Last reviewed 01/2018

Acute urinary retention often appears suddenly in patients with longstanding symptoms of bladder outflow obstruction, for example benign prostatic hypertrophy, bladder neck hypertrophy, or prostatic carcinoma.

Other causes include - as a complication of surgery, due to fluid overload, drugs, pain, anxiety, embarrassment or the supine posture.

Less common causes include:

  • stones or blood clots in the urethra
  • urethral stricture
  • constipation
  • pregnancy - particularly associated with a retroverted uterus
  • pelvic tumour
  • genital herpes - painful ulceration may result in urinary retention