Acute Urinary Retention

« Back to Glossary Index

Acute urinary retention is the most common cause of the partial or complete inability to empty the bladder. The condition is also called urethral obstruction or urinary obstruction syndrome. Rapid urinary retention occurs when your bladder’s muscle is suddenly too weak to get rid of its contents, a condition is known as detrusor overactivity. If this happens repeatedly, you may develop involuntary urge incontinence—uncontrollable leakage of urine while coughing, laughing, or exercising.

Acute urinary retention can result from:

  • An enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH)
  • A kidney stone that blocks the urethra
  • Inflammation of the bladder or urethra (cystitis or urethritis)
  • Spinal cord injury (paralysis)
  • Some medications relax smooth muscle

In the bladder and urethra, which can cause urine retention. Certain medications that relax smooth muscle are: Anticholinergics Drugs used to treat heart failure Beta-adrenergic blockers Calcium channel blockers Some antidepressants Sedatives in the bladder and prostate, which can lead to urinary retention. For example, some drugs used to treat high blood pressure or anxiety are called alpha-adrenergic blockers.

« Back to Glossary Index

Related Medical Device Reviews


Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) are significant global health issues that have impacted millions of lives since the early 1980s. While

Read More »


Hepatitis is a medical condition characterized by inflammation of the liver. The liver is a vital organ responsible for various essential functions, including detoxifying harmful

Read More »


Hemorrhoids, also known as piles, are swollen veins located around the anus or in the lower rectum. They are a common issue that affects millions

Read More »

“Educate yourself. Be Prepared. Avoid Stress”.

Patient9 helps you choose which medical device is best for you.

Welcome to Patient9 medical device review – recommended website for patients. With specific information and tools created for patients and caregivers, you can get educated, reduce stress, and learn what to expect.

Scroll to Top