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Nobel Hygiene

What Is Urinary Retention?

“I always used to wonder, what does tau ji do in the bathroom for so long? He used to sit there for at least 15 minutes, every 2 hours. Aur andar se bilkul awaz nahi, ekdum gup sannata” says Sharmila recalling her tau ji’s strange habits, who passed away at 64 years of age. “Unfortunately, none of us had any idea that urinary retention is a thing and he was, as it turns out, too embarrassed to tell us. Then he passed away shortly after. If we knew, we could have maybe tried some urine retention home remedies,” she ends.

Urinary retention, meaning, the inability to empty the bladder completely. A person who suffers from urinary retention may face difficulties in emptying their bladder and may not feel finished after urination. Even after making multiple trips to the bathroom and trying really hard, some urine always remains in the bladder.
There are two types of urinary retention: 

  • Acute urinary retention

     – this type of urinary retention can be life threatening. It lasts for a short duration of time but happens suddenly and prevents you from peeing at all even if your bladder is at its limit.  
  • Chronic urinary retention

     – this type of urinary retention develops over a long period of time. You can empty the bladder but not all the way.

Urinary retention symptoms

The symptoms of urinary retention can vary based on the type of bladder retention, severity, and underlying cause. Some common symptoms of acute urinary retention include:

  • Complete inability to urinate
  • Extreme pain or discomfort in the lower abdomen
  • Swelling of the lower abdomen
The symptoms of chronic urinary retention include:
  • Trouble starting urination
  • Weak urine stream or a stream of urine that stops and starts irregularly
  • Urine streams stops before you feel finished
  • Urinating more than 8 times a day
  • Having to strain to urinate
  • Urine leakage

What Causes Urinary Retention in Males and Females?

Urinary retention treatment at home is possible if the case is not too far gone. Let’s first look at the causes behind urinary retention though.

You could be suffering from urinary retention due to a number of different reasons. Here are a few causes of urinary retention in females and males:

  • Loss of strength in your bladder muscles because of ageing 
  • Blockage in the urinary tract, such as those caused by kidney stones, internal tissue growth, etc.
  • Prostate issues, such as prostatitis, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), or prostate cancer
  • Certain medications that can affect the nervous system
  • Physical pelvic trauma from accidents, pregnancy, childbirth, etc.
  • An overstretched bladder
  • Medications and surgery
  • A bladder that malfunctions and doesn’t contract as it should to let the urine out
  • Urinary tract infections (UTIs)

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Risk factors of Urinary Retention

Even though anyone can develop urinary retention, the most common risk factors are gender and age. Urinary retention is more commonly found in men due to prostate-related issues, and the risk of developing urinary retention tends to increase with age.
Some other common risk factors of urinary retention include:

  • Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
  • Childbirth, especially when the delivery was difficult
  • Weak bladder muscles due to injury or inactivity
  • Medical disorders and conditions that can damage the nerves, such as diabetes, kidney damage, AIDS, etc.

How to Manage or Prevent Mild Urinary Retention

While medical treatment is often necessary for severe cases of urinary retention, there are several natural remedies that can help manage mild cases of urinary retention.

In fact, there’s an exercise that has the potential to help you in regaining nearly complete control over your bladder! Keep reading until the end to discover which exercise can accomplish this astonishing feat.

Natural Remedies for Urinary Retention

Below are some natural home remedies for urinary retention treatment:

  1. Pain Relievers

    Bladder retention causes extreme discomfort or pain in the lower half of your body. Bladder retention is often caused by swelling and infections.
    You can take over-the-counter medications to relieve pain, cramps and discomfort for the time being.
  2. Peppermint oil

    Peppermint oil, an essential oil is known for its healing, soothing and pain-relieving qualities. It has been used to treat bladder retention issues in the past, too.
    To encourage urination, place a few drops of peppermint oil into the toilet water. The vapour from the oil will contact the perineum, the thin skin between your genitals and help increase urine flow. This will help in treating urinary retention.
  3. Dandelion

    Dandelion, a wild herb has been used to treat bladder inflammation and retention. Females can buy dandelion tea from a local store and drink it twice a day to see visible results.
  4. Stinging nettle

    The stinging nettle plant, medically known as Urtica dioica, is used to relieve symptoms of an enlarged prostate, which also includes urinary retention.
  5. Kegel Exercises  

    The best and most effective exercise and home remedy for anything related to bladder and urine control! Kegel exercises can help you regain control over your bladder or bowel movements, especially in cases where a person is experiencing retention because of a loss of muscle control due to ageing. Now how to do Kegel exercise? Just follow these steps:
    1. Sit or lie down comfortably and imagine yourself trying to stop the flow of urine or prevent passing gas. The muscles you just used to do this are your pelvic floor muscles. 
    2. Once you have identified the pelvic floor muscles, Squeeze and lift your pelvic floor muscles. hold the contraction for a few seconds (around 3-5 seconds) before releasing.
    3. After the contraction, allow your pelvic floor muscles to relax fully for a few seconds (around 3-5 seconds) before proceeding to the next repetition.
    4. Repeat the contraction and relaxation sequence for about 10 repetitions, which makes one set. Aim to complete 3 sets of 10 repetitions in a day.

Home remedies to prevent urinary retention

If you’re experiencing mild urinary retention and are aiming to prevent it, a few lifestyle and dietary changes can be beneficial:

  • Drink plenty of water and other fluids to help flush out the urinary tract and keep it healthy.
  • Practice pelvic floor exercises to strengthen the muscles responsible for urine control.
  • Avoid foods and beverages that can irritate the bladder, such as caffeine, alcohol, and spicy or acidic foods.
  • Avoid constipation by eating a high-fibre diet, drinking plenty of water, and engaging in regular physical activity.
  • Urinate whenever you feel the urge to, and avoid holding in urine for too long. 

Urinary Retention Treatment

The right treatment for urinary retention will depend on the diagnosed cause. Some treatments your doctor might recommend include:

  • Antibiotics in cases of UTIs
  • Physical therapy and pelvic floor exercises for strengthening the pelvic floor
  • Changing any medications that might be causing urinary retention
  • Catheterization to drain the bladder
  • Medications, physical therapy, and surgeries to treat prostate-related issues
  • Inserting a narrow tube called stent into the urethra to prevent any blockages in the future

Of course, there are more treatments to urinary retention than the few listed here based on the cause.

When to see a doctor?

Please speak with your doctor as soon as you notice you’re experiencing symptoms of urinary retention. Diagnosing and beginning treatment for a condition in its early stages can significantly improve your chances of a complete recovery or, at the very least, prevent the condition from worsening further.

Key Takeaways

If you experience worsening of symptoms with any these natural treatments for urinary retention, discontinue their use immediately and take help from a doctor. We will not recommend taking these if you already suffer from illnesses and are on medication, or otherwise.
These are just remedies that people have found useful over the years but have no solid scientific backing. So, always take caution.


How can I fix urinary retention at home?

Fixing urinary retention at home depends on the underlying cause and severity of the condition. For mild cases, you can try these home remedies:

  • Practicing Kegel Exercises to improve bladder control.
  • Keeping yourself well hydrated for healthy urinary function.
  • Avoiding bladder irritants like caffeine, alcohol, and spicy foods.
  • Urinating whenever you feel the urge to.
  • Urinate, wait for a few moments, and then try again to ensure the bladder is completely empty.

What is a quick remedy for urine retention?

While there's no one-size-fits-all quick remedy, drinking a glass of water and waiting in a relaxed position can sometimes help initiate urination.

How can urinary retention be cured?

The cure for urinary retention depends on its cause and severity. Simple home remedies, and dietary and lifestyle changes might cure urinary retention in mild cases. In moderate to severe cases, medications, catheterization, or surgery might be necessary. It's essential to consult a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.

What are the home remedies to increase urine flow?

To improve urine flow, consider these home remedies:

  • Staying hydrated: Drinking plenty of water supports healthy urine production and flow.
  • Herbal teas: Some herbal teas like dandelion or parsley tea are believed to promote urine flow.
  • Citrus fruits: Consuming citrus fruits like oranges and lemons can help increase urine output.
  • Diuretic fruits and vegetables: Diuretics such as banana, pineapple, sweet potato, can help the kidneys produce more urine.

What are the main causes of urinary retention?

The main causes of urinary retention include:

  • Enlarged Prostate (BPH): This condition can obstruct urine flow.
  • Prostate Cancer: Tumours in the prostate can cause blockages.
  • Urinary Tract Infections: Infections can lead to irritation and muscle dysfunction.
  • Weakened or injured pelvic floor muscles: These muscles support the organs responsible for urination.
  • Neurological Disorders: Conditions like multiple sclerosis or spinal cord injuries can disrupt nerve signals to the bladder.
  • Medications: Certain medications can affect bladder function.

Can urinary retention be cured naturally?

For mild cases, natural remedies like Kegel exercises, hydration, herbal supplements, dietary changes, and lifestyle changes can help manage urinary retention. However, severe cases might require medical intervention.

Is urinary retention curable?

The curability of urinary retention depends on its cause and severity. While mild cases can often be managed effectively with lifestyle changes and natural remedies, more severe cases might require ongoing medical treatment or interventions.

Which fruit is good for urinary retention?

Certain fruits are believed to be beneficial for urinary health, such as:

  • Bananas
  • Potatoes
  • Eggs
  • Whole grains
  • Nuts
  • Lean proteins
  • Coconut water
  • Pears