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What are some health effects of urine retention?

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Some of the health effects of urine retention include urinary tract infections, bladder damage and kidney damage. Signs of urine retention include a painful need to urinate but being unable to pass urine. Patients may experience bloating and pain in the lower abdomen, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

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Under normal circumstances, urine is sterile, explains the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. The normal flow of urine keeps bacteria out of the bladder. However, if a urinary blockage occurs, the urine remains in the bladder longer and gives the infectious bacteria a chance to grow.

The body stores the retained urine in the bladder. As it fills with urine, the bladder stretches. If the bladder becomes overstretched or remains stretched for too long, it may cause damage to the muscles that maintain the bladder, warns the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. In some cases, the damage becomes permanent and the muscles lose their ability to contract and empty the bladder.

In some patients, urinary retention results in a backward flow of the urine. As the urine returns to the kidneys it can cause the formation of scar tissue, advises the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

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