Treatment for urinary retention depends on the underlying cause, but possible approaches include bladder drainage, urethral dilation, urethral stents or prostate medications, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. In some cases, the condition requires surgery.
To drain the bladder, medical personnel inserts a tube into the bladder through the urethra into the bladder, according to NIDDK. Patients may receive a local anesthetic before the process that occurs in a clinic, outpatient center or hospital. The process relieves the pressure and prevents damage to the bladder. If the urethra is blocked, the care professional inserts the catheter through the abdominal wall into the bladder.
Urethral dilation enlarges the size of the urethra by inserting progressively larger tubes or a balloon to widen the structure and increase urine flow, reports NIDDK. The doctor does this procedure with anesthesia. A stent widens the urethra by expanding like a spring. Some stents are temporary, and others are permanent.
In men, an enlarged prostate gland can result in urinary retention. In some cases, the doctor prescribes medication for prostate problems, according to the NIDDK.
Surgery is sometimes the best option, reports the NIDDK. Sometimes, the surgeon repairs the urethra under general anesthesia. If a tumor causes urinary retention, the surgeon removes it. In men, the surgeon might remove part or all of the prostate gland. In women, surgeons work to lift a fallen bladder.