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Year : 2012  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 63-69

Pathophysiology and management of urinary retention in men

1 Department of Surgery, Division of Urology, Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Zaria, Nigeria
2 Department of Surgery, Division of Urology, Bayero University/Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Ahmed Muhammed
Department of Surgery, Ahmadu Bello University/Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Zaria
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2278-9596.110018

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Background : Urinary retention is a common problem in the elderly. The incidence increases with age so that a man in his 70s has a 10% chance and a man in his 80s has more than 30% chance of having an episode of acute urinary retention. Inadequate management of the condition can lead to unnecessary morbidity and occasionally mortality. Increasing knowledge over the years of its pathophysiology has greatly improved the management. Thus, the objective of this study is to review the current concepts in the management of urinary retention in men. Materials and Methods: Current literature on the pathophysiology and management of urinary retention in men was reviewed. The PubMed database was searched using the key words; pathophysiology, management, urinary retention, and men. Results: Urinary retention is a common problem in the elderly worldwide; the incidence rises with age, and by the 9th decade of life, a man has more than 30% chance of an episode of retention. There are three main pathophysiologic mechanisms: Increased urethral resistance secondary to bladder outlet obstruction, impaired bladder contractility, and loss of normal bladder sensory or motor innervations. It may be acute, acute-on-chronic, or chronic. It is now generally agreed from urodynamic studies that the traditional slow decompression of the bladder in chronic retention does not serve its aim of gradual reduction of vesical pressure; thus, the current practice is immediate and complete decompression and managing anticipated complications of postobstructive diuresis or hematuria whenever they occur. Conclusion: Advanced age and bladder outlet obstruction secondary to benign prostatic hyperplasia remain the commonest risk factors for urinary retention. Secondary bladder dysfunction in bladder outlet obstruction, detrusor myogenic dysfunction, and alteration of bladder innervations are the major mechanisms. Immediate and complete decompression in both types of retention is the current practice.

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