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Urinary retention means you can't pass urine—even with a full bladder. It may feel like pain in the lower belly. Or you might not feel anything. You may have bladder spasms or urine leaking. Or you may have a strong urge to go, but nothing will come out. If you haven't urinated for 6 hours, you may have urinary retention.
This is fairly common after some surgeries. But it could become serious if left untreated. Treatment includes draining the bladder with a small tube called a catheter. You may go home with a catheter. If so, they will tell you when to come back to have it removed. This may be after a few days or weeks.
Most people are able to urinate in a normal way again after treatment.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:
Current as of: January 20, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Lesley Ryan MD - Family Medicine & Kara C. Taggart MD - Urology
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
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