Urinary Retention: A Sign of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia
When you feel the urge to urinate, but you can’t, it can be frustrating and painful. The inability to urinate is also referred to as urinary retention. The stream of urine may start and stop, you may just pee a small amount or not at all, yet you still feel like you need to. Urinary retention can happen suddenly (acute) or be chronic, with the gradual inability to empty your bladder. In older men, the most common cause of urinary retention is an enlarged prostate, also known as Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH).
Symptoms of Urinary Retention
With BPH, men may feel the need to urinate, but may not produce a steady stream of urine. The stream may start and stop. You may need to pee frequently, yet your bladder is not emptying completely. In the acute stages, you may not be able to urinate at all and have pain or swelling in your lower abdomen. Symptoms of urinary retention include:
- Slowness or dribbling while urinating
- Difficulty starting a urination stream
- Increased urgency to urinate
- Inability to urinate
- Feeling the need to urinate after finishing urination
- Leaking urine without any warning or urge
Causes of Urinary Retention
In most cases, urinary retention can be caused by a blockage that prevents urine from leaving your bladder or urethra, or when your bladder cannot maintain a strong enough pressure to expel all urine. However, some conditions can cause urinary retention, but in men, the most common cause is BPH. Causes include:
- Enlarged prostate or BPH
- Certain medications
- Nerve damage
- Neurological problems
- Urinary tract infection
- Urinary tract stones
- Weak bladder muscles
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How Does BPH Cause Urinary Retention?
Urinary retention in older men is common. Older men develop urinary retention due to enlarged prostates (BPH) as a natural part of aging. An enlarged prostate can interfere with urine flow to the urethra, causing urinary retention. Because the prostate gland squeezes the urethra, it can block the flow of urine from the bladder. If you cannot urinate, it’s important to seek treatment immediately.
Treatment for Urinary Retention
Treatment for urinary retention usually includes lifestyle changes, medication, draining the bladder, and minimally invasive procedures for BPH, such as Prostate Artery Embolization.
Along with treating the underlying cause of urinary retention, certain lifestyle changes may also help treat the condition. Lifestyle changes may include training your bladder to urinate at set times, pelvic floor muscle exercises, getting more fiber in your diet, drinking plenty of water and fluids, and getting regular physical activity.
PAE: Minimally Invasive Prostate Treatment
At American Prostate Centers, we proudly offer Prostate Artery Embolization, a minimally invasive treatment for an enlarged prostate gland that reduces symptoms, such as urinary retention. PAE is an outpatient procedure that uses image-guided technology to treat BPH and urinary problems, such as urinary retention. A small catheter is inserted in the groin into the vessels that supply blood to the prostate. Tiny microspheres are injected to reduce the blood supply to the prostate, causing it to shrink. The urethra is no longer being squeezed, allowing urine to flow naturally.
What to Expect from Prostate Artery Embolization
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Our Prostate Specialists
Our affiliated interventional radiologists at American Prostate Centers are highly skilled in diagnosing and treating Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia. They have a proven track record of effectively treating men with BPH experiencing urinary retention.