfe,Richard E, ED - Hayden,Stephen R, ED - Barkin,Roger M, ED - Schaider,Jeffrey J, BT - 5-Minute Emergency Consult UR - https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307081/all/Urinary_Retention PB - Lippincott Williams & Wilkins ET - 5 DB - Emergency Central DP - Unbound Medicine ER -