- What is urinary retention?
- Relationship between urinary retention and kidney stones
Kidney stones come about from an infection that leads to formation of stone-like structures in the kidney. Kidney stones are made up of different materials, mostly being acidic salts and minerals filtered from the blood by the kidney. These minerals, once filtered from the blood, fail to dissolve into the urine due to lack of enough fluids to dissolve them.
Kidney stones are a condition that causes a lot of pain to the patient, especially if the stones have grown large. Some of the substances forming kidney stones may include urate, maleate, phosphates, and oxalates.
What Is Urinary Retention?
Urinary retention is an infection of the urinary system, wherein the body loses the ability to flush out the urine from the bladder. The bladder thus remains full and can cause kidney stones or urinary infection. This type of condition can be acute or chronic in nature.
In acute urinary retention, the bladder will be completely full, but the person will find it impossible to pass the urine. This condition is very painful and can happen without prior indication. As acute urinary retention can have adverse effects, treating it immediately becomes important.
Chronic urinary retention is a slow and long-term medical condition. In this case, the person will be able to pass urine, but he will not be able to empty the bladder completely. This condition sometimes cannot be identified and comes to notice only when a urinary tract infection or incontinence is observed.
Does It Affect Both Men and Women?
The answer is yes. Men, usually those above 50 or 60 years of age, face this problem, mostly because of their expanded prostate. Also, women who have faced a condition called cystocele where the wall separating the bladder and vagina is torn, mostly during childbirth, can shift the bladder from the correct position or make it sag, eventually causing urinary retention.
Causes of Urinary Retention
Urinary retention can either be caused by the blocking of the urethra, as in acute cases, and sometimes when there is no obstruction the urine gets trapped due to some of these reasons:
• Weak bladder muscles
• Lack of coordination between your brain and bladder due to nerve problems
• Blocking of urethra
• Certain type of medications or anesthesia
• Certain types of tumors or cancer
• Expanded prostate in men
• Cystocele condition in women
• Injury to pelvic area
• Injury or damage to brain or spinal cord
Relationship Between Urinary Retention and Kidney Stones
Both kidney stones and urinary retention can cause negative effects to the urinary system.
• Kidney stones get stuck in the kidney, ureter, bladder, and the urethra. These stones cause a lot of pain around the urinary system. It is a painful and uncomfortable condition. Urinary retention, on the other hand, causes blockage of the urethra. Once the urethra is blocked, urine is retained in the bladder, and the urethra causes pain and discomfort. Both patients experience pain in the lower abdomen. Finally, retention of urine, either by kidney stones or due to retention of urine, can cause damage to the kidneys.
• Kidney stones and urine retention, which both obstruct the urine flow, can cause the urine to go back to the kidneys, which is called reflux. This can be harmful for the kidneys.
• The two conditions can be caused by diabetes. A person with diabetes produces very high amounts of sugars in the body. Such sugars, when not dissolved by enough fluids, are accumulated to form kidney stones. They also block the passage of urine, hence leading to urinary retention.
Relationship Between Kidney Stones and Urinary Retention Medications
- Dutasteride (Avodart) and finasteride (Proscar) are medications recommended by doctors for helping to shrink the prostate and stop growth, hence relieving urinary retention symptoms. As these medications reduce growth of the prostate, they also create a way for the passage of kidney stones.
- Alfuzosin, terazosin, tadalafil, silodosin, and tamsulosin are another type of medication for people with urinary retention problems. Men, especially men with enlarged prostates, face the problem of frequent urination, which can be irritating during night. These medications are used to relax the prostate muscle and put pressure on the bladder, which in turn allows the passage of blocked urine. As these muscles relax, they allow passage of kidney stones, as well. Even large stones, which cause bruises and pain in the urinary tract, are said to easily pass in the urine after taking this medication, which is tremendous news for kidney stone patients, as well.
- Acidic- and calcium-rich medications may lead to kidney stones. Materials such as acidic salts, calcium, phosphates, and oxalates are among the major causes of kidney stones. If a person has urinary retention and takes medicines with high concentrations of these materials, then it increases the chances of having kidney stones.
- Surgery is also a treatment measure for urinary retention. A doctor can carry out a surgery to clear up the passage for urine. As this operation is carried out, it also helps in identifying any kidney stones that might be stuck along the urethra. If necessary, kidney stones can also be removed using surgery.
There are also a number of medications for kidney stones that help in relieving urine retention in cases where kidney stones are the cause for retention.
The Bottom Line
According to recent research, people who are facing urinary retention can ease the flow of urine if they sit down to pass the urine. This helps in keeping the bladder empty and hence avoiding kidney stones. Also, people facing urinary tract infections can also feel that they have urine retention, which may not always be true. Therefore, in case you feel that your bladder still has urine right after urinating, stop for around 20 seconds and try urinating again. This technique, called double voiding, helps in preventing bladder stones, as well.
Kidney stones and urinary retention are both considered to be serious health conditions affecting the urinary system and require immediate attention once identified. They both cause damage to parts of the urinary system, such as the bladder, ureter, urethra, and kidneys. Therefore, contact your doctor at the earliest convenience if you’re facing a similar condition.