What is Urinary Retention?
Do you fully empty your bladder when you go to the loo? Sometimes when you go, do you feel like you can’t get the last bit out, or do you get up after going and dribble a bit when you stand up? What about if you’ve been to the loo, but a few minutes later you feel like you need to go again and you pass a bit more second time round? Or is it painful when you pass urine, giving a burning sensation? Sound familiar? It may be that you are suffering from urinary retention. This is a condition where you have difficulty fully emptying your bladder.
Does it really matter?
Well, when we don’t fully empty, the urine hangs around in the bladder and can cause urinary tract infections. Some women that suffer from recurrent urinary tract infections may find that it could be because they have not fully emptied. Also, it can cause urgency (needing to rush to the loo), and frequency (going way too often), which can be annoying when mild, but when severe, it can be quite debilitating. In extreme cases, it is very hard to recover from and retained urine can build up causing kidney problems.
The problem is, that if we keep going to the loo to empty, we can get to a stage where we have to go more and more often. Our bladder gets used to holding smaller and smaller amounts and sends you the message that you need to go when it is not that full. Then we start to notice that we can’t go anywhere without checking where the nearest loos are and before you know it, every outing starts to revolve around the convenience and availability of toilets.
What causes urinary retention?
It may be that the pelvic floor muscles are too weak, but it may also be that they are too tight. Another cause could be pelvic organ prolapse. The bladder may be sitting a little lower than usual and that can be making it harder to fully empty.
What can physiotherapy do to help?
Often, when you have explained the issues and how and when they started, it can give a really good indication of what the cause could be. It may be that there are some practical things you can do to alleviate symptoms. During an examination, any other causes can be assessed and treated.
Urinary retention is one of those problems that can have a huge impact on your everyday life and if it can be treated successfully you really can have your life back! So if you have any concerns at all or bladder control is impacting on your life, don’t delay in contacting us at Physiotherapy for Women for advice on 01242 522136