Acute Urinary Retention, Female

You have been seen by a caregiver today because of your inability to urinate (pass your water). This is an uncommon problem in females.


It can be caused by:

  • Infection.

  • A side effect of a medication.

  • A problem in a nearby organ that presses or squeezes on the bladder or the urethra (the tube that drains the bladder).

  • Psychological problems.


Treatment may involve a one-time placement of a tube in the bladder to empty it. It may be a problem that does not recur for years. You and your caregiver can decide how to handle this problem in follow-up. You may need to be referred to a specialist for additional examination and tests.


If you are to leave the foley catheter (a long, narrow, hollow tube) in and go home with a drainage system, you will need to discuss the best course of action with your caregiver. While the catheter is in, maintain a good intake of fluids. Keep the drainage bag emptied and lower than your catheter. This is so contaminated (infected) urine will not flow back into your bladder. This could lead to a urinary tract infection.

Only take over-the-counter or prescription medicines for pain, discomfort, or fever as directed by your caregiver.


You develop chills, fever, or show signs of generalized illness that occurs prior to seeing your caregiver.