Acute Urinary Retention, Male

You have been seen by a caregiver today because of your inability to urinate (pass your water).

This is a common problem in elderly males. As men age their prostates become larger and block the flow of urine from the bladder. This is usually a problem that has come on gradually. It is often first noticed by having to get up at night to urinate. This is because as the prostate enlarges it is more difficult to empty the bladder completely.

Treatment may involve a one time catheterization to empty the bladder. This is putting in a tube to drain your urine. Then you and your personal caregiver can decide at your earliest convenience how to handle this problem in the future. It may also be a problem that may not recur for years. Sometimes this problem can be caused by medications. In this case, all that is often necessary is to discontinue the offending agent.

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 be flowing 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.