What is urinary retention?

Urinary retention is not being able to empty the bladder when it has reached fullness. This is not the same as incomplete emptying of the bladder, which refers to having urine left over after peeing.

What are the signs and symptoms of urinary retention?

Symptoms of urinary retention in children may include:

  • Not being able to urinate despite severe urge
  • Pain and pressure in the lower stomach
  • Distended, tight lower stomach

What causes urinary retention?

There are many possible causes for urinary retention. They can include:

  • Infection
  • Severe constipation or impacted stool
  • Neurological conditions
  • Behavioral issues
  • A blockage in the urinary tract
  • Recent spine surgery
  • Rarely, tumors
In some cases, urinary retention may have no known cause.

How is urinary retention treated?

Your child’s treatment for urinary retention will depend on the cause of the problem. The Division of Urology at Arkansas Children’s is experienced in diagnosing and treating urinary retention and will work with you to determine a diagnosis and treatment plan for your child. Treatment options may include:

  • Medicine to treat an infection or constipation
  • Bladder rest with a urinary catheter
  • Treatment of underlying neurological condition
  • Surgery to remove a blockage or tumor