This symptom occurs more often in males than in females, owing to the greater length of the urethra, or passage through which the urine escapes from the bladder. It frequently results, especially in females who are somewhat hysterical, from nervousness. In males, it may be the result of enlargement of the prostate gland or irritability of the urethra, causing contraction of the mouth of the bladder. The worst forms of retention are due to paralysis of the bladder, stricture, or permanent contraction of the urethra.

The Treatment of Retention of Urine

Mild cases of retention can generally be relieved by the prolonged warm sitz bath, and fomentations over the lower part of the back and abdomen. When retention is due to the spasmodic contraction of the urethra or of the sphincter of the bladder, relief may be often given by pouring a small stream of water into a vessel while the patient is making the attempt to pass water. With females, relief may often be obtained by giving the patient a vaginal douche when the attempt to pass water is made.

In case relief is not soon obtained by these measures, a physician should be called to relieve the bladder by means of a catheter, a small tube which is passed into the bladder through the urethra.

It is important to recollect that the Bladder naturally requires to be relieved at least two or three times during the twenty-four hours, and more than a few hours should never be allowed to elapse without relieving it, as it may become paralyzed by over-distention. In case of severe injury to the head or the spine, apoplexy, and all conditions in which the patient is unconscious, or partially paralyzed, careful attention should be given to relieve the bladder at proper intervals.