This section is from the book "Smith's Family Physician", by William Henry Smith. See also: Natural Physician's Healing Therapies: Proven Remedies that Medical Doctors Don't Know.
Retention of urine, commonly called Strangury, consists in a frequent desire to make water, with a difficulty in voiding it; suppression is when there is an impossibility of voiding it, from some cause, or where the action of the kidneys is suspended, and the urine, instead of being conveyed to the bladder, is retained in the blood. A total cessation of the secretion is usually fatal.
The causes which give rise to these diseases are, inflammation of the urethra, occasioned either by venereal sores or strictures, or by the use of acrid injections; inflammation of the bladder or neighbouring parts; or of the kidneys; a lodgment of hardened faeces in the lower portion of the bowel; spasm at the neck of the bladder; exposure to cold. The absorption of Spanish Flies either applied externally as blisters or taken internally; excess in drinking either spirituous or vinous liquors; or particles of gravel sticking in the neck of the bladder, or lodging in the passage, and thereby producing irritation. In many cases an inability to make water is caused by the urine being retained too long, the bladder becomes distended, and for the time, loses the power to contract. (Sometimes, in these cases, the mere dabbing the lower part of the belly with a towel dipped in cold water will be sufficient to stimulate the bladder to contract).
A very frequent cause, however, of both suppression and retention of urine is an enlargement or other diseased state of the prostate gland, a complaint with which men in advanced life are very apt to be affected.
In Strangury there is a frequent inclination to make water, attended with a smarting pain, heat, and difficulty in voiding it, together with a sense of fulness in the region of the bladder. The symptoms often vary, however, according to the cause which has given rise to it. If it proceeds from a stone in the kidney or ureter, besides the symptoms mentioned, it will be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, or acute pain in the side affected. When a stone in the bladder or gravel in the urethra is the cause, an acute pain will be felt at the end of the penis, particularly on voiding the last drops of urine, and the stream of water will either be divided into two, or be discharged in a twisted manner, not unlike a cork-screw. If an enlargement or scirrhus of the prostate gland has occasioned the difficulty, a hard, indolent tumour, unattended with any acute pain, may easily be felt in the perineum.
Strangury is seldom attended with much danger, unless by neglect it should terminate in a total obstruction. Suppression of urine may always be regarded as a dangerous complaint, when it continues for any length of time, from the great distension of the bladder, and consequent inflammation which ensue.
"When retention arises in consequence of the application of a blister, as sometimes happens, nothing more will be necessary than for the patient to drink plentifully of warm, diluent liquors, such as thin gruel, or barley water, or linseed tea. When it proceeds from any other cause, and the symptoms are violent, if the cold water application, as mentioned above, is unsuccessful, flannel cloths wrung out in hot water may be applied over the region of the bladder, and injections of warm gruel or warm water may be given, both with the view of acting as an internal fomentation, and also for the purpose of dislodging any hardened faeces, which, by their pressure and stimulus, will often, of themselves, produce a difficulty of passing water.
Where it is obtainable, a warm bath would frequently be of service.
When there is a complete stoppage of the urine, it will be necessary that it should be drawn off with a catheter, and the sooner this is done the better for the patient. Sometimes, when there is a difficulty in introducing the catheter from constriction or spasm of the parts, this may be overcome by placing the patient in a hot bath; and the catheter may either be introduced while the patient is in the bath, or immediately afterwards.
Where inflammation is supposed to exist about the neck of the bladder or the prostate gland, several leeches may be applied either to the perineum, or to the lower portion of the belly.
In suppression of urine arising from spasm, the Muriated Tincture of Iron, in combination with Opium, is said to have been beneficial. The following may be taken:
Muriated Tincture of Iron..................Two Drams.
Paregoric........................................Half an Ounce.
Water sufficient to make.....................Half a Pint.
A tablespoonful to be taken every ten minutes.
People liable to urinary troubles should clothe warmly; they should avoid exposure to cold, should pay attention to their diet, and abstain from stimulants.
In cases of morbid irritation of the bladder and urinary passage, the Tincture of Buchu has been strongly recommended:
Tincture of Buchu..............................One Ounce.
Tincture of Henbane...........................Two Drams.
Syrup..............................................Half an Ounce.
Peppermint Water, sufficient to make-Half a Pint.
Two tablespooniuls three times a day.