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Urinary Retention In Men


Urinary retention is a condition that develops if your bladder does not empty when you urinate.

Male Urinary System



  • 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors: These medicines help decrease the size of the prostate. This may help reduce the pressure on your urethra and allow you to empty your bladder.
  • Alpha blockers: These medicines relax the muscles in your prostate and bladder and may help you urinate more easily.
  • Antibiotics: This medicine is given to fight an infection in your bladder caused by bacteria. Take them as directed.
  • Hormone therapy: This medicine may help slow tumor growth.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your primary healthcare provider or urologist as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Catheter care:

Keep your catheter clean, especially the part of the tube that enters your penis. Empty the bag regularly.

Urinate regularly:

Do not let your bladder become too full before you urinate. Set regular times each day to urinate. Urinate as soon as you feel the need or at least every 3 hours while you are awake. Do not drink liquids before you go to bed. Urinate right before you go to bed.

Ask about sexual activity:

Sexual activity may help keep your urethra open. Do not get sexually aroused without ejaculating because this may cause your urethra to get blocked. Talk to your primary healthcare provider about sexual activity.

Contact your primary healthcare provider if:

  • You have blood in your urine.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • You have a fever, chills, or feel weak and achy.
  • You cannot urinate, or if you have a catheter, no urine is filling the bag.
  • You have a blocked catheter or your catheter falls out.
  • You have lower abdominal pain or back pain that does not go away.
  • You have redness, pain, blood, or drainage where the catheter enters your penis.
  • Your symptoms are getting worse or coming back.
  • Your urine becomes very cloudy and smells bad.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Urinary Retention In Men (Discharge Care)

Associated drugs

Micromedex® Care Notes