What is Post-operative Urinary Retention?

Post-operative Urinary Retention can occur for a number of reasons. There is an increased risk of retention in operations which are performed within the pelvic region or spinal region, this may include spinal surgery, gynaecological surgery and prostate surgery, among many others. It is thought that the anaesthetic used during surgery is the main cause for Post-operative Urinary Retention, especially in anaesthetics used in the spinal region (Epidurals). This is due to the anaesthetic blocking the nerve signals between the brain and the bladder which would usually tell the brain when the bladder needs to be emptied. Post-operative Urinary Retention can often block the signals in the urethral sphincter muscle also which as a result will not relax and allows one to pass urine when necessary.

Managing Urinary Retention

post-operative-urinary-retentionDepending on how long the Urinary Retention lasts, which is different for all, will determine whether intervention may or may not be needed. Sometimes a long term catheter will be placed in the urethra for a few days whilst the effect of the surgery and anaesthetic recedes which also reduces the risk of the bladder becoming damaged from the Post-operative Urinary Retention. If the Urinary Retention persists it may be necessary for a Healthcare Professional to teach Intermittent Self Catheterisation / Clean Intermittent Catheterisation. It is often hard to trace the route of this retention and also hard to know, how long it will take the bladder to fully recover. In some casesIntermittent Self Catheterisation / Clean Intermittent catheterisation is a lifelong commitment which will necessitate changes to ones lifestyle.